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Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King review

Blossom Tales The Sleeping King
I missed this when it came out on PC, but the Switch release seemed like a good time to check it out. The Zelda-style of the gameplay seemed pretty interesting, and the few reviews I could find were fairly positive.

So for a quick review let’s check it out!

Developer: Castle Pixel, LLC
Publisher: FDG Entertainment
Date of Release: December 21st 2017
Platform: Switch, PC (Switch version review)
Genre: Action Adventure

Rated E10+ for Everyone over 10

Presentation

TBlossom Tales features “8-bit” pixel graphics. It’s pretty generic, the characters kinda lack personality and even originality, but it still manages to look really good. The effort went more towards environment and enemy design over the fairly square human characters and NPCs, and on that end I have almost no complaints. There’s some cool enemies, and the areas are very varied. There’s some interesting things here. It’s colorful, and the graphics never get in the way of the gameplay… Despite the fairly generic characters and NPCs, I’d say this is a very pretty game.

The music… I don’t remember any of it… sorry. It clearly wasn’t annoying so I assume it was pretty good. Eh. On the sound side it’s pretty solid, there’s lots of audio feedback for all the different things you can do and it all makes sense. It complements the action and graphics fine.

The story is really interesting. The story itself is very simple, it’s a warrior finding several magical items to end up fighting an evil wizard, but it’s told in a very interesting way. The game starts out with kids asking their grandpa to tell them a story, and the story he ends up telling is the story of Lily, on her way to become a knight. The evil wizard puts the king to sleep, so you must find special items to wake the king up and be able to go to fight the wizard. What’s interesting about the story is that the kids and grandpa kinda interject during story events or even non-story events like finding a cave with treasure. You might get to a treasure chest but then one of the kids complains that it was too easy to get then the grandpa changes things and claims it’s defended by monsters that you actually have to fight. Sometimes you get to an area and the kids are arguing about what Lily should be fighting, which gives you the choice. It’s really cool how they do it. The story isn’t anything amazing, but it’s conveyed in a fun way.

Gameplay

So this is a top-down action adventure game, much like the Zeldas of old. Lily controls much like Link did in Link to the Past. Walks around in 8 directions, swings a sword (she can move around a little bit during slashes which is different from Link), can charge the sword for a spin attack, can use items such as bombs and a bow.

The game flow is very straightforward. The map will show you where you need to go, then you have to figure out how to get there, rinse and repeat. Different areas of the game are locked behind the use of specific items, which you may find on the way, or find in dungeons.

The dungeons are a series of room, which usually lead to a miniboss, then the second half of the dungeon and the final boss. Beating the final boss gives you an item you need to wake up the king, and teleports you back to the castle, where you’re given your next objective. Most segments of the dungeons are puzzles, or sets of puzzles, that will eventually open the gate to the next segment. There’s lots of fairly classic style of puzzles you may have seen in other games. There’s block-pushing like in Sokoban, there’s sliding on ice to get to a destination like in countless games, there’s walking in a grid where you need to touch all the tiles without touching any of them twice (I remember Lufia 2 having some of those, Link’s Awakening had something similar too, and several other games) and a few other things. The dungeons are pretty fun, I do enjoy the bosses even if they tend to boil down to throwing a whole lot of bombs.

The combat is fairly simple. You have a sword button and a few item buttons. Items aren’t consumables like in most Zeldas though, instead they deplete a magic bar (like in Link Between Worlds). Said bar recovers fairly fast. Though it makes it seem like you’ll be using the sword a lot for combat, throwing bombs around does tend to be more effective. Also if you press the sword again during a spin attack you can do a jump attack which does decent damage (sadly it doesn’t could as jumping).

Outside of dungeons and combat there’s a world to explore. You can find money in grass and bushes, rocks and walls that can be blown up to reveal caves, NPCs that give sidequests (mostly “find X number of whatever thing” kinda stuff)… It’s all pretty fun to explore and find things.

Overall

Blossom Tales is consistently compared to Zelda and that is a pretty obvious observation. It kinda does what Link to the Past did, with different gameplay design and very different dungeon design. It’s not quite as good as any 2D Zelda game, but it’s still a pretty fun game. It has cool puzzles, it has fun combat, interesting items (you can freaking summon bees!), a fun story… it’s just a bit on the short side, but that’s fine by me.

I’d say it’s worth checking out. Some people might want to wait for a sale.

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