By Skip Zepeda / October 7th, 2019
|RELEASE DATE||August 27th, 2019|
|RATING||M Mature 17+|
Minoria is a Gothic action game developed by Bombservice and published by DANGEN Entertainment. It’s touted as a spiritual sequel to Momodora. If you haven’t played Momodora, you can check out Josh’s review here. In Minoria you play the game as Sister Semilia and along with Fran, your advisor, are tasked by the Sacred Office with hunting down witches, who are planning a frightening ceremony to bring chaos and heresy upon humanity.
Fans of Momodora will inevitably feel familiar territory here with elements included such as parrying, dodging, and spell casting. If you are not familiar with Momodora then Minoria could be closest in mechanics to a Castlevania title, with more focus on sword combat. The combat is fluid and satisfying. My sword clangs and fire spells strike with crisp and satisfying animations. The parrying and dodging can take some getting used to but once you put the effort in, those mechanics will undoubtedly save your life.
Combat is quick and visceral. Bosses provide a very adequate challenge and will test your reflexes, especially when it comes to learning patterns and practicing the parry and dodge timing. Without mastering those methods, bosses will make quick work of Semilia. Thankfully, save points are not too far off from each boss, and don’t leave you too far from the action. If you aren’t used to punishing combat that requires you to learn from your mistakes constantly, Minoria might not be for you.
There is plenty of exploration to be had in the game, from the drab Gothic castle you begin in, to the dreary woods and cemetery outside. There are plenty of chests and breakable containers littered with equipment and items. Enemy counts respawn so you can continue to level up and gain experience. The locations are vivid and crisp with a fresh haunting art style.
Minoria borrows a HD aesthetic with the 2.5D background, which creates a very unique visual style. The style compliments the Gothic setting well and was a pleasure to look at. There were times where because of the limited color palate available with this kind of setting, everything started to look sort of same-y, but thankfully the enemies and bosses were unique and engaging to the point where I stopped being overly critical. One of the very interesting ways in which Minoria uses its visuals to full effect, is through conversation portraits. You can and will be prompted to talk with Fran at various times on your journey. She will sometimes offer hints at where to go or what to do as well as offer more story background. Sometimes she just wants to check in with you and make sure you are okay, which was a nice way to cement their commitment to one another.
The story here is very solemn and sad. You are tasked with taking down the Inquisition of witches and after an initial attack, only Semilia and Fran survive. It becomes your mission to stop the witches and free the world of their impending chaos. The story is told visually, through focused cut scenes with character portraits. They are haunting and moody at times, character expressions are on point, and the music is probably the most exceptional part about the game.
Minoria’s soundtrack is haunting and ethereal. It invoked a strong emotional response from me, especially at the beginning of the game and during the cut scenes and bosses. The music of Minoria oozes that mix between dark Gothic terror and ephemeral and religious harmony. I felt that it was a perfect fit for this title. Exceptional work in the music department.
Minoria is a very difficult game, but it has a lot to offer someone who puts in the time. There is a gorgeous action game here with solid exploration, fluid and fast paced combat, and a touching story told through a beautiful visual style. It took me about 10-12 hours to beat Minoria due to multiple boss casualties and frustrating quitting sessions.
Seasoned action fans or those who can master the parrying and dodging well enough could probably beat it quicker. I’m not that great at difficult games so Minoria often slapped me repeatedly when failing a parry or dodge. I still thoroughly enjoyed being slapped around though, Minoria was very well worth the time. It will soon be available on Nintendo Switch and is now out on PC via Steam for $19.99.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
action platformerBombserviceDANGEN EntertainmentMetroidvaniaMinoriaMomodoraSteam