When Blossom Tales originally released, there was no denying the Legend of Zelda inspiration. If anything, it wore it proudly like a massive badge of honour, with just about every element of the game clearly influenced by Nintendo’s beloved series in some shape or form. It’s not a bad thing, especially since the game just so happened to be a whole lot of fun, but it did come at the cost of originality.
With Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince, you’re getting more of the same – a finely crafted adventure of the highest standard that clearly takes a lot of ideas from the Legend of Zelda. Again, it’s not a bad thing because it does it so well, but it would have been nice to see a more unique identity forged in the little heroine’s second adventure.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Much like the first game, Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince’s story is told by protagonist Lily’s grandfather as a means to keep her and her brother entertained, with the squabbling siblings once again taking a starring role in the tale. This time around it’s based around the mythical Minotaur Prince, who comes and takes Lily’s brother away after she wishes for his arrival (which reminded me a lot of Labyrinth’s Goblin King minus the bulge). Thus, Lily embarks on an adventure to rescue him, which means traversing the world, clearing out dungeons, and beating up some nasty baddies.
One neat idea that Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince integrates into its storytelling are the decisions the player gets to make. As the story is being told, Lily and her brother will often argue about what should happen next, giving the player the choice to choose whose version of events to follow. In honesty, some of the choices don’t affect too much outside of the sort of puzzle you might face or item that might be used, but it’s easy to appreciate the fun little influence it gives the player on the storytelling.
“Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince won’t win any points for originality, but with its slick dungeon design, clever puzzles, and fun enemy encounters, it still offers plenty to keep players fully invested in its adventure.”
When it comes to gameplay, Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince is going to feel VERY familiar to anyone who has played an old-school Legend of Zelda game before. Players will explore a fantasy top-down world where they’ll use a myriad of tools to solve puzzles and defeat enemies, all whilst grabbing collectibles that’ll increase their hearts or their stamina. Just about everything you do and use in the game will feel like something you’ve done in the Legend of Zelda before, with originality something that you’ll find very little of in Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince.
However, thanks to just how well designed the game is and how fun it is to play, it’s hard to complain too much. Sure, Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince won’t win any points for originality, but with its slick dungeon design, clever puzzles, and fun enemy encounters, it still offers plenty to keep players fully invested in its adventure. In fact, it often feels a lot less cryptic than the Legend of Zelda games, which was something that I appreciated – I’ve spent plenty of hours over the years trying to figure out where I need to go next when exploring expansive worlds and dungeons, so the more direct approach embraced here was nice.
There’s plenty of room for optional exploration too, with secret areas to uncover, mini-games to play around with, and side-quests to complete. There are even optional dungeons to complete which bring their own little rewards, so it’s certainly worth heading off the beaten path and taking your time to explore. I think one of the things I liked the most was just how accessible it was though, with deaths simply taking you back to the start of the room you were in. It means there’s no need to re-play through areas just to get back to where you previously were, which was always an issue I had with the older Legend of Zelda titles.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Add to all of that the wonderful visuals which perfectly capture the 16-bit era with the lovely pixel art and vibrant world as well as the catchy chiptune soundtrack, and you’ll quickly find there really is plenty to like about Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince. It’s clear that a lot of care and attention went into making sure that the game is a charming escapade that’s pretty to look at, whilst it manages to capture the innocent but fantastical vibe of the grandfather’s storytelling perfectly.
I think I’ve made it very clear that I really like Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince, but I can’t help but to think that it’s held back a little by the Legend of Zelda inspiration. For all the things it does right (of which there are many), it always felt like I’d done this sort of thing before. Whilst it was endearing in the first game, I was excited to see if the developer introduced more of their own ideas in the sequel – sure, there are a few things that felt fresh, but the overall blueprint felt a bit TOO familiar at times. It doesn’t make Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince a bad game by any stretch of the imagination and I’ve got heaps of praise for it, but it would have been nice if it tried to re-invent the wheel a little bit.
Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince Review
Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince is a very entertaining adventure that certainly isn’t afraid to showcase its obvious Legend of Zelda inspirations. In fact, it almost holds the game back a little, with it rarely showcasing new ideas that really help make it stand out in the crowd.
Still, with its wonderful world design, clever puzzles, and fun combat, it’s hard to complain too much. Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince may very well wear its inspirations like a big badge of honour, but it’s certainly more of a top-notch homage as opposed to a cheap imitator.
Developer: Castle Pixel
Publisher: Playtonic Friends
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC