A couple weeks ago at PAX South, I had the opportunity to spend around an hour with the developers at FDG Entertainment to play two of the games they were showing at the event. The first was Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, but most of my time was spent playing Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King.
Like Oceanhorn, Blossom Tales is clearly inspired by The Legend of Zelda, but Blossom Tales is a purely 2D adventure that is reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past instead of the 3D adventures that inspired Oceanhorn.
My time with the game was spent exploring the entirety of a single dungeon; it was a massive dungeon.
I began the dungeon with a sword, some healing items, and bombs. The dungeon didn’t waste any time throwing me into the fray. There is a clear emphasis on combat. I was often locked in a room and forced to fight several enemies before continuing. Fortunately, the items I had were more useful than I expected. The sword can be charged for a spin attack, but you can also perform a jump attack. Bombs and other inventory items are limited only by a stamina meter, so I was able to throw a lot of bombs to defeat enemies. Some enemies were easier to kill with bombs or only vulnerable to them.
It wasn’t long before I encountered a mini-boss, a stone golem enemy. I threw a lot of bombs to defeat him and continued on until I found the dungeon boss: a green dragon. The dragon was similar to other boss battles I’ve played through in other video games, so I quickly dispatched him…and then I found a treasure chest containing a bow and arrow. The “boss” I had just fought was actually the mini-boss, and the stone golem was just a normal enemy. That’s the moment I realized just how large the dungeon really was. It felt like it was the size of two Zelda dungeons in one.
While the emphasis was clearly on combat, the dungeon did have a nice variety of puzzles as well. Often, the puzzles were simple: I completed multiple puzzles that required walking on every floor tile only a single time (a classic of 2D adventure games seen many times in Zelda). There were a couple puzzles that required checking the environment for symbols to place in a specific order.
There were other puzzles that seemed a bit overwhelming. It sometimes felt like something pulled out of a Mario Maker level (which you could either consider a good thing or a bad thing). There was one room where I had to shoot arrows through flames to light torches one at a time while killing enemies. I also had to keep moving because the floor tiles disappeared beneath me and there were rotating ball and chains. Ultimately, the room was fun, and that’s probably what matters most. It just felt like a lot to put in one room.
When I finally completed the dungeon, after defeating the real boss, I walked away very excited to play more. Blossom Tales looks and feels like a 2D adventure game straight out of the Super Nintendo era.
Blossom Tales is scheduled for release on PC in the first quarter of 2017.