A Root -Ing, Two -TIng, Good Story

Sep 15, 2022

by

So excited to tell you about this new game Blossom Tales 2: The Minotaur Prince from Castle Pixel. It’s about a brother and sister. The girl is budding with energy and causes a bit of commotion. They set sail, navigating the sea to find lost games that they can play. Wait a minute, this story is getting all mixed up. But then again nobody really wants to hear – or play – the same tale. Grandpa isn’t gonna be caught plagiarizing anyone, just keeping things comically confusing. You may catch yourself remixing Bowie’s hit from Labyrinth – one of many stories alluded to in Grandpa’s story. Because Blossom Tales 2 definitely will remind you of the “boy with the power.”

Blossom Tales 2: The Minotaur Prince

Publisher: Playtonic Friends

Developer: Castle Pixel

Available On: Nintendo Switch; Steam

One of the things that makes both the original Blossom Tales and the sequel enjoyable is in the telling of the tale. Featuring the siblings and Grandpa from the original, Blossom Tales 2 doesn’t have many other components that tie to the original. This can be a fear with a sequel or continuation of a game (or comic, movie, etc.). Other than a sly remark by Chrys questioning if he is actually in the story/game this time, Blossom Tales 2 begins as if it were a standalone game.

Break the Chain

Her name is not Zelda, so watch what you say. And though there are some obvious links, if you spot a triangle in this game it may be there to show a difference from the NES classic. One difference is this adventure doesn’t feel like a matter of life and death. While Link’s adventure begins with ominous undertones – despite some entries sporting shiny beginnings – Blossom’s day gets off to a very festive start. You awaken inside Grandpa’s tall tale inside your home in Blossomdale. Your “grandmother” awakens you to get ready for the Minotaur Moon Festival today. As Chrys races out the door – happy to be involved this time – a famous game quote presents the player with Lily’s first items, her sword and shield.

As Lily exits her house, a MIDI melody starts to play – hinting at a bit of Hyrulian magic here. But unlike Link, Blossom’s village is more active than Zelda and other earlier RPG adventure games, like Dragon Quest which made the player feel alone at times. The sims in this game are abundant and active.

The best way to describe the look of characters in Blossom Tales 2 is similar to Fisher Price’s Little People. Blossom Tales 2 does fit with the philosophy of helping children imagine big adventures. This carries over to the way they move – or specifically your control of Lily. Three buttons allow for item placement – your sword and shield taking up the first two spots – but the menu shows Lily can get a lot in that bag so that last spot has many choices.

One thing that was great is there are no counts to the inventory. Players won’t be stuck shopping or searching for bombs or arrows; when an item is used energy is depleted. In combat there is a lot more spring to Lily’s step than the original. Since enemies respawn combat is something Lily can expect at almost every turn. Even in death things stay silly with Chrys poking fun at Lily’s demise – she isn’t dead after all, this is only a fireside tale.

Grandma’s items are far from the only Lily receives – and some are just as easy to obtain. Unlike earlier game adventurers, Lily has a lot more opportunities to aid individuals, which in turn gets her more stuff. Even if she can’t be nice to Chrys, at least she is kind to others, Grandpa. In addition to a fishing pole and shovel from completing side quests there are dungeon areas which also hold treasures. Though with the game’s child-like atmosphere this opens up new ways to present items used in other stories. Instead of an armor or outfit, Blossom/Lily receives floaties to swim. At times Chrys wants options, which gives the player a chance to choose an item’s appearance. Some folks play the ocarina others like the accordion.

The floaties come in handy quickly as there is a lot of area to cover in Blossom Tales 2. A good portion has some water – either a pond to cross which feeds into a bigger ocean and the floaties allow Lily to cross these bodies of water. The 8 bit graphics of the game are aided by the shading to the pixels. Water you can float in, much like weakened rocks and areas are very distinguishable because of color differences compared to the surrounding area.

It’s a Moby-O

Not only are there more items in Blossom Tales 2, it feels like there is more map. Comparing the revealed portions of Blossom Tales 2, it seems almost the same as the original Zelda – maybe the map is just rejuvenated. There is no delay as the map scrolls when you move across sections so your adventure moves along smoothly. There are a number of fast travels available if that is your thing.

Instead of a frame story – let’s call both the original and Blossom Tales 2 serving window stories. As Grandpa attempts to make a meaning out of the messiness, both Chrys and Lily interrupt him. Totally relatable, telling a story, trying to make a point and kids just wanna add their two cents. While this may seem like a distraction often these give the player a chance to control part of the story. By picking a side, you choose between one of the sibling’s ideas of what Grandpa really meant to say. These momentary escapes add some flourish to the story of Blossom Tales 2.

Now, what should be a helpful item doesn’t really do as much good as it could. The log, available on the menu, is a record of every part of the story so far. Again, EVERY part of the story. The parts where Chrys and Lily argue, and interrupt Grandpa. If you do something out of order, it’s in that spot – meaning you may have to scroll way down to find a reference to something else. There is no color coding or shading here – unlike the map – so which part story the log is referring to is often indistinguishable. So while playing the game and experiencing Grandpa’s best attempt as Aesop you might feel like you’re sinking in muck.

With its top down design, the pixel graphics and retro sounds, Blossom Tales 2: The Minotaur Prince feels like sitting down to hear about the good ole days. If Grandpa’s fables which encroach into our own stories – along with Jim’s film there are odes to Neverending and more – don’t put her to sleep, then maybe a new hero is awakening.

Score 8.4

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