When the Nintendo Switch was announced there was aloft of excitement garnered around it. Speculation of a new Zelda game made fans clamor with anticipation. With the release of Breath of the Wild Zelda fans received the game they never knew they wanted. The game was a masterpiece, a perfect 10! However, it wasn’t the traditional Zelda game that fans had grown accustomed to despite how amazing it is. Blossom Tales is here to fill that void. You may not play as everyone’s favorite silent protagonist but make no mistake his is a classic Zelda title through and through.
Rather than playing as the Hero of Time, players take control of Lilly a Knight of the Rose as she tries to gather ingredients for her King who has been put under a deep sleep by an evil Wizard. In typical underdog fashion Lilly is a newly inducted knight who is continually told that a new recruit shouldn’t be able to complete her quest. The story unfolds as a tale told by a grandfather to his grandchildren Lilly (surprise) and Chrys. Every time you continue your game, the grandfather gives a brief recap of where you left off which is an interesting delivery method and works very well for the game. During points throughout the game the grandfather will pop in through a text box to narrate, sometimes the kids will argue back and forth giving you a choice of how you will proceed or which type of enemy you will encounter. This mechanic is a nice little touch in an already charming games.
You’ll progress through the game by entering dungeons to defeat bosses while retrieving items that you can use on said dungeon boss. I can’t stress this enough that this is a true love letter to Zelda fans. The familiars are all here. During your journey you’ll find a bow, a boomerang, quake medallion, dash boots, a shovel and bombs. The only thing suspiciously absent is a hook shot but I guess I can’t have it all. Throughout the dungeons and caves you’ll find plenty of puzzles and some of these are just downright difficult. There were quite a few I had to Google and discovered that a true walk through doesn’t exist so I had to go back into it and figure it out myself. This may be part of what captures the essence of old school gaming. Before the days of internet and smartphones, we had to either go through word of mouth or find the solution on your own. While we’re on the subject of difficulty, some of the boss fights are just plain hard. It’s possible to beat them on the first try but you’ll use all your potions by the time it’s over, I’m looking at you Flame Guardian. I may suggest playing with your Switch docked as to avoid pegging it against a wall.
Difficulty aside developer Castle Pixel has crafted a beautiful 16 bit style world. The map is huge and all the familiar details are there. You cut away at blades of grass or break pots to reveal gold coins (sorry no rupees) and bomb rocks or cracks in the wall to reveal caves. You can pick up shrubs and fall into the holes they create to find hidden chest. They’ve really gone out of their way to make you feel like you’re traversing through Hyrule without infringing on Nintendo’s world. While it certainly takes a lot from A Link to the Past, I’d honestly say it feels more like spiritual successor to Link’s Awakening. It has all the Hallmark’s of a classic Zelda title but more of an on the go approach. Which works out perfectly for a system like the Switch, almost to the point that you forget it was released on Steam a year earlier.
For anyone who plays on PC or owns a Switch and misses old-school games I can’t recommend Blossom Tales enough. If you are a fan of the Zelda franchise then you definitely owe it to yourself to download this amazing title. I know I keep comparing it to Zelda, but honestly there isn’t any other comparison to make. Last year I reviewed Oceanhorn and recommended it for fans of old-school titles. I drew some similarities between Nintendo’s beloved franchise and that title but found it fell a little short of the classic. However Blossom Tales could have easily been developed as an offshoot of the series for say the DS and fit right in. The only negative thing I’d really have to say about Blossom Tales is that it falls a little on the short side with only having 4 dungeons; however, so does Breath of the Wild so take that as you will. The game is as long as you’ll make it through discovery and replayability. I see myself going back several times over the years.
9 out of 10. Amazing!