Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

Check out our review of Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley to find out what we thought about playing the harmonica and sneaking through parks.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley was my first exposure to the world of Moomins, I’ll admit. The Moomin Boom may have taken over my friends and their friends, but I was content to appreciate the soft, rustic style of the Moomins from afar, until now. With a new indie game coming out promising to capture that fluffy vibe, I dipped my toes into the world of Moominvalley and came away impressed.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

The simple world of the Moomins requires little introduction even to beginners like myself. The ‘Moomins’ themselves are odd, white creatures somewhere between cows and hippopotami (but are actually supposed to be trolls of Nordic tradition). Snufkin, a straw-chewing, hat-wearing human wanderer is a close friend of the Moomins, particularly of Moomintroll, who is the most nondescript of the bunch.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

The game begins with Snufkin departing from Moominvalley – home of the Moomins – leaving his best friend Moomintroll to hibernate for the winter. After a transition to Spring that’s backed by the game’s opening credits, Snufkin returns to find Moominvalley utterly transformed. Parks, signs, and statues have sprung up all over, Moomintroll is missing, and the denizens require help in all kinds of matters, from missing pages to anklets to toys.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

Snufkin, naturally, is here to save the day with his cool, level-headed attitude He doesn’t come empty-handed, though. Early in the game, you are instructed to use Snufkin’s harmonica to charm local creatures and get them to help you. Later on, you also acquire a flute and a drum, which are used to put creatures to sleep and shake the ground, respectively.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

Snufkin the game (henceforth italicized), relies on light puzzles and extensive exploration, as you run about Moominvalley trying to track down Moomintroll and restoring nature where it has been disrupted. Most of the time, you simply have to use your instruments in the right range to overcome obstacles, but sometimes you also have to find and place rocks as stepping stones to cross streams and rivers.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

You’ll meet a variety of Moomins characters on your journey, from the snobby Snork to the easily-frightened Sniff to the bratty and wild forest kid, Little My. I cannot judge how these characters were handled in comparison to their original portrayals in Tove Jansson’s books, but I can certainly say I had a pleasant time meeting them for the first time.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

Snufkin the game is whimsical, light, and more than a little childlike in its sense of fun. It’s also unapologetically political in its condemnation of anti-environmentalists and authority figures. Soft as it may be, there’s definitely a punk undercurrent to the nomadic Snufkin that I came to appreciate.

This is most amply demonstrated in the game’s ‘Park’ segments, where Snufkin infiltrates parks like some kind of hippie Solid Snake, evading police officers and uprooting signs that forbid visitors from smelling or picking flowers.

These proper stealth sections are quite surprising when contrasted with the more whimsy-filled exploration sections, and that’s exactly what makes them both so effective. It’s the childlike whimsy and wonder that’s under threat from the advance of an altogether unwelcome authority, which strives to uphold rules of its own imagination. Resisting that is punk, alright.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

The bumbling police officers and the humor that emerges from their ineptitude plays right into the game’s mechanics. At one point, you find yourself standing right in the middle of four cops – but out of their vision cones. It’s very silly when you put thought into it, but very silly is just right at heart in the world of Snufkin.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

Playing Snufkin, I frequently reflected on the need for ‘soft’ stories for adults. Of course, there’s an undeniable appeal for such stories in children, but I think that in an age where it’s more and more difficult to look at the real world in the eye, these stories have a necessary appeal to adults.

In the face of powerlessness and despair, we have the soft, comforting rebellion of Snufkin and his quest to restore nature in Moominvalley. It’s a quest to restore the tranquility of a childhood nap, and I think the world could use more of that.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley Review

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is a pleasant, easygoing adventure that serves its setting well. Its short length (3-4 hours) is just right when it comes to getting its story across, but I can’t help but think that I’d love to immediately join Snufkin on another adventure, if developers Hyper Games would oblige.

Developer: Hyper Games
Country of Origin: Norway
Publisher: Raw Fury
Release Date: March 7, 2024 (PC, Switch)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The PC version of Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley was played for this review.


Thank you for reading our review of Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley. Playing the game already? Check out our walkthrough of the game!

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This Article was written by: Rahul Shirke