Momoka - an interplanetary adventure

Momoka - an interplanetary adventure

By Felwig games LLP

Available on iTunes ($6.99)

Momoka looked cool, but something about the game's production values always seemed to leave me feeling like this could be a mediocre game. The visuals felt like they were on the wrong side between ugly and intentional low fidelity. Something about the way characters moved and operated left me feeling like this could be what could be succinctly summarized as a janky game. Janky games are frustrating, because they could and should be great, but often get in the way of themselves with things like bugs, poor controls, and ill-advised design decisions. Momoka certainly flirts with jankiness, and has some rough edges that make it not the smoothest experience ever, no. But it's constructed so well, that its flaws stay out of the way of this fantastic Metroidvania platformer.

momoka-an interplanetary adventure

You play as the eponymous Momoka, equipped with a laser gun and the mission to restore the dying energy of the sun. You'll explore an interconnected world in your galaxy, using abilities and upgrades you earn to traverse sections that were once impassable. The story and setup are nothing too original, but Momokamanages to do the basics quite well, while also throwing in some clever features along the way.

Structure wise, Momoka guides you through the first part of the game until you get your rocket ship, when you can explore the galaxy on your own. The rocket is worthy of note as it feels cool to actually fly around and explore for yourself, not just to go somewhere on a map. It's possible to get stuck or land in spots where you have to backtrack to a rocket station to escape, but it's only a minor annoyance. Plus, there are some collectables that you have to get by flying your rocket to strategic places. It's such a great inclusion and makes the game stand out.

momoka - a great fun game yet simple designed

Once you get the rocket, you have three different areas to play through in your own order. These follow theMetroid style of introducing a particular ability that you need to collect in order to complete the area and progress further. But what you'll notice is that the abilities can be used in the other areas to get certain hidden collectables. This is a great implementation of this feature. It encourages you to backtrack, and it feels spectacular to tackle something that you once couldn't. This all adds up to a wonderful final level, where you now have to combine your newfound abilities to make it through difficult sections. It's a stiff challenge, but rewarding to complete. From a design perspective, it's hard to fault Momoka for much. It knows how to do the Metroidvania style of gameplay.

Momoka gives you 4 life once an adventure

Momoka supports the Apple TV, and was where I put a lot of time into the game. This is thanks in part to the game's seamless iCloud support, which is flawless. Momoka supports controllers, and that's the best way to play the game, though the touch controls are no slouch. On Apple TV, the game is a great fit for the TV thanks to being inspired by classic console games. But do not play with the Siri Remote: the game is designed with the remote in portrait, which is a questionable decision for button layout. The touchpad button jumps, and the play button fires, which is awkward in portrait. Play this with a controller, but be careful: because using bombs on the remote involves hitting two buttons simultaneously, this leads to controller issues. X works as the menu button, so jumping then firing often fires a bomb. Unless you want to constantly run out of bombs, use B to fire. Other than the controller foibles, playing on Apple TV is a great way to lose a lot of time to this game!

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