Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley Review | Nintendo Switch

Anyone who enjoys cozy games will fall head over heels for Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley.

By Rayan, Posted 10 Mar 2024

It's not often that I start a review saying something like this, but playing the musical adventure game Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley—a story about bringing harmony back to Moomin Valley—has been the most soothing experience of my gaming life. Developed by Hyper Games, a tiny studio in Oslo, Norway, it chronicles the exploits of the Moomin, a group of trolls that look like hippos, as they wander through the woods.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley stands out due to its painting-like graphics, genuine Nordic beauty, and a story that starts by making you feel something. The game's soundtrack, intelligent dialogue, and gorgeous visual style and surroundings are its key strengths, and it's more of an experience than a game if you're a Moomin fan. When taken as a whole, these elements produce a mystical setting that draws you into the charming Moominvalley as you follow the intriguing narrative.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley, Review, Nintendo Switch, Gameplay, Screenshots, Moomin

The story begins with the protagonist, Snufkin, who is about to leave for his annual trip south, far from the namesake Moominvalley and its citizens, including his pal Moomintroll, who are getting ready for hibernation. Although it is a depressing scene, Moomintroll assures that they will wait patiently for Snufkin's return in the spring, just like they have on numerous occasions before.

On his way back, he discovers that a forest ranger has abducted Moomin troll and plans to transform the woodland into a picturesque tourist attraction. When Snufkin returns to the valley after being lost in the wilderness, he discovers that everything has transformed: signs have been placed everywhere, and parks have been built in the forest, destroying its allure and freedom. Amid his quest to find his pal, who vanished while Snufkin was away, Snufkin opposes this and sets out to bring down every park and pull up every sign.

With your passion for music and a strong desire to provide a hand, you take on the role of Snufkin, who must venture out into the open world to rescue your closest friend and restore harmony to the cherished characters. There is no actual introduction to the characters because much of the plot assumes you have read the Moomin books. In addition, although I won't say it's the most significant issue because the narrative provides sufficient insight into the peculiarities and characteristics of the individuals, I believe that a glossary would have been a good approach to provide newcomers with some additional details.

Playing the game is largely about solving simple puzzles, but it is still fun. Also, At a leisurely pace, I was able to finish the game in approximately five hours. The gameplay consists of navigating a lovely environment with the ideal number of side quests and adequate freedom to locate shortcuts and loops across places for effective map building. The level of freedom is just right. There are a handful of brief and simple stealth events in the game. This is a minor imperfection that will add some variety to the otherwise walking simulator. However, joining the generally enjoyable exploration of a gorgeously rendered environment isn't too challenging, where one meets charming individuals while on a quest.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley, Review, Nintendo Switch, Gameplay, Screenshots, Story

As Snuffkin begins his adventure devoid of inspiration, it is your goal to discover your environment, interact with living species, and restore his inspiration. Your melodic ability and the number of powers at your disposal are enhanced as you level up in response to the inspiration you gather. You mostly engage with the environment via the medium of your musical instruments. With your reliable harmonica, you accomplish the tasks of the quest while touring the area surrounding it. As you progress, the game gives you access to a harmonica, flute, and drums.

The instruments restrict the interactions that can take place, and as a result, they serve as a mechanism for the game to restrict your access to certain areas. Earning levels and unlocking instruments are the only ways to advance in the story, though there are extra areas to explore and side missions to complete. You get experience by completing side missions and dashing through bushes, although the number of levels is completely random when it comes to missions.

You can also engage with the environment through stealth sequences. Your objective is to stay one step ahead of the forest rangers as you navigate straightforward mazes. You'll be repositioned a few inches back if detected, but otherwise, they're not too bothersome. Although there is only one method to progress in this very small world, with an open map, you can navigate at your leisure while discovering new side quests, giving you plenty of opportunities to learn about the game's characters.

The leveling system is simple and straightforward and serves just to advance the game. This mode borrows elements from Skyrim but simplifies and makes it easier for everyone to understand, and the lack of complexity makes it appealing. For some, the game's simplistic mechanics may be a turnoff, but I find that the story and atmosphere matter in a Moomin game, and that's exactly what this one provides.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley, Review, Nintendo Switch, Gameplay, Screenshots, Puzzles

On the other hand, I wouldn't mind if the difficulties were more challenging. At the same time, the gameplay is equally engaging as it should be, and this game seems ideal for kids or cozy players. Although the game's primary objective is to locate and save the Moomintroll, you have a great deal of freedom to explore the environment.

Along the way, Snufkin will meet a diverse group of eccentric personalities. An excellent feature of the game is that it not only keeps track of active objectives but also highlights important locations on your map. I loved discovering unexpected treasures in obscure areas, and it was much easier to avoid aimless wandering because of this.

The visuals of Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley are amazing, perfectly matching the mood and style of Tove Jansson's legendary artwork. Everything about the game's aesthetic, from the minute details to the elaborate design, has been done with care, and they felt just right. All of the cutscene illustrations in this game are so dramatic that they would be perfect for an art exhibition.

Among the most visually appealing features of the game were the vantage points from which he fishes and gazes up at the glittering stars or a tree-covered sky. It was a great way to pause the game, break the monotony, and enjoy the atmosphere. Despite their lack of complexity, the animated sequences were a delight to see and did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley, Review, Nintendo Switch, Gameplay, Screenshots, Trees

Aside from the stunning visuals, Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley also has some interesting dialogue and believable characters to which players will get attached. Though the dialogues don't involve voice acting, the gloomy vibe is effective. However, Moomin fans might be more drawn to the magical atmospheres in the animated series. While my younger sister (who seems to be a Moomin fan) played this together, we didn't have any complaints because the environment was friendly and welcoming, providing a sense of relaxation and melancholy.

The audio, while not as remarkable, serves the show smoothly. For the Moomins, Sigur Rós's music is a natural fit because the band is one of the rare ones that can, at the very least, modernize the Moomin tone. But the poor computer-generated series sound is the game's weakest feature; it completely detracted from my enjoyment of the gameplay. Many of these sounds reminded me of Dave the Diver and didn't go with the game's ambiance.

At first glance, Snufkin seemed like just another new indie cozy game, but upon closer inspection, I discovered a delightful, loving experience. I couldn't find anything wrong with Snufkin Melody of Moomin Valley; it has complete controller support. Although a few somewhat linear approaches (such as the ascending pathways) exist, the gameplay is generally satisfying.

Rolling stones, climbing logs, and even riding a friend's head over the water are delightful and simple motions, and I was immediately hooked on this game. Not to belittle Snufkin in any way, but that is my own opinion regarding the game's audience. For those seeking more mature themes and narratives, Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley may not be the right choice.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley, Review, Nintendo Switch, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

Whatever your reason for wanting to play this game—whether it's a fan of the Moomin series or simply a desire to unwind and appreciate the present moment—you'll undoubtedly find something you like. Although the game's length and $20 price tag may be perceived as a bit steep considering the quantity of content it contains, I believe that you will find great enjoyment in the time you spend playing the game.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley is just the right amount of whimsical and charming, and the watercolor illustrations give it the perfect vibe. The game may have benefited from a little extra length, but I suppose Hyper Games was within the capacity to do so. Anyone who enjoys cozy games will fall head over heels for Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley. This is the best Moomin game we've gotten so far, and we hope to see more like it in the future.

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, Switch
Publisher(s): Raw Fury
Developer(s): Hyper Games
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Colorful, Role-Playing, Adventure
Release Date: 2024-03-07

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