Imagine you’re a Game Boy Color owner in 2001. By the end of the year, you’ve already powered through the two Legend of Zelda titles – Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. They are amazing 2D experiences. Games of the Year. Games of the Decade, perhaps. Revolutionary. And then, out of nowhere, someone tells you that there’s a game that feels like that Zelda spinoff you’ve never heard of and it’s coming in mere months. Intrigue would be at an all-time high, right?
Well, that’s what Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King sort of feels like. A Zelda spinoff you’ve never heard of. And while that might read like obnoxiously high praise for a game that was released on Steam nearly a year ago (and has since flown completely under the radar), it’s not all that hyperbolic. Blossom Tales is an overhead view, action-adventure title that takes a ton of good elements from old games like Zelda and it implements them really well in 2018. No, this isn’t going to have Nintendo, Capcom, Rare or Sega fingerprints all over it. It’s perhaps not that polished. But it’s clean, looks great and feels very much at home on a Nintendo console.
You star as Lily, Knight of the Rose, and you journey out on a quest to defeat an evil wizard who has cursed the king and put him to sleep. Along the way, you will slash your way through some monster-filled dungeons, collect weapons and spells and solve some puzzles. And while saving the Kingdom of Blossom is where all the action is, it’s not actually the best part of the story.
Blossom Tales is really a fun story belonging to an old man who sits ’round a fire with his two grandkids and tells them all about Lily’s adventuring. The more you play the game, the more you’ll see exchanges from grandfather to grandkids in the upper portion of the screen. The narrative is sweet and charming with an element of humor that I’d like to see more in titles like this. There’s some hearty back and forth dialogue about which monsters Lily actually fights. Grandfather can’t always recall everything he’d like and the two little ones find solace in arguing about the possibilities. It’s an exceptionally well-done part of the game.
The other well-done part of Blossom Tales that deserves due praise are the puzzles. There are five dungeons and the puzzles set about in these places are quite challenging. I feel like I’ve been playing a lot of challenging puzzlers of late that either drive me mad with the difficulty level or make it so I’m not having any fun. I’m happy to report these puzzles in Blossom Tales are fun. You’ll do a silent, little fist pump when you complete them. You’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll want to go get in some more trouble. And then you’ll be interrupted by another adorable exchange between old man and young persons and you’ll forget how damn hard those puzzles even were. Lather, rinse, happily repeat
Interaction between grandfather and grandkids
Puzzles are challenging and rewarding
Honestly, I’m blanking here
Perhaps a little too “Zelda clone-ish”
But is that really a bad thing?
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King isn’t going to win Game of the Year in 2018. But boy, does it feel like it would have had a real shot in 2002. There’s depth here. Great characters. Engaging dialogue. And it’s fun! Oh, is it fun. There are a ton of titles on the Switch eShop that are worthy of your time but if you were on a road trip or flying across the country and needed to kill 12 hours, this is the eShop title you should be playing. When you need a break from traversing New Donk City or trying to figure out the newest recipes in Breath of the Wild, Blossom Tales has you covered. It hits all the right nostalgic feels and it makes you smile. What more do you want?
You can currently find the game on the Switch eShop for a paltry $14.99.
Grandpa’s special, homemade chili. All those yummy, nostalgic vibes. Omnomnom.
Review code provided by Castle Pixel LLC and FDG Entertainment.