A Link To The Past with a new feeling to it!
2017 is almost over and you know what they say, “imitation is the best form of flattery.” The Legend of Zelda series took home the game of the of year this year with Breath of the Wild and what better way to pay homage to the Zelda franchise than by showing off another Zelda style game for the Nintendo Switch. I use the term “Zelda Style” loosely because it instead of the Breath of the Wild style, it plays more like the Super Nintendo game, A Link To The Past. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King will remind you of A Link To The Past the minute you start your adventure in the land of Blossom as Lilly, a knight of the Rose in training. I was able to play the Steam version at Pax East this year and was pleased with what I saw but now it’s the Nintendo Switch’s turn!
Like in a Link To The Past, you wake up in your house and you’re told to make your way to the castle. Unlike in ALttP, it isn’t to save your relative; it’s for your Knighting ceremony so you can become a Knight of the Rose. However, upon arrival, the King’s evil brother causes trouble and puts him into a deep sleep, a la “the sleeping king” from the title of the game.
There are a lot of nods to the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past in Blossom Tales and one could start with the graphics. Camera angle is overhead/downward and the character design gives off that LOZ feel. While playing you will reference the map quite a bit and that looks like the SNES version of Hyrule too. Lilly has a similar move set and items compared to Link but there are slight differences too. You have a shield and sword to fight enemies along the journey but the controls feel more like the Game Boy LOZ games. What I mean by that is you need to hold up your shield and switch on/off different items.
The control layout isn’t that great and could be done better like taking advantage of all the Switch controls or being able to use the touch screen for certain things. You also have bombs and bow/arrows to use just like in LOZ games but like in Game Boy Zelda games, there are lots of collectibles too. While exploring, you will be hunting for scrolls to add to your magical powers, stamina green orbs so you can use more items because items use stamina, similar to modern Zelda games like Skyward Sword.
There are heart pieces to locate in the world and these could be anywhere like in caves or buried underground. You’ll also be able to upgrade your weapons at the Blacksmith or purchase items at shops that you’ll need for battle. The shops in various towns will also have items that you’ll need for upgrades like certain metals that you’ll bring to the blacksmith. The enemies of the world will also have items that you’ll need to collect like mushrooms and feathers and if you collect these items, you’ll have to bring them to the kitchen in the castle or again the blacksmith for items and upgrades.
With all the items and weapons at your disposal in the game, a drop-down menu like in ALttP would have been perfect rather than a pause screen that stops the action every few moments. Bombs work a little differently than how they work in the older Zelda games. You can put them down and then throw them and you’ll need to when you’re trying to destroy bigger, stronger enemies. The issue I had with the bombs at times was when I tried to use them I put one down and it went off right away. I’m supposed to have time to walk next to it and throw it and some of the time I did and sometime, I didn’t.
The game also has that "Super Mario Brothers 2” feeling to it as well because at the start you’re asking your grandpa to tell you a story and the adventure of the Sleeping King is the tale you receive. I go with the SMB 2 comparison because most people know that Super Mario 2 was a dream and since this adventure is being told by the Grandfather via story, a story and dream are viable comparisons.
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King is a challenging homage to the Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past and at the end of 2017, I don’t know what better way to pay homage to the Zelda franchise. The graphics and music fit the game perfectly and the writing feels like a Grandfather is telling the tale to his grandchildren. (That’s exactly what it is) The controls have their issues but don’t deter from the overall gameplay and it’s these reasons that I’m giving Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King for the Nintendo Switch an 8.5/10. I would like to thank FDG Entertainment/Castle Pixel for the review code.