Game Title: Blossom Tales – The Sleeping King
Developer: Castle Pixel
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 4.5 – 6 hours
Download: 390 MB
There is something that can be said about interest in games not just from gameplay and images, but by game artwork / Key Art. I bring this up because there is a game recently made for the Nintendo Switch that appeals to Zelda fans as it is a game that would be referred to as a “Zelda Clone”.
However, what peaked my interest was seeing the game’s artwork of a young girl in anime-style art holding up a sword, ready to strike down monsters. After seeing that, I got interested in this little game called Blossom Tales and now I have a review copy, ready to give my thoughts on this game.
Here is my review of Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King for the Nintendo Switch!
Blossom Tales is told like a Fairy Tale. Two young children are sitting with their Grandpa one night, asking to hear a story they have never heard before.
So, he tells them a tale about a young Knight named Lily. Upon being Knighted, the King is attacked by a Dark Wizard, eternally put to sleep. To help recover the King before the Dark Wizard’s armies take over the kingdom, she ventures out into the world to gather secret ingredients to brew a potion and wake him.
Story in this game is actually one of its most unique features. In Zelda games, you mostly don’t get much story as you travel the world and dungeons, but Lily’s adventures are told by not only the Grandpa from the intro but the two children as well. This also ties into one of the gameplay systems, where you can manipulate how some story events unfold, based on how the kids change up the adventure as it is being told to them.
Blossom Tales is what many people would call a “Zelda Clone”. In essence, it is a top-down action-adventure game made in the vein of the old SNES Zelda title, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. You have an explorable overworld, dungeons to go through, tools to find for puzzles, bosses to fight. Really, it’s a game made to mimic that style of game, similar to Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom for the PS Vita.
The main progression of the game is around exploring the world map, divided into large squares. When you start the game, you go through a tutorial dungeon and are sent to the first story dungeon, then the second, then the third, etc. Like A Link to the Past and many other Zelda games of that type, it’s all about exploration. Exploring the map to find paths that will lead you to your objective.
There are some more modern touches to help with the exploration. Your next objective is always highlighted on the map to show you where you’re going, and there are Teleport Pads littered all over the map, so you can easily teleport to previous locations instead of having to backtrack all the way there all over again.
The rest is basic Zelda formula. Find the dungeon, solve puzzles, get a new tool, use said tool to solve puzzles, fight boss and then find the next dungeon. Even the combat plays exactly like Zelda. Sword Slashes, Spinning Sword Attack from a chargeup. Tools like Bombs and the Boomerang are here and are used remarkably like they do in Zelda.
In fact, sometimes it feels a little too much like Zelda. Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom was, too, but atleast it did have a fair amount of combat-oriented skills that differed from Zelda titles. Here, not so much. It feels like there’s too much Zelda and not enough unique elements.
That’s not to say it isn’t unique, though. One unique thing that does make this game stand out is the Storytelling System. For many combat events, the story will have the two children arguing over what Lily is fighting and the game allows you to choose between different enemy types to spawn in the event and even some Boss Events let you choose what boss is there to fight and that is an extremely interesting gameplay mechanic.
One thing I also want to mention is length. When I was playing Blossom Tales, I felt I was progressing through the game rather quickly, covering 2 of the 3 main dungeons in less than 2 hours of game time. Turns out I was. If you stick to the main quest and don’t do all the side-quests, you can easily beat the game in around 5-6 hours. Very different from the game’s page on Steam with its projected 15 hours of gameplay. That 15 is more for 100% Completionists rather than more casual players just wanting to experience the game’s plot.
Controlling the game is pretty simple, and to make it even easier, the first dungeon teaches you the controls and your equipped items always have the buttons next to them that uses them, so you won’t forget and accidentally drop a bomb instead of launching an arrow with your Bow.
Since this is based on a Super Nintendo title, you don’t use a lot of the game’s buttons. All four triggers basically have no use in the game. You can move around with the Left Analog Stick or the Arrow Buttons / D-Pad. A is used for slashing with your sword, while X and B are used for your equipped items.
And that’s pretty much it. It’s an extremely simple control scheme.
Graphically, everything is set up like an SNES game. EVerything is 2D and sprite-based. The sprites are all smooth, but there’s intentional pixel lines for objects and whatnot. This was intentional and everything looks very polished. It’s really there to give that SNES Zelda feel.
Performance is all good, too. Load Times are maybe 2 seconds a piece and the frame-rate never drops. It really is optimized well, as it should for being a 2D SNES-style game.
Battery Life is one thing in this game that helps it shine. This is a 2D game and it is clear that the developers optimized it very well. Here are my Battery Times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 22 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 39 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 45 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 49 minutes
4-6 hours is a pretty nice Battery Range, so you’re gonna be able to play this game for a nice, long time on a single charge.
In conclusion, Blossom Tales is every bit the Zelda-like title that it tries to be. Although it tries a little too hard to be more Zelda than its own thing and is a pretty short adventure, it's a blast to dive into a Zelda-like game that lets you manipulate and change the story as you go.