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In the land of Koho, common are the sacrifices of maidens,
in hope of recreating the world as a better place to live.

Not all accept the rituals, though.
An orphan girl, who has lost her mother to these rituals,
entered a forbidden land, in search of a particular item.

The legends say that this sacred item can even
bring the dead back to life, but for a certain price...
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Momodora, created by rdein of Bombservice, is a 2010 PC Platform Game about Isadora Doraline, a maiden who explores a set of caves belonging to the Underworld Queen Lamia in search of a way to bring her mother, who was sacrificed to recreate the world, back to life. Initially grasping only a green magic leaf as a weapon, Isadora quickly finds weapons, one-eyed enemies, and treasures strewn about. The game, as the developer puts it, is inspired by other classics such as Mega Man, Metal Slug, Cave Story, and Zelda. It is tough, too: Isadora can take only five hits before dying and she can only refill health at save crystals between each level.

The 2011 sequel, Momodora II, puts the player in control of another maiden, Momo, who is tasked with slaying the new Underworld Queen, who is attacking her world. The game is notable for opening up into a metroidvania, with new abilities aiding Momo as she progresses past KoHo Plains in search of the new queen.

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Momodora III, which was released on itch.io and Steam in 2014, features both Momo and Isadora as playable characters, travelling towards Hell to defeat the Death Goddess Rell, the one responsible for the creatures who have been terrorizing their village. The game has 6 linear levels rather than being a metroidvania, but the player can warp back to cleared levels and there's plenty of hidden items that can be equipped for special effects.

A fourth game named Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight was released in March 2016 for PC, and became the first instalment in the series to be ported to home consoles: PS4 and Xbox One in 2017, Nintendo Switch in 2019. Featuring a metroidvania set-up once more, it is a prequel about Kaho, a priestess who's on a quest to cleanse the corruption coming from the kingdom of Karst. It has an account at Patreon.

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A fifth game in 3D was once in development, but it was cancelled in favor of 2019's Minoria, a Spiritual Successor to Reverie Under the Moonlight. In 2021, a 2D entry called Momodora: Moonlit Farewell was then announced as the final one in the series. Trailer.

Tropes:

    General 
  • Action Girl: Both Isadora and Momo can slice apart dozens of enemies with just a leaf.
  • Character Title: Momodora's heroines are named Momo and Isadora.
  • Crapsaccharine World: For a world with lots of cute girls, there are an awfully large number of demonic invasions and curses tainting the land.
  • Cute Monster Girl: A bunch of them.
  • Developer's Room:
    • In II, one is accessible upon starting a New Game+.
    • The locked room marked with question marks in Reverie is one. It opens at 100% map completion.
  • Excuse Plot: Depending on the game. I and III, which are more linear, have straightforward plots (venture into the caves of the Underworld Queen Lamia to resurrect Isadora's mother, and defeat the Death Goddess Rell to save Dora's village, respectively), while II and Reverie, which are metroidvanias, have more involved plots.
  • Faceless Eye: A lot of enemy designs, especially in the first game. The little rock-throwing guys seen in all games are named Bakman.
  • Freeware Games: The first two games are freeware.
  • Gelatinous Trampoline: The round ones in III have faces. The blocky ones from IV do not.
  • Glass Cannon: Were you really expecting little girls and priestesses to tank? But don't worry, they can dish out all they can take with interest. And a few equipments can play this trope further in:
  • Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: The first three games have chibi human characters. The fourth gives them realistic proportions, better representing the intended size differences between them and recurring enemy creatures.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
    • You have Kaho's support while fighting Haegok in III. She occasionally attacks from afar with arrows.
    • In Reverie, you get to help Cath fight the Heretical Arsonist.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Some treasures in the first game are notoriously hard to find. A notable one is the 2YO Doll: the way to obtain it is accessed within the game's data folder.
    • A couple of hidden rooms in the fourth game are easy to miss, even though unvisited paths are actually visible on the map. The Ivory Bugs sidequest also requires much exploration and a bit of pixel hunting. The Ring of Candor helps immensely with these, as it chimes (and vibrates the controller if one with a rumble feature is used) upon entering a room with a secret passageway or item.
  • Healing Checkpoint: The save points. They're healing crystals in the first game, but change to prayer bells in the later ones.
  • Heart Container: The love letter items seen in the second game. The fourth game replaced them with "Vitality Fragment" floating hearts.
  • Heroic Mime: Neither of the protagonists speak, though Momo apparently communicates with the other girls in the caves just fine anyway.
    • Averted in Moonlit Farewell where Momo starts talking to NPCs.
  • The Heroine: Isadora in the first game, Momo in the second, both of them in the third and then Kaho in the fourth.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Every single character in the games was female until the fourth game broke the streak with two minor male characters.
  • Metal Slime: The third and fourth games have the Golden Ladybird and the Golden Bakman, palette-swapped enemies that spawn very rarely and are linked to achievements and big money rewards.
  • New Game+: The sequel opens the door to the Developer's Room upon saving after completing the game. However, all of your items are lost and you'll have to collect them again with the exception of the Green Magic Leaf. The third game lets you keep all your items except for some key ones like the upgrade for your main weapon and allows you to equip more than three items at once.
  • Pacifist Run: III and Reverie have Steam achievements for this.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The rocks that enemies can throw stay in the air long enough for a quick dodge.
  • Playing Tennis with the Boss: The final boss of the first two games requires smacking a gigantic projectile back and forth with a magic leaf.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the second game, one character drops one when you first run into her.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Dora lost her mother to religious rituals, so she only does her duties due to peer pressure and has a perpetual bad mood. And then in III we find Kaho fighting for her life against a being that turned out to be a God of Evil.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Worn by Eri and Poetelia.
  • Speed Run: Each of the first three games can be beaten in about 10 to 20 minutes. The fourth one is much longer.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Isadora, the Heroic Mime of the first game, is given dialogue in the sequel. It's likely to provide closure to the first game's plot. Then she goes back to being a Heroic Mime in the third game.
    • Inverted with Kaho. In III she had at least a little to talk with the protagonists, but come her spotlight at Reverie, and the most we get from her is a "?" and a single "Yes" or "No."
    • Momo has started actually talking in Moonlit Farewell.

    Momodora I 
  • Action Bomb: Bombcats, enemies that flash a countdown in their eye upon being approached. You can kill them from afar while they're inactive.
  • Big Bad: Underworld Queen Lamia is holding the spirit of Isadora's mother captive.
  • Blow You Away: VENTMANS, enemies who carry a fan to blow Dora back with bubbles.
  • Downer Ending: Isadora's mother can't be revived because she's a "holy sacrifice for the recreation of the world", so while she's glad Isadora cares so much for her, the most she can do is to warp her out of the underworld with some sort of gift. Sadly, when we next see Dora it's after she was cursed into an Underworld Queen for breaking into the sacred shrine Terra Altar and seeking its forbidden magic.
  • Temporary Platform: Blocks with a clock drawn on them.

    Momodora II 
  • Big Bad: The new Underworld Queen, Isadora herself, aims to destroy the world.
  • Blackout Basement: Choele Choel.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Underworld Queen's final phase fights like Lamia did in her first form.
    • When Dora is purified, the scene flashes back to her adventure in the previous game.
  • Cooldown Hug: How Momo brings Dora back from the dark side.
  • Double Jump: The Magic Feather bestows this ability to Momo.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Isadora is the new Underworld Queen. The readme for the game flat-out tells you this, despite basically spoiling the ending of the original game.
  • Metroidvania
  • Multiple Endings: Kill Dora and the game ends abruptly. Defeat her with the green leaf and Momo will be able to purify and bring her back home.
  • Video Game Dashing: Granted by the Twinkle Pendant. Required to break certain blocks.

    Momodora III 

    Reverie Under the Moonlight 
  • All Witches Have Cats: Cotillard wears a witch-like attire and has a horde of cats. Though, given that she lives in a monastery, she may not actually be a witch.
  • Annoying Arrows: Enemies won't flinch from your arrows (unless the Pocket Incensory is equipped). That's not to say they're useless; with infinite ammo, the ability to deal minor but constant damage to bosses is probably your most practical tactic. You can charge them for a more powerful blow and certain items can add extra damage to them, make them poisonous and turn them into hitstun projectiles. Unfortunately, some bosses and minibosses are immune (mostly the ones wearing heavy armor).
  • Arc Welding: Over the course of the trilogy we hear of a priestess named Kaho and a country named Karst. Here we get to play her journey in those lands.
  • Arrows on Fire: With the Pocket Incensory, your arrows are set on fire. This actually causes them to hitstun enemies, something your leaf does naturally, but arrows normally don't do.
  • Art Shift: The character sprites are now larger and more detailed.
  • Artifact Title: This takes place way before Momo and Dora were born.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Hitting Edea's pearl does more damage than hitting her head, but the pearl itself is only vulnerable during a brief window when Edea uses her tail attack...at least, until New Game+, when you can have access to items that allow you to hit that pearl on your terms.
  • The Berserker: The Black Satchet's scent causes a berserker rage. In terms of gameplay, this translates into a hefty attack boost, but you risk losing some health after every attack (it doesn't have to connect).
  • Big Bad: The Accurst Queen of Karst is the source of the corruption of the kingdom of Karst.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the good ending, Kaho defeats the Queen and seals away her evil... at the cost of her life.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Pardoner Fennel is able to call down lightning bolts.
  • Boss Arena Urgency: Downplayed. In the second Lubella battle, when her health gets low, the sides of the arena collapse, limiting your space to maneuver. However, she cannot damage the arena any further than that.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Kaho wields both a holy leaf and a bow. Later on you also fight a boss who is assisted by an archer.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Killing most of the bosses without taking damage will get you bonus items, but the "Birthstone" granted by the final boss has no special effects. For that matter, many of the bonus drops you get for perfect victories are pretty much this anyway- this is a hard game, so if you can beat the bosses without taking a hit you probably don't need them.
  • Breast Attack: When fighting Lubella, the most practical way to harm her is to stay grounded and slap her breasts.
  • Composite Character: Some enemies are combinations of enemies from the previous games.
  • Corrupt Church: According to the flavor text of the Tainted Missive, the state of the kingdom has turned many faithful of Esselin into Knight Templar hypocrites, claiming to stand for peace and forgiveness even as their hearts are filled with hatred.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Turning Kaho into a cat appears to be Lubella's doing, but as far as curses go, turning into a fast and agile feline able to crawl into narrow passages and still capable of dishing out some pain with claws is not too bad a deal.
  • Darker and Edgier: The overall mood is very bleak with a heavy horror/gothic theme going on. Death is very common occurrence throughout the game, and not just because of the series' Nintendo Hard reputation.
  • Desperation Attack: Choir begins one of those at half health. Interestingly, as she is damaged even further the attack becomes weaker and more disorganized rather than stronger.
  • Downer Ending: In the bad ending, Kaho's entire quest is in vain. The Queen kills her and evil continues spreading through the lands.
  • Early Game Hell: The first few stages are brutal, largely because you die so quickly and some of the most annoying enemies in the game are among the first you meet.
  • Energy Weapon: A specialty of Derelict Frida. She also has a charged version which is a full-on Wave-Motion Gun.
  • Fission Mailed: After defeating Lubella for good, she explodes on Kaho and the screen fades out as if it was a Game Over. Then Kaho inexplicably wakes up locked in a nearby dungeon, cursed into the form of a cat.
  • Flaming Sword: With a Pocket Incensory equipped, your leaf becomes flaming!
  • Giant Mook: The enormous enemy that guards the amulet in the forest is basically a beefed up version of those mace-wielding slime-like creatures that are found all around the forest. Since he is a unique miniboss, he may also qualify as a King Mook.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: There are a series of "Ivory Bugs" hidden through the game that must be brought to a certain character.
    • Pixel Hunt: Played painfully straight, as said bugs are at most two pixels wide and one tall. A few of them aren't even on visible plane, either hiding on scenario props like blades of grass or behind fake walls.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kaho purges the evil in the Queen by absorbing it into herself, which causes her to fade away in the good ending. In the bad ending, however, it turns into a Senseless Sacrifice, with the Queen overpowering and killing Kaho before dying herself.
  • Idle Animation: Kaho gets bored really easily, it seems. The time it takes for her bow to fully charge up is enough for her to yawn. This leads to some hilarious moments where Kaho yawns in the middle of a boss battle (this can happen, for example, while waiting for Lubella's orbs to fall down), as if to tell the boss to get on with it already, or to let them know she's not impressed. As a cat, she falls soundly asleep instead.
  • Life Drain: There are two items that allow you to regain a tiny sliver of health for every enemy killed: the Red Ring, which is sold by a merchant and causes enemies to stop dropping munny, and the Torn Branch, which does not cause enemies to stop dropping munny, but is harder to obtain (it's a drop from Lubella's second battle, which you won't get if she damages you even once).
  • Mercy Kill: You eventually find Cath bleeding to death and begging to be finished off. Accepting this fades the screen to black, after which her body is gone and Kaho is shown praying for her sake.
  • Money Multiplier: An amulet in the woods increases Kaho's luck, giving enemies the chance to drop twice as much munnies.
  • Multiple Endings: Like in the second game, you must upgrade Kaho's leaf weapon to prevent her from failing to seal away the Big Bad.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is brutally hard; you're constantly under attack, many enemy attacks can be difficult to dodge or even hard to see coming, and you will usually die in only 2-3 hits, with long open spaces between the checkpoints, never even mind the Early Game Hell.
  • No Body Left Behind: Characters will fade away or explode upon being killed, but there are a couple of aversions. Choosing to end a dying Cath's suffering will cause her to fade away, but refusing will leave her corpse there for the rest of the playthrough.
  • No-Damage Run: Bosses drop useful items if you kill them without getting hit. Two of them can be bought from shopkeepers, though, and one more is also found on the ground in the monastery (though beating the boss gives you more charges for it).
  • No-Sell:
    • A few enemies are immune to arrows, such as the knight miniboss in Karst City and the Owl miniboss in Karst Castle. The only boss immune to arrows is Duchess Lupiar, and because of this the fight can be a harsh one for players who relied on their arrows for most of the game.
    • The player can do this to the Poison status if they equip the Impurity Flask, which will cause the poison to begin healing them instead. A practical way to save up healing item use is to deliberately poison oneself and let the Flask do its thing.
  • Numbered Sequels: Subverted; Reverie is a prequel. Although some series will number their games by following gameplay development, Momodora is apparently not one of those series.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Cath's weapon is a large broadswoard at least as long as she is tall, and she doesn't seem to have problems swinging it around.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: It's actually a leaf, but close enough.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Killing the talking spider in the Sacred Ordalia Grove causes you to miss out on the unique items it sells in the Cinder Chambers (Drilling Arrows and Impurity Flask).
    • If you take any damage during a boss battle, the boss will not drop its unique item. If you then save over your game, the item becomes unobtainable on this playthrough.
      • Zigzagged with Fennel, Edea, and the Heretic Arsonist's drops. The Tainted Missive can be acquired at the same area that Fennel resides, but missing hers will forfeit two of the item's charges per save point. Edea's Pearl got a knockoff (in appearance only) as the Dull Pearl being sold at Whiteleaf Memorial Service, and the Pocket Incensory is sold by a hefty price at the Royal Pinacotheca. Both, of course, accessible much later in the game than they would be as boss drops.
  • Playing with Fire: The Heretical Arsonist boss found within the Cinder Chambers specializes in fire magic, and drops a special item that imbues your weapons with fire.
  • Plotline Death: A few NPCs die over the course of the game and unlike in the previous game, speedrunning won't save them.
  • Poison Mushroom: You can trade a literal mushroom to an imp girl for a Rotten Bellflower, an item used to... poison yourself. Aside from dropping your health into range for using the Necklace of Sacrifice when no enemies are nearby or using it in combination with the Impurity Flask, this item seems to be fairly useless.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Edea's Pearl and the identical Dull Pearl sold by the merchant give a poison effect to your arrows which deals damage over time to afflicted enemies. It is notable that the arrows actually spawn a small cloud of poison upon contact rather than poisoning directly on hit, so if you shoot something too close or run into the cloud yourself, you can poison yourself.
  • Power-Up Magnet: The Magnet Stone, when equipped, attracts munnies, preventing them from being lost in spike pits or elsewhere.
  • Prequel: Set 400 years before the previous games.
  • Reality Warper: The evil corrupting the land has done a number on the world. For one, Whiteleaf Memorial Park has actually been displaced in space to an area below the city of Karst, in spite of the city itself still being barely visible in the background of the Park. Ghosts of dead citizens can be interacted with, with them noting this unnatural event themselves, and the land in general is infested with demons and abominations. The Birthstone obtained by beating the True Final Boss unscathed reveals that the Queen of Karst was driven insane and attempted to merge the worlds of the living and the dead, which explains why so many of the enemies are beings like spirits, apparitions and undead.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Cotillard, when teasing (?) Kaho about how deranged the city has become and whether Kaho actually stands a chance.
  • Sad Battle Music: Even the default boss music in Reverie Under the Moonlight, Assault, is far from being cheerful. However, Pardoner's Dance, played during the battle with Pardoner Fennel, is in a league of its own, as she is a sympathetic character, and the entire battle is essentially a case of Poor Communication Kills.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: In the bad ending, Kaho dies in vain, killed by the Queen.
  • Status Effects: Kaho can get poisoned (constant HP loss) or cursed (unable to use items).
  • Sucking-In Lines: When Derelict Frida starts doing this, it's your cue to get behind her or get one-shotted, as she is about to fire a Wave-Motion Gun.
  • Summon Magic:
    • Clearing the first Lubella battle (including the section with Moka) without taking any damage will award you the Bakman Patch, which summons an avalanche of Bakmen (the blocky spine-like enemies) to rain down on a considerable portion of the screen a ways ahead of wherever Kaho is facing. As this attack ignores walls and ceilings, it's useful for circumventing conventional roadbloacks, like hitting switches beyond a wall that you normally'd have to take a roundabout way to reach. This lets you skip half of the final dungeon, for example.
    • The Blue Fairy spell summons a powerful and destructive fairy that unleashes a devastating beam attack, but can only be done once without resting at a save point.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Kaho has no problem with being underwater for any amount of time, but some water bodies on certain screens count as Bottomless Pits.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Pressing the code up, up, down, down, left and right will summon a fairy that fires a series of powerful large lasers across the screen, but it works only once per save point.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • You don't get anything in return, but by talking to Askorn in the Sacred Ordalia Grove, he gains the courage to venture into Karst to search for his wife. He gets jailed, but if you then free him, he finally finds his wife Cecilia's grave in Whiteleaf Memorial Park. Realizing his wife never crossed back to the world of the living, Askorn departs to rejoin his wife in the afterlife.
    • When meeting Eri the second time, she'll decide to move to Ordalia Grove no matter what you say to her; but she'll be more chipper about it if you rekindle her hope by denying her assertion that the people of Karst have been abandoned to rot and die rather than agree with her.
    • You permanently lose the item by doing so (until New Game+, at least), but you are free to hand over Pardoner Fennel's Soft Tissue to Archpriestess Choir when she asks for the last memento of her deceased little sister. Of course, then learning that Choir had long betrayed her faith and actually viewed her own sister as an enemy, with full intention of killing you as well...
    • A few rooms before the midboss of the final dungeon, you run into a mortally wounded Cath, who requests a Mercy Kill. You cannot save her, no matter what. Refusing will cause her to expire in silence, her body left there forever, but if you acquiesce, she will instead be given the proper rites by Kaho, who will give her a farewell prayer before continuing on to finish the fight for both of them.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You know that talking spider that shows up in the very first area? It's completely harmless, but you can kill it anyways. However, it returns in the Cinder Chambers as a merchant that sells two unique items: piercing arrows and a flask that makes poison heal you, which combined with Edea's Pearl allows for unlimited healing. If you kill it, these items are unobtainable on this playthrough.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll:
    • Kaho can dodge enemies and attacks by rolling. One upgrade also allows her to air dash.
    • On the enemy side, Pardoner Fennel backflips a whole lot throughout her boss battle (it doesn't grant her invincibility frames though), while Duchess Lupiar uses these as her main form of movement.

    Moonlit Farewell 
  • Giant Woman:
  • King Mook: One of the bosses shown in the trailer is the Very Big Spider, a humongous and rather creepy version of the spider enemy/merchant that can be found in III and Reverie.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Momo is the protagonist again, but now she can talk to NPCs.

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