Game Reviews

The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria

The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria

Rating: TBA/10

The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria offers an immersive survival experience in the beloved Middle-earth setting. The game successfully captures the essence of survival gameplay, with resource gathering and equipment upgrading as its core mechanics. However, it faces challenges in its building mechanics, which can feel restrictive and less user-friendly, hampering creative freedom.

Reviewed By:

Arun Shrivastav – Gaming Author & Reviewer



Windows, PlayStation

Release Date:

October 24, 2023


Free Range Games


North Beach Games

Supported Languages:

French, Italian, English, German, Spanish (Spain), Chinese (simplified), Portuguese (Brazil)

Official Site:

Welcome to our comprehensive review of The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria, a survival game set in the iconic fantasy world of Middle-earth. In this review, we will delve into the gameplay mechanics, story, combat, building, exploration, and performance of the game.

While Return to Moria does have its strengths, it also falls short in certain aspects compared to other survival games. Let’s dive in and explore what this game has to offer.

Gameplay Mechanics

Return to Moria follows the familiar mechanics of survival games. As you progress through the game, you’ll engage in base-building activities, gather resources, craft items and equipment, and engage in combat with enemies like goblins and orcs.

The progression loop is centered around gathering more resources to improve your gear and upgrade your base. While not groundbreaking, this loop can be entertaining as you aim for better equipment to overcome challenges.

However, one area where Return to Moria falls short is its building mechanics. Although you can set up a base almost anywhere, the game restricts you by providing preset campsites that are more advantageous to use.

The building options can also be frustratingly finicky at times, making it difficult to create settlements according to your own preferences. This limitation detracts from the creative aspect that is typically a highlight in survival games.

Story and Fan Service

Return to Moria’s story takes place after the fall of Sauron during Middle-earth’s Fourth Age – an era that hasn’t been explored much in the canon. The plot revolves around Gimli calling all dwarf factions back to Moria to reclaim it from goblins and orcs.

While the story provides a backdrop for your journey through the dark corridors of Moria, it mostly serves as an excuse to reference events from The Fellowship of the Ring. This fan service can be enjoyable for Lord of the Rings fans, but it doesn’t significantly contribute to the overall gameplay experience.

Combat and Enemy AI

Combat in Return to Moria can be repetitive and dull. The limited variety of weapons and similar enemy behaviors result in a monotonous combat experience. The enemy AI is poorly designed, with enemies often getting stuck on surroundings or repeating the same attacks. While this lackluster combat isn’t particularly difficult, it can feel dragged out due to large health bars and continuous respawning of enemies. 

Additionally, the constant screaming of enemies throughout the game can become annoying after prolonged gameplay sessions. Return to Moria also restricts mining opportunities and exploration by putting up hard barriers and limiting digging options. This limitation prevents players from fully immersing themselves in the mining aspect of the game.

Exploration and Mining

Return to Moria’s exploration mechanics are hindered by limitations on mining and digging. Unlike other survival games like No Man’s Sky or Ark, which offer open exploration and creative possibilities, Return to Moria limits mining to small deposits found on the sides of mine halls.

Players are unable to dig through obstacles freely, further limiting their ability to fully explore and interact with the environment.

Despite these limitations, the areas you encounter during your journey through Moria have distinct personalities. From the Elven Quarter filled with beauty to depths covered in glowing mushrooms, each area feels like a proper Lord of the Rings adventure.

However, while these areas add some uniqueness to the game, they don’t stand out as particularly impressive compared to other survival games.

Performance Issues

One major drawback in Return to Moria is its consistently poor performance. Bugs such as disappearing items, unstable framerates, abnormally long loading times, and areas failing to load properly can significantly impact the gameplay experience.

These performance issues are especially noticeable when playing with multiple players in a world, leading to even worse performance for guest players. The technical shortcomings of the game detract from an otherwise enjoyable gameplay experience.

Multiplayer Experience

Return to Moria offers a multiplayer experience that is best enjoyed among friends. Playing with friends can make combat encounters more chaotic and provide assistance in resource management and combat. However, it’s important to note that adding more players can also lead to increased performance issues.

System Requirements

Final Verdict

While The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria has elements that can be entertaining, it falls short compared to other survival games available on the market. The repetitive combat, frustrating building mechanics, limited exploration options, and poor performance hinder the overall experience. There are better options available for those seeking an immersive survival game set in Middle-earth.

About the Author:​

Arun Shrivastav Profile Picture
Arun Shrivastav
Gaming Author & Reviewer
All Articles | Full Profile

Arun has been playing since 2004 and enjoys every genre of live video games. His most played games are Call of Duty, Dota 2, World of Warcraft, Path of Exile, and Dark Soul Series. He has played on Xbox, PS3, Nintendo DS, iOS and Facebook platforms.

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