Modern homages to classic video games often go one of two ways: they either stay close to the gameplay conventions to which they are paying tribute, or they extend the styles of the original games in meaningful and innovative ways. Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince, like its 2017 predecessor, is more the former than the latter, closely following the classic Legend of Zelda blueprint, specifically A Link to the Past. Despite this lack of innovation, Blossom Tales II still manages to capture many of the acclaimed elements of what many consider to be one of the greatest video games of all time, and in the process, a fun, retro-facing adventure. Worth starting. ,
Player-character Lily accidentally unleashes the Minotaur King, who swiftly kidnaps his brother until she can stop the monstrous mythical emperor, ushering in a new Dark Ages. To do so, he must leave the comfort of Blossomdale to trek through pirate-infested marshlands, ghost-haunted mansions, and a monster-filled desert. I love how each biome presents different challenges and enemies to overcome, and the exploration often feels natural and intuitive, transporting you from one screen to the next. I’ve rarely felt lost during my play, which is a testament to the design of the open world and the dungeons it contains.
Unfortunately, despite my enjoyment of exploration, I rarely felt rewarded enough to wander around every nook and cranny. The treasure offered for completing even the most difficult caves is often gold coins, of which I already had more than I could afford. On rare occasions, I got a heart piece to help me earn more health, but they were so rare (and you needed four of them to add to your max health) that it was at least as exciting. Still, that didn’t stop me from bombing every broken wall, collecting every item, and fishing every pond.
Well-crafted dungeon experiences are hallmarks of the Blossom Tales II series. Much like the world, the game’s dungeons flow nicely from room to room, and give you the right number of clues to progress without any frustration. While A Late Maze is probably my favorite thanks to its strong mix of challenging combat and head-scratching puzzles, the dungeons include minecart tracks, changing water levels, and more.
Blossom Tales II’s simple combat lacks the sophistication and ease of other top-down action games, but it makes up for it by giving you a wealth of items and powerups. Genre mainstays like bows, boomerangs and bombs appear early on your list, while a yo-yo that acts like a hookshot and a guitar on which you play mesmerizing songs do more than nod to the Zelda series. We do. These items are used in interesting and satisfying ways, though I was less excited about how often I needed to stop the action and map a different item to the face button.
The story uses an unreliable narrator convention as told to the children Lily and Chris, who also serve as the two main characters of the adventure. On occasion, kids will fight over what they want to do, and it’s up to you to decide what to do. Although I enjoy choosing what kind of enemies I need to fight or puzzles I need to solve on occasion, the unique storytelling model is undermined and relegated to only minor decisions. has been done.
Blossom Tales II does little to hide its Zelda inspiration from the player. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Nintendo’s legendary franchise, it follows many of the early-’90s design conventions present in games like A Link to the Past to provide an adventure capable of being enjoyed by players of all ages and experiences. makes it smooth. Level. Blossom Tales II is a better game than its predecessor, and I hope we continue to get more adventures from Lily, Chris, and their grandpa in the future.