Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King
Gameplay - 8.4
Graphics - 8.7
Music - 7.4
A pixelated treat to anyone who loves older games!
Today, we will be reviewing the very Zelda-esque Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King.
In a lot of ways, games on the Super Nintendo set the standard for what Action RPG's were to become. Games like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and of course Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It seems like Blossom Tales takes an awful lot of inspiration from the latter of this list.
Blossom Tales is, if you haven't gathered it yet, and Action RPG. It has dungeons, towns, items to collect, and a 2D top down perspective. Sounds like Zelda, right? Well, that's not a necessarily bad thing though. Blossom Tales also has a few things and modern conveniences that makes it an overall great experience.
Blossom Tales starts out like a story book.
Blossom Tales starts out much like the movie, The Princess Bride. It starts out with a Grandpa telling the story of the hero Lily to his grandchildren. You play out the events of the story much in the way of the movie. I am going to stay pretty light on the story here, but here is the official synopsis from FDG:
"A delightful mix of "Zelda" and "Princess Bride", Blossom Tales' narrative will unfold in the form of a fable being passed down from grandfather to grandchildren. Unable to resist their adorable plea, the old storyteller weaves a tale in which Lily, a heroic girl becomes one of the esteemed Knights of the Rose. However, that same day the evil wizard Crocus places the King into an everlasting sleep with one of his dreaded spells, forcing Lily to go on a grand quest in search of a remedy. Drawing inspiration from the beloved top-down adventure games we grew up with, Blossom Tales is a refreshing combination of classic Action-RPG gameplay and modern design. Players can expect a one-of-a-kind experience as they explore hand-crafted dungeons. The young Lily and her brother Chrys will also keep players on their toes by occasionally introducing enemies, story events, and more as they help their Grandpa tell the tale. Featuring a vibrant world to get lost in, challenging quests to complete, and memorable characters to meet, our hope is for players to feel as though they've been transported back to the glorious days when pixelated visuals and chiptune music captivated us for hours on end."
As stated before, Blossom Tales is an Action RPG much like Zelda. You have a sword, shield, and various items that help you solve the puzzles in front of you. This isn't a new formula, but it is done very right in this game. If Lily attacks three times in succession, you do a sword combo and it is super satisfying. Lily controls really well and it is a great refinement of the older games. Puzzles range from your simple "push the block" puzzle to the more advanced Simon-like puzzles. The puzzles and gameplay are where this game really shines.
Items usage is handles in a way more like A Link Between Worlds in that the game uses a meter to limit the use of special items like bombs. I like this system because it solves the problem of not having needed bombs for a puzzle or opening of a secret door. It is a modern convince that really helps the flow of the game.
Blossom Tales' overworld and dungeons are full of secrets and things to interact with. I was always finding a new enemy to fight or a secret wall to break for a new secret.
The game does a great job at teaching you gameplay mechanics without getting too preachy with the tutorials. Organic teaching of mechanics is the best way to design a game, and Blossom Tales mostly does it great. What tutorials there are, are presented in a unique way with the storytelling element.
Blossom Tales features some absolutely beautiful artwork. The game is full of well designed pixelated art. Castle Pixel completely nailed "Game Feel" with this one. There are cool camera effects, particle effects, and beautiful areas to explore. The game is super pretty and it really sets you in the game world. Games like this are the reason that 2D games are still popular. I really don't know why this artwork wasn't shown more in the promotional artwork. I feel like art this good would totally draw people in!
Everything has a visual queue and a particle effect to let you know something happened. This game was built with some love and care, and it really shows! Overall, the Blossom Tales is beautiful. Check out the screenshots in the article for proof!
In conclusion, Blossom Tales is an awesome indie game that delivers a very satisfying experience. Much like games such as Shovel Knight, it takes everything that makes retro games good and improves on them. It uses just the right modern conveniences to deliver an experience that feels both nostalgic and still new. Blossom Tales is one of the best Action RPG's I have played in a very long time. It does a lot right that other ones can't quite figure out.
But, which version do you recommend?
I personally have the game on Steam, but it is also available for Nintendo Switch. Having played my friend's Switch copy, I would honestly recommend that. The game plays the same on both platforms, so the Switch version's portability makes it the best version in my opinion. Pick it up on whatever platform you have though!
The game retails for $14.99 and offers 15 hours of gameplay as well as 3 save slots so, there is some replay to be had as well. I totally recommend this game to anyone who likes Zelda, Retro game, or just looking for something light hearted and fun to play. I personally loved the game and can't wait to see what these guys have cooking up next.