Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories

Melon Adventure: Bittersweet Reminiscences

The title “Mellon Journey: Bittersweet Memories” is a little misleading. Players anticipate a far more emotional journey about reflecting on their past and perhaps even learning that things weren’t as good as they remembered them when they play a title like that. For want of a better word, what we actually receive is crazier than that. Melon Journey is simultaneously strangely moving and significantly more irreverent.

As Honeydew, a young woman who works for a business that sells melon soda, you play the part. Cantaloupe, your best friend and coworker, has vanished but has invited you to search for him. There’s a route that leads to the nearby Hog Town, where melons (and anything made from them) are absolutely forbidden. It’s not really a trail of bread crumbs, but like a track of melon seeds. I should mention that this town sells both creamy and chunky versions of mayonnaise. Just to make sure everyone is clear. 

Although Melon Journey gives the impression that it might be similar to Night in the Woods, it is actually more like an even more irreverent Earthbound. All of the characters have clever names, such your buddies Kitten Princess and her spouse Strong Dog (have a guess), who are both cat women and princesses, in keeping with their names. Your investigation in Hog Town introduces you to a wide variety of entertaining individuals, including the unfortunate loser of his pet ant Antony and the Cavity Crew, a potential gang of ne’er-do-wells. Melon Journey will be an awful torment for you if Undertale’s relentless stream of silly monsters got to you; the game throws a Lieutenant Hamlumbo in your lap and the blows don’t end there. The story’s few moments of inflection, such as when you consider your relationship with Cantaloupe or the fact that Kitten Princess eloped with Strong Dog, almost feel out of place. It’s difficult to determine the tone of the game because it is so irreverent at every turn. There are many sub-plots including siblings who have been arrested or parents who have gone missing. Despite this, there is no denying that the game is endearing. The game’s numerous plot beats made me smile several times, and the day-to-day activities of the people who live in Hog Town are genuinely enjoyable. As you go throughout the neighborhood, solving puzzles as you go, it’s difficult not to feel like a member of the community.

This complements how the game is presented. Despite the fact that melons are naturally green, Melon Journey’s monochromatic green interface and smaller on-screen display are reminiscent of the first Nintendo GameBoy. There are times when the game is obviously cheating with its aesthetics; some sound effects are blatantly manipulated voice samples that are much beyond the fidelity that a GameBoy could ever deliver. The game’s tiny 8-bit graphics are endearing and help sell the cast, make no mistake about that. However, far be it from me to criticize a game for having a realistic “meow” when a cat character in an animal-themed game misbehaves. The fact that Melon Journey is so straightforward—there are no mini-games—is a far bigger problem. About as near as you’ll ever get is when you have to enter a code into a mechanical cantaloupe (long tale).

For better or worse, Melon Journey is just one continuous fetch quest: travel here, talk to this NPC, find this person, and then mischief happens. Fortunately, the humor makes the voyage entertaining, and the game is brief enough to avoid wearing thin. You won’t really start to wonder if there’s more to it until the credits start to roll. Furthermore, it’s not as if there aren’t any items to discover off the beaten path: there are a number of side missions aimed at helping the Cavity Crew improve their quality of life. Some of them I didn’t even realize I was doing during my playing until I got a prompt saying I’d accomplished it. There is a hidden ending as well, which is probably connected to finishing all of the side missions.

Melon Journey is a short game, as was already said; my playing took only approximately five hours. Melon Journey would have felt uncomfortable continuing any further. Although I’ve been critical of the game, Melon Journey is a lovely and endearing adventure. Despite its gruff tone, it is a pretty enjoyable experience for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The game and its cast have a very real heart despite the constant assault of irreverence. Although I would have preferred greater clarity regarding Honeydew and Cantaloupe’s connection, it is nonetheless lovely to watch the extent they will go for one another. Like real melon drink, Melon Journey: Bittersweet recollections undoubtedly isn’t for everyone. However, those who do enjoy it will appreciate the game’s unique blend of sweet humor, character interaction, and bittersweet recollections.

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