Gaming

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is a bedtime story come to life

Snufkin fishes off a dock in Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley.
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If you’re looking for a new Switch game to play with your kids following titles like Bluey: The Videogame and Disney Illusion Island, get ready to meet the Moomins. Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley comes to Switch and PC this week, giving the cartoon vagabond his own game. Developed by Hyper Games, the adventure title aims to capture the cartoon joy of Moomin, a Swedish children’s series, with some musical twists.

Though it’s not the most inventive adaptation, Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley gets the job done as a good-natured game that parents can enjoy with their kids. Its a bedtime story come to life in suitably endearing fashion.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is a straightforward top-down adventure game that plays with the delightful series it’s based on. Players take on the role of Snufkin, the iconic wanderer, who sets off on a journey to save an adorable Moomin critter. It’s all presented with a cute storybook aesthetic that emphasizes the whimsical joys of its source material.

Nothing is terribly complex here, which is good news for young kids — even if it may bore parents a bit. Players are dropped into a small open world where they can wander around and complete tasks for an eclectic cast of characters. Exploration is the sole focus here, with light platforming hooks, a bit of environmental puzzling, and a little bit of stealth to sneak by some dastardly guards. There’s no combat; quests mostly revolve around simple fetch quests that offer a good excuse to pepper in some personality-filled characters.

A Park Keeper speaks in Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley.
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Its one unique twist is that Snufkin gets three instruments during his travels that help open up the world. It’s a fun musical twist on paper but one that ultimately feels underutilized. Using an instrument is as simple as holding down or tapping a button near an obstacle to clear it. A flute can be aimed at bees to shoo them away, and a late-game drum helps break some branches in a forest escape scene, but that aspect is kept mechanically light in the four-hour adventure. If you want a similar game with a bit more meat, the excellent Wandersong checks a lot of its boxes in thicker ink.

Its music is a bit of a missed opportunity in general. One big selling point of the project is that it was set to feature music from Sigur Rós. While the Icelandic band delivers some great opening and closing tracks, the rest of the soundtrack opts for some mostly forgettable — and occasionally cloying — kids’ fare. It’s a small disappointment for an adventure with music at its forefront.

Snufkin plays a flute in Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley.
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Complexity isn’t the goal here, though. Snufkin seems to be going for more of a light and kid-friendly adventure that plays more like an interactive storybook. Simple quests provide a good excuse to chat with characters like Little My, a fierce little girl who is a bit of a modern internet icon. Like its source material, it also lightly packs in some anti-authoritarian and environmentalist themes as Snufkin fights to liberate the valley from rule-enforcing Park Keepers. That gives it just enough maturity to give it some multi-generational appeal.

Though it is not the most exciting cartoon adaptation, Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is exactly what it needs to be. It’s a pleasant, warm-hearted adventure that doesn’t bog young players down with complicated controls. It’s a breezy little interactive cartoon that’s charming enough for a lazy Sunday morning.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley launches on March 7 for Nintendo Switch and PC.

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Courtesy by: Digital Trends

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