Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley

Moomin is one those shows that just sticks in the mind, and is a source of nostalgia. For some that will be due to the books by Tove Jansson,  and for others the animated series that was based on those stories. It’s a series that is wholesome and full of little adventures, with Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley carrying the torch of the books, comics, TV and films into video game form.

But it’s not the Moomins who take centre stage here. Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is an exploration adventure in which you play as Snufkin, friend of the Moomins. Returning to Moominvalley in the Spring, when the Moomins are waking up from their winter hibernation, to find that things have changed and that her best friend, Moomintroll, has gone missing. What was once an idyllic natural area, has been cut down in places, drained out, and transformed into more orderly parks. Snufkin’s main objective is to find Moomintroll and get rid of the parks so Moominvalley can return to its more natural state.

A real core part of the game is music, both in terms of the soundtrack provided by Sigur Ros, and with Snufkin having access to a total of three instruments throughout. Snufkin starts with a harmonica, later acquiring a flute and a drum. Different creatures and environment aspects react to one of these instruments, but only if Snufkin’s inspiration level matches or is of a higher value.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley music

To increase his inspiration level, Snufkin can find it out in the wild, but the big boosts come from completing quests given by the inhabitants of Moominvalley. These can range from finding lost items or clearing paths. The quests are generally quite simple, and thanks to the world design do not take long to complete. They all have some puzzle elements to them, which can include creating paths using rocks, or avoiding guard patrols, and at no point did any quest feel repetitive. What is also appreciated is that you can do the side quests in any order, and find items in the wild related to quests. That means when you eventually find a quest giver, you may already have what they need.

The layout of Moominvalley is generally quite open, though some areas will only be accessible after getting a certain instrument and reaching the right inspiration level. That is not because there are enemies to fight, since there is no combat in the game, but more to do with keeping the story progress in check and not overwhelming players with side quests. It helps keep the focus on clearing the quests you have, which never feels like there are too many, and getting to the story’s end having seen as much of the game as possible. There are little activities to do as well, like finding the gaze spots where you can just relax and take a break, or spotting all the woodpeckers. These have no bearing on the story or sidequests, but are a nice feature to include.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley park vs. nature

The visual style of Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley looks like it is lifted from a page in a book, rather than a cartoon animation. The environments are colourful and the characters are true to their original designs. The story itself is decent too with no out and out villain, even if the Park Keeper has been elevated to a larger role. Instead, it focuses on the perspectives of those that want to keep the natural world as it is, and those who believe that taming that world could be progress and for the better. Environmentalism is the at the core of the themes within the game, with the debate being over how to best protect the world we live in.

The only real weakness in the game could be the platforming, which while smooth is not always as intuitive as it should be. Completing the main quest, side quests, and majority of side activities took approximately four hours in total.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is a delightful game, which will please long time Moomin fans, and could introduce the characters to a new audience and generation. The game is wholesome, one for all ages, and addresses the issue of environmentalism in a careful and constructive way. It is definitely worth playing.
  • Retains the wholesome vibe of the Moomins
  • Using music as the core to progression is neat
  • The artstyle feels like it's been lifted from the books
  • A well-written story with a good message
  • Platforming in a few select places could have been a bit better
Written by
From the heady days of the Mega Drive up until the modern day gaming has been my main hobby. I'll give almost any game a go.