When I first saw the trailer for this game, I had to share it with my friends. I said, “look, another Zelda clone, but it actually looks good.” Now that I’ve finished it, I can say my feelings were on point.
Right off the bat, I’ll say that the fact that it’s a very obvious 2D Zelda clone didn’t bother me one bit, because I just haven’t played enough of these. I still have great fun with 2D Zelda clones, especially when they’re made competently. In this game, I explored a decent overworld, talked to a lot of townsfolk, completed some sidequests, found a lot of secrets, beat some large dungeons filled with interesting puzzles, and fought some interesting bosses. That’s just about everything I would expect out of another sequel to A Link to the Past.
When I first started the game, the game’s aesthetics and controls delighted me. Everything felt familiar, and I guess it hit a nostalgic side of me. The music reminded me of all sorts of RPG and Adventure games on the SNES, including A Link to the Past. Graphically, too, the game reminded me of all those 16-bit games. Everything was detailed and animated with heart. The writing opted for light-hearted humor over everything else.
Even cutting grass to find money felt right.
I was also very happy that I got my first item – the bombs – very quickly, which immediately made the combat and the exploration more fun. Once I got out of the tutorial and reached a new town and the game’s first dungeon, the game had already hit its stride: I was finding secret caves in the overworld, solving a variety of puzzles, defeating more powerful enemies, and completing some sidequests here and there.
The puzzles and challenges in the game impressed me. Sometimes the challenges were simple memory games or push-the-block puzzles, and other times they required me to move skillfully over falling floor tiles while defeating annoying enemies, among a greater variety of challenges. This variety prevented tedium from setting in, and I felt encouraged to keep pushing to the next area.
It also helped that the new items I found in each dungeon actually felt powerful. This is something that A Link Between Worlds got right, but which wasn’t the case in A Link to the Past, and I was glad to see that this game took the path of ALBW. Here, even the Boomerang – yes, all the standard Zelda items are in here – felt grossly powerful, and using it, and all other items, was a joy. If anything, a complaint I have about the game is that, by the end, all my equipment made me feel practically invincible, as every item and magic spell could very easily dispatch multiple enemies with little effort. This is a game that could have used more challenging enemies because it gives you very powerful, versatile weapons.
One more complaint: the game lacked an ability for moving quickly from one area to another. Even while I was using the game’s generous warp points, actually walking around each area felt slow and tedious when I backtracked through previous areas to find more heart pieces or finish sidequests. There was no equivalent to the Pegasus Boots in this game, and I think it really needed it. Maybe that’s why, after 10 hours of playing the game, I felt overwhelmed by all the health and stamina upgrades, and sidequests that I hadn’t done, and decided to just rush to the end.
I beat Blossom Tales in over 10 hours according to my system profile. I’m sure it would have taken me over 15 hours if I tried to find every piece of heart and stamina, and done the sidequests.
Overall, I found Blossom Tales to be a very good 2D Zelda clone. It was put together more competently than I expected from an Indie developer. That’s not a dig on Indie devs – it’s praise for a game done well enough that it only fell a few notches short of games like Minish Cap (though even shorter). If you are looking for an Adventure game that follows the top-down Zelda formula closely, there might not be a better game for you on the Nintendo Switch eShop than this one.
For $15, I absolutely recommend it.