They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and nothing has been truer for Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King. The game is a top-down adventure which takes inspiration from classic Legend of Zelda games, and with more similarity to A Link to the Past than other classic Zelda titles. It could be easily dismissed, but what this does provide is a simplistic Zelda-like experience with well-made tile sets and graphics, as well as offering hours upon hours of exploration within the region of the Blossom Kingdom.
Blossom Tales starts when the heroine Lily and her sister Chrys are complaining that their Grandpa is telling a story that they have heard one too many times. Taking this to heart, Grandpa instead tells us the story of a King that has been cursed into a deep sleep by his evil brother Crocus. Grandpa explains to the unlikely heroine Lily that the only thing that will wake the King is a concoction made from three rare ingredients found from across the Kingdom of Blossom. Grandpa serves as the narrator throughout the game, which is a really nice touch.
The game places an emphasis on exploration and solving clever puzzles in a well-paced manner in order to find the ingredients needed to wake the King. Blossom Tales also features classic-style dungeons which become increasingly more difficult as you progress. The wide variety of areas are beautifully designed and provide enough of a challenge to kill some time, whether you’re doing the objective, finding collectibles or simply killing tricky dungeon bosses.
You’ll earn some rather familiar items as you progress through the game’s dungeons, with the game sticking to the tried and tested formula of the Zelda games. Bow and arrow, swords, bombs and boomerangs all make an appearance and help in solving some intricate puzzles or killing large dungeon bosses.
There could have been room for more originality for Lily’s weapons, but there are a few new powers you can obtain, such as the ability to burn things around Lily, a powerful stomp attack and many more. However, most of these don’t feel as effective as some of the Zelda-inspired weapons. There’s also a small issue in that the sword can’t be assigned to other buttons, which is good for intuitive play, but bad for wanting to combine different attacks and abilities.
Blossom Tales features an objective log allowing you to read up on things you may have missed, both in dialogue and in completing your objectives. I found this to be particularly useful for finding where things were around the relatively large world map.
The game takes roughly 9 – 12 hours to complete and you’ll spend most of your time finding collectibles, storming through dungeons and engaging in challenging boss battles. The world itself is well-designed and varied, so you won’t find yourself fatigued of the visuals – well, unless you’re bored to tears of pixel art, that is – or the music for that matter.
The game’s soundtrack feels authentic and provides the game with an additional burst of originality, alongside its custom tile sets and graphics. This allows the game to have its own identity to some degree, but it’s overshadowed by using far too familiar mechanics and design decisions from Zelda.
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King is another indie game which feels right at home on Nintendo’s platform, despite also being available on Steam. The game will appeal to those looking for a bit of classic dungeon crawling, and it will be sure to please those that have missed top-down Zelda adventures. With a lovely kingdom to explore and a varied range of objectives, Blossom Tales shows us that this genre is still very much alive.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch