Moroi Springs: Winterlore II | Review
Moroi Springs Winterlore II Review | Follow the story of Ozana and her new found powers. The traditions she knew inside out bring a new meaning to her way of life and to Mamaie’s customs. She’ll mend herbs, brew concoctions and cook sweets for the solstice feast. Along the way she’ll encounter guests bringing in new beginnings, while others appear uninvited into the home.
Date Played: 1st September 2021
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 40 minutes
When Moroi Springs announced they were creating a sequel to the beautiful and heartfelt Winterlore game, my heart skipped a little beat! I first played the original Winterlore game over Christmas in 2020… At the height of the pandemic, isolated from my friends and family, sitting alone in my room wrapped in a blanket. The game was a little look into a far flung land of myths and legends, shrouded in mystery and heck – it meant a lot to me!
On September 1st 2021, Winterlore II launched. The moment I saw the notification I hit “download” and leaped back into the snow, to the familiar world of Moroi Springs.
Ozana and the Winter Solstice
The game opens with the Winter solstice and Ozana is now all grown up. We meet her preparing for the festivities, her partner Vasily, plagued by some terrible dark force, and her young baby suffering from blindness, asleep in her cot. Ozana’s goal is to break the curse of Yaga and restore good health to her family once more and the solstice is the key to this. But in order to break the curse she must perform a series of seasonal rituals passed down through her familial line on this important solstice night.
Along the way we as players get to explore Ozana’s home and are reminded of the first game with Easter Eggs dotted here and there. We meet new faces in Ozana’s family and are introduced to passing carol singers from the nearby community.
If you’ve played one after the other, there’s a distinct change from the first game into the second. Our character has matured, she now understands the ways of the world. Where she once needed careful instructions from her grandmother, Ozana now knows the correct amount of ingredients by pinching the flour between her fingers, and walks with confidence through this ever winter, folkloric world.
Discover Lost Traditions Through Puzzles
In terms of puzzles, Winterlore II follows the same pattern as the first game in the series, making it a classic point and click escape room video game. Hidden throughout the house are a series of recipe notes, visually indicating what must be combined to create recipes – quince jam, or pastry sweets for example. To find the ingredients, players must solve a series of puzzles – ranging from rotational puzzles, to slider puzzles, to rearranging jars on a shelf, and visual lock codes.
Overall, nothing is too difficult. Unlike the first game, I didn’t need to use any hints this time round and the whole thing felt paced out nicely. Each new space unlocked gives a new clue and never once did I feel lead down the wrong pathway away from a puzzle solution. Rather, everything fell into place neatly.
A Folkloric Escape Room Video Game
For me, the special sauce that makes Moroi Springs such a fantastic game developer is how they’ve positioned Romanian traditions and Balkan folklore tales so perfectly in a puzzle environment. It just goes to show how powerful puzzle games can be in telling the stories of those who traditionally do not have a space to do so, at least not within the video game industry.
In the short hour it took me to play Winterlore II I’ve learned all about winter solstice traditions, mythical creatures and seasonal food and dress from region… And I love that!
Once again Moroi Springs have outdone themselves! Second games in a series are typically harder to live up to the first, but not for Moroi Springs. The creative team’s hard work on Winterlore II has paid off and Winterlore II was an absolute joy to play! Opening up the game and seeing the first snowflakes fall felt like returning to a home away from home.
The best part… No matter what platform you’re playing on, Winterlore II is only $1 USD to play. I can’t think of many better ways to spend a dollar.
Winterlore II can be played on mobile devices or PC via Itch.Io. Check out the Moroi Spring’s developer page for more details.