Every so often a video game will come around that reminds us all of the golden age growing up with our Gameboy and SNES games.
In modern games, to bring back such a feeling you have to capture exactly what made it memorable, the art, music and interface all combined together remind us of games like Link to the Past. Blossom Tales is a new spin on this type of nostalgia ride and hits high notes in a lot of places.
Lily is a knight of the rose in the Blossom Kingdom. Her story is told to us through exposition by the young girl Lily, her brother and her grandfather. On her first day of the job she is faced with a great quest to save the king. Within around 10 minutes of starting the player will be straight into the action, the control scheme is simple enough to understand early on so you can get going when ready. Like older games in time, Blossom uses 3 buttons for nearly all actions in the game, one each for the sword, shield and utility item. It feels like a game that could have come out in the 90’s and its colourful palate help to keep it up to date with our age. I found myself moving through the environments at quick paces while also being able to hunt down little challenges and collectables on the way. I’m sure that if you play as an adventurer you will be able to uncover plenty secrets in the colourful landscape.
One quick trip to the steam hub for blossoms revealed to me, that people love to relate this game to Link to the Past, blatantly saying that the developers (Castle Pixel) have copied it and rehashed it onto steam. While I don’t see harm in calling out copies I don’t think Blossom tales is that. Castle Pixel have taken inspiration from the games they love and have brought in modern game design to a beloved time of gaming. I wholeheartedly believe that CP have done an excellent job at combining the different eras. Blossom Tales takes a more aggressive nature with attacks taking place more often than puzzle solving. The dialogue brought in by the characters are all very charming and help keep a light, colourful tone to the game.
The way the events are described to us through Lily and her grandfather feels like a story within itself. Almost as if the grandfather is taking influence from his favourite Zelda game to tell a story to Lily. It feels symbolic in the sense that we experience these adventures growing up and we can tell them in our own way to our children. The child will always have an influence of modern times but they can still explore what made the past so much fun. There are even moments where the player has a choice in the dialogue, the two children argue about what happens next in the story only to be corrected by the player, you decide if Lily faces a Pirate Queen or a Bandit Ninja.
Getting onto gameplay, the puzzles and dungeons that you face give you a sense of accomplishment, they can be easy if you time your movements and attacks accurately, but it won’t be afraid to punish you for being a step out of place. I’m going to try stick to the early segments of the game to keep you interested in the rest to come. The first dungeon is surprisingly very large and will have you traversing through a multitude of different areas with increasing difficulty. In the same dungeon, you’ll find yourself using all your tools to interact with the puzzles in different ways, you’ll even pick up a bow and encounter new puzzles to go with that.
In a few closing words I must say Blossom Tales is a quirky adventure full of colour and charm. If I had to nit-pick and talk about what I didn’t like then it would be along the lines of bomb collision with enemies not working the way I’d expect them to, you’d have to be accurate as heck and hope the bomb explodes on impact otherwise it will sit there for a while and enemies can walk past and through with no issues, I noticed this more on a dragon fight during the first dungeon. But as I say this is more of a personal thing I noticed and perhaps you may too. The game works and plays fair and requires that you know how to solve a puzzle or work out a weak spot without help. You can see a lot of work has gone into Blossom Tales and the characters and pixels will take you back in time for a fun time. It teaches that you shouldn’t judge every SNES looking game as a Zelda rip off and appreciate everything for what it likes to do differently.
A fun adventure that I thoroughly enjoyed to listen and play through.