Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince starts off with an excellent water temple in a bid for favorable comparisons to the Legend of Zelda franchise.
- Title: Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince
- Release Date: August 16, 2022
- Price: $14.99
- Suggested Audience Age: Rated E for Everyone by the ESRB
- Availability: Switch, Steam
- Recommended for fans of: Zelda Games, Zelda Knock-offs, and Sleepy Storytellers
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.
I really dug the first Blossom Tales as an excellent throwback to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. In fact, as a Zelda fan who came to the SNES game way, way late, I might have actually liked Blossom Tales more than I liked ALttP. It has the same 16-bit charm, but I felt like the world was easier to navigate and the dungeon designs were super unique.
I've only played a tiny bit of the sequel, but I can already tell that I'm going to enjoy Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince just as much. It's got the same adorable storytelling premise and classic visual and gameplay styles. On top of that, the first major dungeon is all about raising and lowering water levels… but it's fantastic!
Blossom Tales Historia
I've played just about every Zelda game out there and enjoyed most of them loads. It's always fun when there are little lines here and there connecting one story to the next, but despite all of Brian David Gilbert's hard work, I've never bought into the idea of a unified Zelda timeline. To me, the Legends of Zelda are just that: legends. They are a series of stories with connected worlds and themes, but each one is its own thing, and trying to perfectly line them all up just doesn't work.
Blossom Tales makes that idea absolutely textual in its storytelling with a fantastic framing device. Both games start out with a grandfather sitting down to tell a story. The first game is all about a knight in a kingdom who shares a name with his granddaughter. In the sequel, the grandson gets into the action as well.
The Minotaur Prince takes place in a new setting that is centuries apart from the world of the previous game. A young girl gets frustrated with her younger brother, and wishes for the fabled, evil Minotaur King to take him far away from her, right now! Instead of David Bowie, a fearsome beast shows up and takes the child off to be raised in his kingdom. Now it's up to our hero, Lily, to save her brother and save the day!
Adventuring Through Blossom Tales
The opening segment of Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince has you running around a festival playing games to learn the basic gameplay mechanics, just like Chrono Trigger. You learn to use a sword and shield, a charged spin attack, and how to pick up and throw items. It's everything you'd expect in a Zelda clone, and it all works wonderfully. After a quick tutorial dungeon, you set out to explore the world and start adding items to your inventory.
One of the awesome modern niceties is that Blossom Tales makes use of a stamina bar. You can do roll dodges to avoid attacks or just get around a little quicker, in exchange for a bit of regenerating stamina. Once you start picking up inventory items, that same stamina bar replaces the idea of ammunition. Instead of getting stuck searching around for more bombs to blow up a rock, you can always pull out a bomb, as long as you've got some stamina. That helps avoid needing to grind for ammo, which is one of the few things that always annoys me in Zelda games.
Blossom Tales' Water Dungeon
I'm still early on in Blossom Tales II, but I knew I was going to have a blast as soon as I got through the first dungeon. On your quest to rescue your brother, you end up tailing some pirates to their hideout inside of a giant sea turtle. Yup, you go inside of a big aquatic creature. Right away I started flashing back to my second-least-favorite dungeon in Ocarina of Time, Jabbu Jabbu's Belly.
Thankfully, the inside of this big turtle mostly looks like a dungeon. It's not full of horribly pulsating walls and squishy orifices like the deity of the Zora. No, instead you'll find a bunch of partially flooded rooms with switches to raise and lower the water.
That's right, it's mechanically similar to everyone's least-favorite dungeon in Ocarina of Time, The Water Temple. Thankfully, the system here only has two levels of water, so you won't end up lost as you did in that one. Instead, this is a super cool dungeon with some really fun puzzle-solving and exploration mechanics built around that water system. When you get the ability to swim halfway through, things get even better!
I've got to believe that the decision to start off with a water dungeon in Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince was deliberate. Ocarina of Time may be the most meme-ified example, but water dungeons throughout action-adventure games are notoriously lampooned as “lesser than”. By putting what is traditionally the roughest foot forward and making it a really fun experience, I can only hope that the rest of Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince will be just as surprisingly fun!