Review: Momonga Pinball Adventures (Wii U)

Is this flying squirrel worth a spin?

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 10/26/2015 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Solid controls and physics; unique mix of genres
Poison Mushroom for...
Over too quickly; repetitive music; tame difficulty level

The video pinball genre has seen a bit of a renaissance this console generation. With Zen Pinball 2 and Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire both offering strong options on the eShop for fans of flippers, it might be easy to lose Momonga Pinball Adventures in the shuffle. The game may not offer as strong an experience as those other titles, but it’s certainly unique.

Where Momonga Pinball Adventures differentiates itself from other pinball games is that it’s also an adventure game. Players take on the role of a flying squirrel named Momo as he tries to save his family and friends who have been kidnapped by a group of owls. The game still offers the kind of pinball trappings one would expect from the genre, but with levels, a storyline, and enemies as well. This combination gives the title a style that really sets it apart from other games in the genre.

For any video pinball game to work, it’s critical that the controls and physics are in place. Momonga Pinball Adventures does just that, offering controls that are easy and intuitive; if you’ve played any pinball title on Wii U, you’ll immediately feel comfortable playing Momonga. Bonus levels offer slightly different control experiences, including some motion control.

Momonga Pinball Adventures also features some pretty strong level design. Each level is vibrant and offers hidden secrets. Unfortunately, there just aren’t very many of them. The title features 12 levels in total, three of which are bonus stages. Each level offers secondary objectives and online leaderboards, but the mileage you get out of them may vary. Once the game is over with, there just doesn’t seem like a whole lot of incentive to keep playing. The game’s overall difficulty level is pretty tame, too, meaning that experienced players will breeze through the game quickly, only losing a couple of lives along the way. The final boss is a bit of an exception, coming across almost bafflingly difficult by comparison. It’s a neat battle, but players will likely lose a lot more lives on the last level than on any other.

On the subject of baffling choices, the game’s story ends on a cliffhanger, with Momo apparently no closer to rescuing his friends and family. The final battle isn’t even followed by a credit sequence. It’s a very odd choice, and it really makes the game’s best strength work against it. Realistically speaking, Momonga isn’t Metal Gear Solid— no one plays a pinball game about a flying squirrel for the storyline. But because developer Paladin Studios put so much focus on the adventure and story aspects, it’s a really jarring choice.

Brevity isn’t the only problem Momonga suffers from. The title has some charming music but the problem is, the same music plays in just about every level. It’s beyond repetitive, not to mention frustrating, because the music is otherwise on the catchier side. There’s a little more aural variety in the bonus stages and in the final boss battle (which is very cool, and sounds like something out of Mad Max: Fury Road), but it’s a shame there couldn’t have been more.

Momonga Pinball Adventures is a serviceable pinball game that could have been an easier recommendation with a little extra polish. It’s fun while it lasts, but there just isn’t enough meat to the package, and it’s hard to recommend it over games like Zen Pinball 2 or Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire. That said, if you’ve already played both those games and you’re still looking for a flipper fix, it’s a fun, yet flawed, addition to the eShop’s pinball offerings.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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