Momodora III

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It’s weird how memory plays tricks on you. About a year ago I played Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight and I reviewed it.When I bought this game I was under the impression that I had left a glowing review of it. Looking back, not so much. I even said it was overpriced… Huh. Anyway, that was the fourth game in the series. I figured I may as well play the third game. Without further delay, let’s move on to the review.

Momodora III is a platformer action game. I’m not too sure on the story, but again, I haven’t played Momodora I or Momodora II. So maybe those games cover the pieces. You actually do meet Kaho from Momodora IV (and presumably, an earlier Momodora?) and help her with some shenanigans. There’s a mini-story where you can save/kill a fellow Kahonese pilgrim. I usually try to save her but I’m not the best at beating the bee boss so of my three play-throughs I only saved her on my 37 minute run.

Graphics are simplistic but nice. Enemies can be a pain. Especially the ones with bombs. I think bombs do damage every frame after they explode, so I got instagibbed by bombs a few times without realizing what was happening. What annoyed me the most is that when you attack, you’re locked in place. Playing games in… the current year, in almost every game I’ve ever played I’ve been able to move and attack at the same time or at least to some degree. There’s also no roll button which I tend to favor over jumps (because muh invulnerability frames).

So Momodora III feels like it was designed to be a speedrun game. It has six bosses (if I recall correctly) and it can easily be finished within an hour. My first playthrough took me… 1 hour? The second 37 minutes and the last, an hour again. Just depends on which bosses ruin your day. A perfect run can likely be done within 20 minutes, including the time travel section. The characters have limited interaction, though there seems to be a bit of a sidequest if you want the “good” ending. I won’t spoil the endings, but I will say that there’s not much of a difference in terms on content and it’s pretty easy to get both endings in a single play session.

Overall, the game wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either. I did genuinely get engaged in some of the boss fights even if I was annoyed that I had no roll button. The game’s a little too easy though. You can obtain an item that doubles your damage shortly after the first boss and you can increase your basic attack’s damage after the fourth boss. I don’t feel like the enemy setups are terribly interesting and at some points seemed outright unfair. I’d say that this is a case of you get what you pay for. It’s a $2 game (at the time of writing). It’s worth it. It certainly makes the sequel seem far more valuable in comparison. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

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Momodora III

Mirror’s Edge

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Steam Page

Hay Caramba. This game. Look, there are several cardinal sins in gaming. Two of the bigger ones are quick time events (or QTEs) and first-person platforming. Mirror’s Edge has both of these so there goes my ability to give it a fair review.

Mirror’s Edge is about a woman named Faith who works for a secret underground organization carrying packages whose entire training program is on rooftops. Irony ever present. Your group seems to have some beef with the government though I don’t think that’s ever explained. It’s never really explained who you work for either; or what you’re delivering and I don’t think we ever delivered a single package. So I’m not sure we’re in the right organization. Maybe we just have to take it on Faith that we’re doing our job (Har har, name jokes). In fact, I don’t see much point in the underground organization thing, Faith spends the entire game trying to get her sister off for a crime her sister didn’t commit. Seems like just about any occupation would do because it’s irrelevant.

The story is downright terrible. Maybe it’s because the game is so short and wasn’t meant to have a story. But they still managed to Jackknife  (oops I did it again!) so many little pieces together. Maybe it’s just because I’m me, but I don’t understand why people with guns insist on putting guns right up against the person they’re about to shoot. Seriously, are you the type of person that plays archer class and stands right next to the enemy you’re trying to kill? You have a RANGED WEAPON. Why are you using it in melee range? Why so close to people you absolutely KNOW have hand-to-hand training! I guess you know you have that same training, but do you really need to take that chance? Just sit back 100 meters and shoot the guy. Hell, 10 meters will do. Ugh. Betrayals happen for little to no reason, or at least no adequately explained reason. Maybe there will be a sequel that handles all of that. After all, the game was rather short. I just feel like you could’ve focused on one story rather than trying to loop together some two and a half stories.

Let’s talk mechanics. You know, I absolutely hate quick time events, but Mirror’s Edge executes them in an adequate way. Quick time events are horrible when there’s no way to know that they’re coming. It’s annoying to fail a quick time event and get sent back to base when you had no means of knowing that it was coming. But in Mirror’s Edge, the entire game is pretty much built on quick time events so it’s not as bad. It’s a parkour game. You run, you jump, you balance, it’s all fun. When things can be jumped on or something they colorize from white to red, making it easy to identify where you could go if you were so inclined. Only not all red things should be acted upon. So it’s eh.

The combat is really $#@!ing retarded. You can take two hits from any police dude. Two. They also have guns. You know what you have? Tattoos and a bad haircut. So if two hits seems unfair to you, you’re going to have a bad time. You can steal guns from cops but to do so requires running at the cop (who, unlike the baddies mentioned before are actually smart enough to use their guns from range) and then wait for them to attack you. As they attack you, you can do your counter attack which insta-KOs and steals their gun. Which, if you’re going to play this game would be a very important skill to learn because if you hope to win sometime today you’ll be using it a lot. And this is where the game went from quicky parkour to pain in the behind.

See, whatever you’re doing has to be extremely illegal because the cops in the city have nothing better to do than send whole squads of cops your way with helicopter support. HELICOPTER SUPPORT. And remember, you’re not even delivering anything! It’s insane the amount of public resources that get spent on you. Anyway, the game sends full squads of cops your way. Now normally, you’d think “Okay, parkour game. We’ll just parkour around them or through them or something”. Absolutely incorrect. The game spawns cops in such a way that it’s very difficult to do so. My first attempts were usually to try and skirt the cops. But eventually I found it easier to run at the cops, do the QTE, and use their gun to take out the other cops. And this is where Mirror’s Edge fails. It’s just not fun to have to parkour to a cop, pass a QTE, and then turn the game into a first-person shooter for a few just to pass the levels. It breaks the pacing and it involves a lot of restarts should you fail that QTE.

Also, who was in charge of skybox? Is there enough bloom in the game? I guess it might be to help emphasize the red on white thing, but seriously. Put down the lights.

You know what the worst part is? I could see this game working. If you remove the combat and focus on the parkour, I think it could be excellent. I feel like to do that would require sandbox gameplay though. Also, can we deliver packages for once? I mean, that’s kinda what I wanted to do. I imagined myself free-running away and around the cops delivering packages. Instead I had to fight the cops to take their package and then kill the other cops with it. What a shame.

In summary, good idea, poor execution. I have a feeling the story was put on the backburner and that’s fine, but trying to shovel in a second story of betrayal without fleshing out the first story means bad design. Too. Many. Guns. Guns kill the fun parkour style of the game. At the time of writing, the game is $20 on Steam. I would not buy it for this price. Wait for it to go on super sale for like $5.

Artemis Hunt

Mirror’s Edge

Dungeon of Zolthan

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Before I dive into what I dislike about the game, I’ll mention what I like about the game. Or at least what makes it not the worst? Aesthetic commitment. With the exception of the final boss, the entire game has the feel of you being some kind of anti-virus program cleaning up the computer (Megaman did it better though). Of course the game never mentions any kind of story so your guess is as good as mine. Maybe that’s intentional, maybe we’re supposed to make the story for ourselves to give it meaning. Maybe in twenty years programmers will no longe release games. They’ll just give you a blank screen and say, “Now imagine that some stuff is going on”… Sorry, I promised to make this the “pro” section of the review. It has a nice 1980’s arcade style going on for it. Definitely a low-budget indie game, so I admire how they worked with what they had. Now with that out of the way…

Where do we begin. Okay, so picture a song you hate. For me, that song can be… Oh, I dunno… let’s say… ehh… what’s that Taylor Swift song? Hold on – let me Google her discography…

[One Google search later] SHAKE IT OFF! THAT WAS THE SONG! Christ, I had an ex that would play that song non-stop in their car. Ouch. Anyway, picture like ten to fifteen seconds of this hated song, probably near the chorus, and loop it. This is what Dungeon of Zolthan is like. The same track, over and over again. It took me about 105 minutes to finish this game. I had to deal with that pain for over an hour and a half. And you’d think that the music would change for the boss fights right? NOPE. Okay, so the tempo increases and the pitches change… BUT IT’S THE SAME DAMN SONG. What an annoyance.

Dungeon of Zolthan is a platformer. I hate platformers. I don’t hate this game because it’s a platformer though! I hate this game because of how it implemented platforming. Super Mario is what I would call well-executed platformer. This is not a well-executed platformer. So you get enough health to take maybe two hits before dying. This is why I compared it to Super Mario. Which normally wouldn’t bother me. I mean, sure, that’s a slim margin of error, but that’s what the early arcade games were all about, right? Well it gets worse. See there are spikes. You slightly touch these spikes, you die. Instantly. Why? WHY? And it wouldn’t be bad if they weren’t EVERYWHERE. I don’t think there are a handful of ‘screens’ where there aren’t any spikes. Hell, the final boss fights you from behind spike walls through which you must dash and be careful to to dash into the wall from which they hang or else you’ll stop and hit the spikes. It’s total bogus.

Let’s talk about boss design. There are a few games with what I’d consider good boss design. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (my previous review), Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (wow, I see a pattern here), and Dark Souls. These are all games in which, if you fail enough times you can just memorize the boss’s attack patterns. After knowing these attack patterns, you can react to them appropriately. There is none of that in Dungeon of Zolthan. Dungeon of Zolthan just chucks the bosses at you. It seems to have adopted Three-Phase Boss fights. The first phase where you essentially look at the boss. The second phase where they speed up attacks or themselves. And the third phase in which they do it again. The only distinguishable difference between these phases is… well… attack speed and movement speed. I don’t even know if this is really what’s going on. The attack pattern only really changed for the third boss in which jumps occurred more frequently. This is how bad the boss design. I could be making sense out of nonsense, it’s really hard to tell. It’s not good boss design.

So at the end of the day, annoying music, poor level design, and poor boss design. Thank goodness the game is only $1 or I’d say it’s overpriced. Might still be. I would definitely pass on this game. There are better platformers out there that far surpass this game. Support this game only if you want to chuck a dollar the way of an indie developer (which I support – indie developers are the life of the gaming industry). Still, don’t expect much from Dungeon of Zolthan. Sorry mate.

Artemis Hunt

Dungeon of Zolthan