REVIEW: Minoria

Apr
02

REVIEW: Minoria

Minoria presents you with dark-themed areas and stories where you must use your quick reflexes against the enemies that are standing in your way.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Bombservice
Publisher: DANGEN Entertainment
Release date: 27 Aug, 2019

Intro

Set in a world where nuns and witches are in a war with each other, Minoria follows the story of a pair of nuns that are tasked to eliminate witches. Equipped with a weapon to slash the enemies and a cross to chant a devastating spell, you have to eliminate everything that goes in your way, dodging enemies’ attacks if necessary, to slay all bosses in each area.

Graphics

The game is nuanced in dark areas, with some touch of foggy effects and lighting. The dim lighting that is enhanced with the foggy effect helps the dark-themed area to stand out while the lighting color helps to give uniqueness to each area. It portrayed the ruined area perfectly with a gloomy atmosphere and scattered corpses on the ground.

Characters have a simple, 3D look with almost unnoticeable facial expressions. While it usually doesn’t pose a problem due to how characters are displayed, the game will zoom in on its characters whenever a cutscene kicks in. It’s hard to guess what the characters are doing from their movement unless you read the dialogue that comes right after. Someone who runs frantically might look as if they are running away happily, ruining the immersion – I even laughed at the ending because of it.

The game conveys the dark-themed areas wonderfully.

Story

The story is a hit and miss for me. The prologue tries to make it simple by using several concise words although it soon backfires due to its word usage. The sentences don’t flow smoothly and you must think hard to make the connection. There isn’t much interaction between characters either, and when they do, some locations will be mentioned out of nowhere, triggering some confusion. Luckily, the story isn’t hard to understand if you just want to know the gist of what’s happening.

The game makes up for its brief story by having optional secrets scattered everywhere. Archives and notes will be available to read and collect, giving you pieces of information about the world and its people. However, there doesn’t seem to be a lot that you can learn from these either, although you shouldn’t expect much in the first place from its short story.

The Game

Gameplay

The gameplay is similar to Metroidvanias, albeit with a lesser feature. Instead of having a key item that will help you reach unreachable areas in previous dungeons, the key item that you receive in each “dungeon” will only work in that particular dungeon. New skills that can access previously unreachable areas will be introduced later, although the best that it can do is to help you collect some collectibles. The game doesn’t seem to focus much on backtracking although luckily, it also means that you don’t have to explore the same areas a lot of times to collect everything.

The implementation of the dodge feature is unique, although it might be annoying for those who are not used to it. Pressing the directional button while dodging will make your character dodge roll in that direction, while a counterattack can be initiated if you press the button at the right time without pressing the directional button. However, it’s hard to get the right timing all the time, especially since the enemy is attacking very fast, making the timeframe for the counterattack to be short – you’ll end up spamming the dodge button just to trigger it correctly.

Pressing the dodge button at the right time will trigger a counterattack, helping you to defeat enemies.

Combat

The game has various enemies with different attack patterns. It starts with easy enemies where you only need to spam the attack button to defeat, although they soon will be tougher as you proceed, forcing you to use the dodge ability to beat. Enemies also deal a lot of damage, even at the start of the game, that you need to watch out of your surroundings. Dying and restarting from the last checkpoint will be a common occurrence if you aren’t careful. Luckily, the game has enough healing pots that you can use until the next checkpoint.

Bosses with varied attack patterns will await you in each dungeon. Dodging their attack is not as simple as it looks because the boss will only give subtle hints at each attack. Moreover, some attacks have a similar attack pattern that you must distinguish quickly, making it harder to avoid. The thing is, your character won’t be able to dodge as quickly as you press the dodge button – you need to wait for a few milliseconds before the dodge is executed. Matching the dodge timing while predicting the boss attack will test your quick reflexes and prove to be a challenge if you try to beat them without taking damage. However, if you find the boss to be too hard, you always can spam potions and/or grind some levels to make it easier.

Some attacks might look impossible to avoid at first glance.

Length and Replayability

The in-game clock states that I finished the game in ~5h and obtained all achievements in ~7h. Since you need to reload from your last save if you die, the playtime might be slightly longer than that, although the difference is only ~1h compared to my Steam playtime. The game isn’t that difficult as long as you know how to dodge the enemies’ attack pattern, especially the bosses. It might take several practices to get used to them though.

The game has 2 endings and a New Game+ where you can start the game with all of your items. A second playthrough is not needed to experience both endings if you do a certain trick. Hardcore players can try to beat the game again with some challenges such as not leveling up and/or taking maximum damage through the usage of some gears that are obtained near the end of the game.

Problems

Despite the game forcing you to react quickly to your enemies, the game gives you too many buttons to press. It’s hard to use spells because of this, especially since you need to press a lot of buttons to rotate the spells that you need to use.

Specs

Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650

Verdict

The game’s atmosphere increases the immersion by a whole lot. The gloomy world, the hard-hitting enemies, the night setting – everything was done wonderfully with the dark and mysterious theme in mind. The lack of story detail doesn’t bother me at all during my playthrough, although it would be nice to have it more fleshed out. I had fun exploring the area and defeating the enemies, despite the occasional death in some areas. Although the game might be confusing and hard to take in at first, it proves to be enjoyable once you understand the mechanics.

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