Minoria Review (Nintendo Switch)

Published on September 12th, 2020 by Gervais D.

Minoria Review (Nintendo Switch)

During the medieval era, the Catholic Church was responsible for ridding the world of witches and demonic possessions. Anyone able would have a sword put in their hand to fight the evil before them. In Minoria, members of the clergy would have to fight regardless of whether they’re willing to or not. Turning a blind eye to a mission would be the same as courting death.

Story

Witches are up to no good in Minoria, and the church isn’t sitting idle to let them have their way. You play as Sister Semilla, a missionary of the Church’s service, and you must purify both witches and other foes who stand in your way. The story of Minoria is as basic as it can get and seems to be the basis of the gameplay. People who crave the unexpected may be more open to it.

Minoria Cutscene
Witches must be purified.

The game has two endings, both accessible depending on the decision you make. One might be more fulfilling to some because of an additional boss battle, but it isn’t noteworthy enough to make you regret taking the other path. There’s no simple way to get it either, as you need to restart from the beginning to choose differently, but the game makes it a bit more convenient after wrapping up the first playthrough.

Gameplay

Minoria is a 2D action platforming game that’s also considered as a Metroidvania. Picking up the basics isn’t difficult, but it’s easy to miss crucial aspects if you don’t properly examine the controls.

Platforming

As Sister Semilla, you’ll be transversing from area to area fighting off anyone who blocks your path for the sake of completing your objective. Along the way, you’ll unlock new abilities that you will have to utilize to advance. Memorizing key locations such as a locked door and backtracking to previous areas is also something you will find yourself doing, which makes the possibility of getting lost a bit higher. It can even end up feeling like a chore searching for the area you need to get to.

Dialogue Choices in Minoria
Sometimes you’ll be given dialogue choices.

Unfortunately, the game lacks the ability to run. While walking is nice, it quickly becomes tiresome when you need to go back and forth or just want to get to an area quicker. Dodge rolling is a close alternative, but repeatedly doing so isn’t visually gratifying to the eye. It ruins the ambiance you should be getting with the type of game Minoria is.

Trap in Minoria
Trap await you and aim to hinder your progress.

Although not perfect, the map in this game in itself is godsent and makes navigating less burdensome. Traps such as swinging spike balls and guillotines attempt to hinder your simple movement, but make the game much more exciting. Good observation is a necessity when exploring because you may very well step on an enemy and get hurt or miss an entrance to a new area.

Combat

Using a series of slashes, you’re able to eliminate the enemies that get in your way. There are numerous enemies you can sink your blade into. Their weapons vary as well as their formidability. A few of these enemies can be deceiving because they have the same appearance but are hardier when receiving blows. The gameplay can get repetitive with how you’ll frequently be backtracking to previous areas that respawn enemies, making dodge rolling a more attractive option than fighting these familiar faces again.

Combat in Minoria
Defeating enemies normally feels good.

Minoria isn’t just a game where you swing a sword and hope for the best. You are also capable of dodge rolling and parrying. These two skills are essential in combat, and without proper use of both, you may find yourself dying more frequently. Precisely timing attacks plays a significant role in mastering these skills, and with sufficient practice, it’ll feel natural when playing. The game is no walk in the park though, even with the generous number of saving/healing points throughout the map.

Bosses

Small fries aren’t the only enemies you’ll be facing. The game has several bosses, each of which aims to provide you with an epic battle experience. These bosses have been paced out well and aren’t easy to take down. Careful attention must be taken to avoid the enemy’s blow and learning their patterns is crucial. Taking a single attack may diminish more of your HP than you’d expect it to. Rechallenging these bosses is far from tedious because you’re able to save near their areas and you can skip cutscenes with the press of a button.

Skill Equipping

In Minoria, you’re able to use Incenses. These Incenses give Sister Semilla additional powers and perks to use during her journey. They can be bought or found, but the game makes it difficult with showing you the new Incenses you’ve obtained. It doesn’t get overwhelming with the low amount in the game, but you will often end up wasting time reading through each just to decide if you wish to use something new.

Using an active skill Incense in Minoria
Using an active skill from an Incense.

Incenses add a great deal to combat in Minoria. The effects they carry can be vital during situations the game throws at you, and efficient usage will make the challenging foes less of a bother. The new methods of attacking introduced with Incenses might be its most appealing feature, and it does not disappoint in that department. It’s easy to miss acquiring some, therefore no area should go left unexplored.

Leveling

The more enemies you slay, the higher your level will get. Regardless of how high your level becomes, it doesn’t feel like it causes a major impact on gameplay. Bosses still hit like a truck and some enemies can take you by surprise. This means when playing Minoria, you’ll always have to pay careful attention to enemy attacks and your health meter, especially when engaging bosses in battle.

Post Game Content

Upon finishing the game, new content is unlocked. In addition to two new blades, fast travel, a new store item that makes enemy attacks overpowered, and more NPCs to talk to, you’re given the option to restart a new game; enemies will deal more damage, you’ll gain more experience points than before, and the majority of your equipment and items will be carried over. It encourages a new playthrough to get the next ending.

In addition to the above, the game also gives you the option to fight through a series of battles. It tests how long you can last with the equipment and skills you currently possess. Each victory drops you to a new floor to engage new enemies in battle. Just like with the core gameplay, many ‘game overs’ await you in this new challenge to find out what’s at the end.

Graphics and Soundtrack

The combination of hand-painted 2D art with cel-shading does justice for Minoria. The art style is gorgeous and fits well with the atmosphere of the game. There are various environments to discover, all beautifully designed, and the character models fit perfectly in them. Some closeup faces of characters during cutscenes do look bizarre though.

Boss battle in Minoria
Minoria has many epic boss battles.

The music played during the game pairs greatly with the ominous environments you will be exploring. The boss battle themes set the perfect mood for a fight. A lot of the songs are calming to the ear, which may even help ease the possible frustration of dying regularly in the game. Kudos goes to the soundtrack composer on a job well done.

Conclusion

Despite its minor issues, Minoria is a fantastic 2D action platformer that will show you no mercy. The moment you stop paying attention to what’s taking place on the screen can be your next demise. It’s a game where you’ll need to pay close attention to enemies and carefully manage all of the combat mechanics to overcome the challenges that await.

Minoria gets an 8/10.

Gervais D.

About Gervais D.

Gervais is a Nintendo fan who loves to play a good game. His first owned Nintendo console was the NES, and he currently owns a blue 3DS XL.