Title: Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince
Developer: Castle Pixel LLC
Publisher: Playtonic Friends
Release Date: August 16th
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch (Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch)
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of my favorite games of all time. I have vivid memories of my first time experiencing it; in a hotel room far from home, sitting there in the dark as my grandparents slept in the bed across the room getting lost while staring into the TV. Travelling Hyrule and exploring it’s vast dungeons, caverns and forests. There are days when I can still feel myself back in that very spot, and it is one of my favorite gaming memories, of a simpler time and a phenomenal game.
So when a title comes along that echoes that playstyle, but injects its own brand of humor and whimsy to it, I knew I had to check it out! Enter Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince!
The Babe With The Power
So there’s an interesting twist with the story, which is told via flashback by an old man. It surrounds a warrior named Lily, who lives out her days with her brother on a lovely little island. However, during the Minotaur Fair, Lily’s brother is a jerk, and she wishes for the Minotaur King (an ancient evil that the festival is celebrating his banishment) to take him away. To everyone’s surprise, he actually does, and Lily must now journey across the land to defeat the King she accidentally summoned and get him back. It’s basically Labyrinth, without the Bowie, and some “lemon of Zelda” zest.
Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince borrows quite a bit from the book of Nintendo classics, but with a charmingly unique flair to each of the quirky characters you come across and the dungeons you explore. The game’s chocked full of fun puzzles and even some combat that will keep you on your toes. Lily proves quite capable in combat, and some of the items feel great to use against baddies, although it never reaches the complexity of some of its source materials explorative elements or environmental combat design.
A Rose By Any Other Name…
While it does pay loving tribute to the Zelda games of old with many characters and enemies exhibiting a lively bounce to them and screens that occasionally burst with color, Blossom Tales never really goes beyond looking just ok. With many recent indie games pushing pixel graphics to their utmost limits, Blossom Tales II feels very “safe” and in doing so feels underwhelming at times. I just wish the soundtrack had a bit more imagination. Not that it’s terrible, really, but it lacks that certain oomph that keeps you involved with battles or exploring the countryside. No track is particularly memorable, and you won’t find yourself humming these while sitting in traffic like the old ocarina melodies of elf boy.
While Blossom Tales II could’ve benefited from a more original story and perhaps some touch-ups with presentation, it’s not bad in the least. For a modest $15 price tag, you get a solid adventure filled with hours of gameplay, some humorous moments, and enjoyable dungeons to knock out. It may not stay with you as long as say, A Link to the Past, but if you loved the first Blossom Tales or just need a new indie flower to add to your garden, I hear that Blossom tales bloom beautifully this time of year.
Photo sources from Playtonic games
Josh Barnickel is a co-host of the EXPCast: A Video Game Podcast that is part of the Boss Rush Network. Besides his roles on the podcast he runs fighting game tournaments two times a week featuring Tekken 7, Smash Bros, Street Fighter V, and Guilty Gear Strive. He challenges anyone to take him on in Tekken 7. Follow him on Magik4FGC on Twitter.