Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King is an admirable and fun action adventure that borrows many of its elements from the 2D Zelda titles. In fact ‘borrows’ might be a slight understatement as the game replicates the structure of A Link to the Past in every respect apart from lacking the same amount of dungeons. This isn’t a negative, in fact, the whimsical way that the developers have created the world in the style of Zelda is one of its biggest strengths.
The game opens with two kids waking their sleepy grandpa in order for him to tell them a story. Using this convention to frame the game is actually a really neat idea and it works well for the player. Sometimes the narrator and his young listeners interact with the game and it adds a different and quite cute dimension to the game play.
You take on the role of Lilly, a trainee knight in the service of the King. But, as in most fairy tales, the world soon comes under threat from a dark wizard; Crocus who puts the King to sleep. A raw recruit, anxious to make a good impression, you are given the the task of collecting the three orchids that will wake the King from his slumber and restore peace to the world. The story is simple but full of charm and there are some weird, yet interesting characters that exist in the world.
Better than 16 bit?
In terms of graphics the game is top down and kind of in between 8 and 16 bit. However, there are graphical effects used that neither the NES nor SNES could handle. The colours really ‘pop’ and the sprite work in general is top quality. One criticism I do have is that the main character seems a bit bland in terms of art. I think it would have been cool if, as you progressed, or collected armour the visuals of your character changed. Combat is fluid, although there are a few narrow pathways in dungeons where a d-pad would have really come in handy.
Dungeons vs. Overworld?
The game has four or five dungeons (depending if you count an early mini dungeon) and each are filled with both puzzles and enemies. The puzzles aren’t as complex as in Zelda games and are on the easy side but it’s still satisfying when you push that last block into place. The three main weapons I found myself using were the sword (obviously), bombs and the bow. So perhaps better weapon variety would have been good. The structure in all of the dungeons is; first half of the dungeon, mini boss, item, second half of the dungeon, boss.
The overworld is full of secrets to find and characters to talk to as well as collectibles. One thing I noticed is that when I finished the main quest there were still three or four item slots that could be filled which shows the game is full of side quests and there’s a lot to do apart from the main story. The game took me around 9 hours to finish the main story and I will go back to see what other secrets the game has.
Of all the Zelda ‘clones’ I’ve played Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King is probably the best and definitely the most charming. The graphics are crisp and the overworld is full of secrets. The only disadvantage I can think of is that the game would have benefited from more tactile controls and maybe more weapon variety. Great game 9/10.