Another day, another 2D pixel art beauty I find myself reviewing. This time, it’s Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King, which came out a few years ago but that I’ve just finished and really wanted to talk about.
Created by Castle Pixel and published by FDG Entertainment, Blossom Tales is a very obviously Zelda-inspired action-adventure, dungeon-crawler RPG type experience with some bullet-hell style segments. The game begins with an old man telling a bedtime story to his grandchildren, and this story is the adventure that you navigate.
As Lily, a Knight of the Rose in the Kingdom of Blossom, you must fight against the forces of evil and save the day by killing monsters, solving puzzles and navigating a fairly sized open world. You’ll be set upon a quest to wake the Sleeping King, who has been sent into an eternal slumber by his evil brother.
On occasions, you’ll be asked to make small decisions that change what enemies you’ll face along the way, emphasising rather sweetly that this is in fact a story, and one being influenced by the two young children hearing it. Whenever you die in-game, the children will reprimand the old man, crying out ‘that can’t be how it ends!’ and ‘you can’t trick us that easily!’, which is a really cute touch.
Gameplay wise, Blossom Tales is really fun, and gets more and more so as you unlock new weapons as the game progresses, including AOE style lightning attacks which are so cool to use and made me feel a bit like Thor. Some of the weapons must be used for certain types of puzzles, which are fairly diverse so you won’t get too sick of doing the same things over and over again.
The game also has a fast travel system, which for me is a real mercy because I’m good at getting lost, but there’s also plenty of opportunity to explore between quests. You’ll find treasure that can be used to buy upgrades, and there are mini side quests and games that can help you to unlock new goodies along the way. Without these, the game might clock in at around 10 hours, but you can easily get a few more hours out of it with more exploration, and completing these optional extras.
The graphics are a real highlight of the game. The environments are gorgeous, colourful, atmospheric and diverse, from snowy, twinkling mountaintops to dank spooky swamps, and the enemy designs are super creative and fun with their own powers and quirks. The golem boss was my favourite design-wise, but there are treats for the eyes absolutely everywhere. In particular I loved some of the lighting effects, with lasers, fire and lightning being so wonderful and striking to take in. Boss fights bring out some of the most gorgeous effects in this way, and I genuinely didn’t mind doing them again because they were both fun to do and look at.
The soundtrack, by the talented Visager, is also super catchy with some gorgeous retro inspired chiptune tracks that reminded me a lot of Pokémon games. The one you hear on the title screen of the game is particularly good, and you can listen to it on Visager’s Youtube channel here.
Equally, I loved that, however little a part of the game it actually was, the hero of the story is a girl who is constantly doubted, but ends up being the saviour of the entire realm. It doesn’t make too much of a difference to the actual story but it was really refreshing to me nonetheless.
It’s not a groundbreaking game in any way; it’s not reinventing the wheel as it were. But Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King is a wholesome and fun experience that is wonderful value for money and perfect for the Zelda fan in your life. It’s available for Nintendo Switch and PC, through the Nintendo eShop and Steam. At £13.49 on Switch and £10.99 on Steam, this is a real steal and one worth adding to your collection. It also seems to frequently go on sale, so keep an eye out!