Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch) Review

Hitting the right notes.

For those of us still patiently waiting on the Virtual Console to appear on Nintendo’s new handheld hybrid, Blossom Tales takes full advantage of our nostalgia. This top-down adventure game borrows heavily from Nintendo’s green-tunic-wearing friend while delivering a journey worth taking. Blossom Tales doesn’t hide its inspirations. This game looks and feels like the true homage to Link to the Past, and it never felt like a knock on the game to say so.

Blossom Tales follows the adventure of Lily, an Orchid Knight on a quest to awaken the sleeping King (hence the subtitle.) Her adventure follows the familiar formula of exploring the overworld, venturing into dungeons, and finding plenty of new tools and abilities along the way. Her health is represented as hearts, which can be expanded upon by (wait for it) heart pieces. All of her abilities are tied to a magic meter that slowly regenerates over time. The game even borrows from the more recent Link Between Worlds.

MSRP: $14.99
Platforms: Switch (reviewed), PC
Price I’d Pay: $14.99

While it wears its inspirations on its sleeve, the setup for the story feels like its unique hook. The game is setup as a story that a grandfather is telling his grandkids. What I liked is that they sometimes argue over what happened in the story, giving the player a choice to change what enemies are represented in the game. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some award-winning narrative being told, but it makes for a more interesting trek across this brief adventure.

There are only four main dungeons in the game, but they all offer up plenty of challenge. Each one is themed ala Zelda. However, the puzzle solutions start to repeat early on. It is still fun to figure them out, but a little more diversity could have gone a long way.

Lily ends up with a pretty impressive arsenal along the way. Her attacks mimic Link’s almost to the letter. The one exception is the extra charge attack she can perform after the whirlwind. The controls also feel a bit floaty at first. It took me a while to acclimate to the movement and attacks. Enemy diversity is good, giving new designs and tactics throughout the adventure. I do wish I could map more items to the unused buttons though. Switching back and forth to the shovel made me not want to explore as much after acquiring more and more weapons.

Visually the game continues to pay its respects to its influence. The world is broken into squares with each one hiding new areas themed to the dungeons. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. The game can be run through in about 10-12 hours depending on how much I wanted to dig around.

Blossom Tales scratches an itch I have of wanting to venture through Link to the Past once a year. It is well-designed if not a bit cliché in its approach. Still for those with the same nostalgia for Link’s SNES adventure, there are few games that capture it as well as this one.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Great dungeon design
  • Puzzles are fun
  • Great progression
  • Controls take a bit to get used to
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.