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Review: Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Slows Down Life

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget about the calming, therapeutic qualities of a nice walk around nature. While you’re probably going to still be at home on the couch while playing Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley, this cute and pastoral game reminds you of what’s really important in life: Mother Nature.

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Screenshot by Siliconera

Now, as a disclaimer, I didn’t know anything about Moomin going into this. I knew what Moomin are, as well as seen plenty of Moomin goods. But I’m still not sure if I know much, to be honest. In any case, Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley wears its message on its sleeve.

It starts with Snufkin leaving Moominvalley to travel and then returning during the summer. However, to his shock, Moomintroll isn’t waiting for him as promised and the river is all dried up! It turns out a Park Keeper and his little squadron of police officers have erected parks all around Moominvalley, as well as constructed a dam. That’s terrible because parks mean rules, and rules don’t belong in nature. Snufkin has to help out the various members of the community, find Moomintroll, and save the beautiful valley from the evils of establishment.

snufkin melody of moominvalley parks
Screenshot by Siliconera

While it may sound like I didn’t like the story, I did! It was really quaint and sweet, even if I didn’t recognize anybody I was talking to save for Little My and Moomintroll. This game is great for existing Moomin fans, as well as newcomers. Playing it did make me curious about the books and other related media. This idea of a community banding together, even if most of the residents are reluctant to do so, to fight against a government body—a government body that turns out to genuinely want to do good for the locale they serve—is a classic underdog story, and Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley executed it very well.

As Snufkin, you wander around Moominvalley in search of Moomintroll. You can help out the residents to gather inspiration, which will level up your music. Snufkin can play three different instruments, and each one does something different. For example, the flute can calm down hostile creatures and the harmonica can help to make animals do his bidding. There are also stealth portions where Snufkin has to sneak around parks while avoiding the police officers so that he can vandalize the place and get rid of them. The game isn’t very hard, which makes it a nice one to relax to. My biggest complaint is that the navigational sign at the bottom to tell you where to go for your quest doesn’t always work. But I think that the map layout is a bit quirky for the compass-style in-game navigation. Fortunately, you can pull out the map at any time.

Screenshot by Siliconera

The best thing about this game is the art direction and aesthetic. I love it. It really has that picture book vibe with the art style and the coloring. There are some points around Moominvalley where Snufkin can just lie down and take in the flowers, or the way that the sunlight becomes dappled when it shines through tree leaves. These scenes are so lovely and they’re a delight to encounter. However, they do not provide much in terms of gameplay value. This is kind of weird, considering Snufkin can get inspiration from running through bushes and helping the residents of Moominvalley. From a narrative standpoint, I can get it though. The point is to enjoy nature. Not everything has to be for “profit.” Nonetheless, I wish there were more of these spots in the game.

Snufkin and Little My
Screenshot by Siliconera

Whether you’re a Moomin master or novice, Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is a relaxing game to re-ignite your passion for the outdoors. The game itself is not difficult—a kid could beat it within a day—and it’s not very long either. Despite the game being a bite-sized adventure, it feels like one that’ll stay with you for a very long time.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is readily available for the Windows PC and Nintendo Switch.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley

Join Snufkin in this musical adventure about restoring harmony and balance to Moominvalley, protecting it from the industrious Park Keeper. Nintendo Switch version reviewed. Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is a short, but sweet, pastoral game that both Moomin veterans and newcomers can enjoy.

Food for Thought:
  • Sometimes running around is annoying because I kept running into things or jumping since the jump button and the "make dialog box go away" button was the same.
  • Related to the above point, the game really makes you take it slow. You have to go all around the map at one point, and it can take quite some time.
  • I'm really cool so I only teared up a little bit. No big deal.

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Stephanie Liu
Stephanie is a senior writer who has been writing for games journalism and translating since 2020. After graduating with a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing, she spent a few years teaching English and history before fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a writer. In terms of games, she loves RPGs, action-adventure, and visual novels. Aside from writing for Siliconera and Crunchyroll, she translates light novels, manga, and video games.