Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley Review

Game: Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley
Genre: Adventure, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam (Windows & macOS)
Developers | Publishers: Hyper Games | Raw Fury
Age Rating: US E | EU 3+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: March 7th, 2024

A review code was used, with many thanks to Johnny Atom PR.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley is a musical adventure strategy game based on children’s and adult books by Finnish author and multi-talented artist Tove Jansson (1914-2001). Around the world, Tove Jansson is mostly remembered for creating the Moomin books and comic strips, which have been translated into over fifty languages.

Recently, I was invited to a Discord press showcase of Sunfkin Melody of Moominvalley (Thank you, Johnny Atom PR and Hyper Games) where Norwegian developers Hyper Games and publisher Raw Fury talked about the game development and the ideas behind using the Moomin characters. Hyper Games has developed Sunfkin with approval from the owners of the Moomin Characters IP, they are also working closely with the owners of the Moomin Characters IP during the development of the game.

Sunfkin and the Moomins

Sunfkin: Melody of Moominvalley
Snufkin and Moomintroll on their bridge

I read Tove’s Moomin books with my daughter and then later my grandchildren; at one stage, there was even a children’s stop-motion animated TV series that I watched with my daughter. So, I am familiar with Snufkin and the Moomins, but for those readers who are not familiar with the stories, here’s a quick summary.

The Moomins are a family of white, round trolls resembling hippopotamuses living in Moominvalley. The central character is Moomintoll, who is best friends with Snufkin.

Snufkin loves simple things like fishing, playing his harmonica, and strolling alone. He’s a free spirit who doesn’t care about owning stuff and often challenges authority. Even though he cherishes his freedom, he always comes back to Moominvalley in spring to hang out with his buddy Moomintroll but leaves each winter for warmer climates down south.

Sunfkin Melody of Moominvalley Snufkin
Snufkin

Everyone in Moominvalley admires Snufkin for his calm confidence and strong self-belief, especially the shy ones. Incidentally, the core inspiration of the game’s storyline comes from the book Moominsummer Madness, which was published in 1954. In the book, Snufkin ends up in a conflict with the Park Keeper.

The game is centred on Snufkin’s respect for nature, as portrayed in the original novels, and the Park Keeper and Snufkin’s battle with him is one of the core mechanics of the game.

Sunfkin: Melody of Moominvalley

Sunfkin Melody of Moominvalley Oh No, where has Moonintroll gone?
Oh no, where has Moonintroll gone?

You play as Snufkin, who is returning to Moominvalley after the cold winter; Snufkin heads to his usual meeting place with Moomintroll at the bridge over the river in Moominvalley. However, when he gets to the bridge, he discovers that the river has dried up, nature in the valley has wilted, and Moomintroll is missing.

Worst of all, the Park Keeper has set up a series of hideous parks; the parks are full of signs and statures and patrolled by Police guards, and they have cropped up all over Moominvalley, disrupting the landscape and its harmonious nature.

Find Moomintroll

Collect inspiration to use Snufkin's instruments.
Collect inspiration to use Snufkin’s instruments.

So begins Snufkin’s search all around Moominvalley for his best friend, Moomintroll, and the quest to put an end to the Park Keepers’s nasty plans. Playing as Snufkin, you will discover lots of Moomins, animals and nature to interact with, using your harmonic, drum and flute to solve puzzles and complete quests for the Moomins of Moominvalley.

However, Snufkin needs to be inspired to play his instruments, and you collect inspiration by running through certain foliage and bushes dotted around Moominvalley. I really like how collecting inspiration is done in the game. By the end of the game, I had got quite addicted to running through every bush I found in Moominvalley, even the ones that didn’t give Snufkin any inspiration.

Partake in Quests in Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley

A cast of Moomins and other forest creatures
A cast of Moomins and other forest creatures

The quests you will partake in are all intricately and cleverly woven into one another, with the smaller quests often giving you what you need to progress to the larger quests in the game. You’ll help a tiny ghost grow bigger, find all the baby birds and return them to their mother, and calm some bees; and these are just some of the quests in the game.

Puzzles you come across in the environment are solved by playing one of Snufkin’s instruments. None of the puzzles are difficult to complete, and like the game, they are suitable for all ages to play. I’ve played a game with Snork Moomin of floating sticks down the river, and I’ve put out fires that the police guards started in the forest; how dare they!

Stealthy Moments

One of the parks the Park Keeper has built, and the Police guard it
One of the parks the Park Keeper has built, and the Police guard it

When you come across a Park that the Park Keeper has built, you can see it has ruined the landscape of the valley; here, the game changes to a stealth sequence.

These stealthy moments change up the gameplay as the camera view shifts to the top-down view. You have to find your way past the police guards’ line of sight to grab three rule signs. Again, none of the stealth sequences are too difficult to complete, and I like the way they break the gameplay up. Snufkin hates the signs the park keeper leaves in the Park, so he is more than willing to pull the signs up.

Cast of Moominvalley Characters

Now, there is one less park in the Moominvalley.
Now, there is one less park in the Moominvalley.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley is brimming with destinations to explore and a cast of Moomins and forest inhabitants to encounter. Fans of the books will delight in recognising familiar faces throughout the journey.

From the mischievous Little My, Too-Ticky, the Groke, and the beloved Moomin family members such as Moominpappa and Moominmamma, along with a host of other characters, Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley brings these personalities to life with remarkable attention to detail.

Visuals and Music

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley The Park Keepers house
The Park Keepers house

As you delve deeper into Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley, it’s evident that the Hyper Games team has poured their heart into every tiny detail, from the intricate character designs to the stunning artwork adorning the game.

Another standout aspect is the excellent music composed by Sigur Rós, which adds a layer of brilliance to the experience. The integration of music, sound effects, and artwork collectively immerses you into the ambience of Moominvalley, making you feel transported into Moomin’s world.

Unexpected Snag

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley Snufkin and Little My
Snufkin and Little My

After a satisfying six-hour or so playthrough of Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley, immersing myself in the delightful world of the Moomins, my experience hit an unexpected snag. During the final quest, I encountered a bug that left Snufkin suspended mid-air above a broken log, rendering further gameplay progress impossible.

I’m slightly disappointed by this turn of events. I’ve reported the bug to Hyper Games, and I remain optimistic that they will address it with an update soon. With any luck, I’ll soon resume my journey and witness the game’s conclusion firsthand, as I was so close to the end.

Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley Snufkin and Moomintroll on their favourite bridge
Snufkin and Moomintroll on their favourite bridge

Conclusion

Overall, Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley offers a delightful and immersive journey tailor-made for fans of Moomin and anyone in search of a distinct gaming adventure. Although I did encounter a bug that halted my progress, it doesn’t overshadow the charm and creativity that Hyper Games has infused into this delightful exploration of Snufkin Melody of Moominvalley.

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot  I like it a lot

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