NIS’ latest dark fantasy provides bloody good visuals, in a literal sense!
NIS is no stranger to creating wonderfully dark stories that tend to involve young characters in disturbing worlds. While this may sound strange, it works towards their benefit by really connecting you to the characters and caring for their well-being. This was the case for Yomawari: Night Alone, as the same goes for NIS’s puzzle platformer A Rose in the Twilight.
A Rose in the Twilight follows a young girl named Rose, who coincidently has a rose attached to her. Waking up in a dark and dreary castle, Rose must traverse the rubble to find what caused the destruction and escape. As she begins her exploration, Rose comes across a friendly Golem who helps her surmount various obstacles the duo comes across.
The key to the gameplay deals with blood which serves a multitude of purposes. Not only can Rose drain the blood out of objects to pause them in time, but also drink the blood of corpses to expand on the corpse’s cause of death. Rose can only drain blood out of one object at a time, so execution is key. Various times you must drain the blood out of a falling platform to prevent it from crushing Rose, while other times you must fill an object with blood to allow it to become operable. This mechanic is simple enough, but can become cumbersome as you can’t just dispose of blood that you are carrying if you need to drain the blood from a new object. This means you better think before you drain.
When puzzles can’t be completed by Rose, her giant golem friend provides the muscle. Golem can lift heavy objects, throw Rose past holes in the ground, survive high falls, and walk through thorns that would be fatal to his fragile companion Rose. While objects can’t be move unless they are filled with blood, you must switch off between Golem and Rose to solve many of the puzzles. Various times throughout the game, Rose and Golem will be separated and must solve different parts of the puzzle from different parts of the map.
While puzzles in the first part of the game seem simple and bland, the addition of timed, art, and multi-room puzzles mix up the formula. Sadly, as you start to get going with the good, the game comes to an end in only a few hours. While the time frame isn’t horrible, the lack of enjoyable content in the first half leaves you wanting more as the enjoyable content comes towards the end of the experience.
Throughout the castle, Rose will come across blood memories that she can drain that not only give insight into the corpses, but help in unlocking large doors. To unlock these doors, Rose must place herself in deadly situations that are just as violent as you’d expect. Luckily, Rose can respawn at the last rose that she passed on the map. As you continuously work to keep Rose alive, it’s hard to put Rose in the deadly positions; curse you NISAmerica for playing with my emotions!
Visually, A Rose in the Twilight follows the ideology of “less = more” as the game is lacks a lot of animation. Rose and the golem have very little animation to their movements which looked lackluster at first, until a began watching the blood memories. While this is solely my interpretation, it almost looks as if the characters are animated like puppets in a dark play. The little animation ended up adding to the experience, rather than taking away; again, this is up to interpretation so this may not be the case.
A Rose in the Twilight provides a dark experience that you’d expect from NIS, providing characters that you’ll easily fall in love with; and subsequently have your heart broken by as you watch them in danger! While I was hoping for more in terms of gameplay during the first half of the game, I did feel the overall experience was enjoyable.
- Visually spectacular presentation
- Puzzles throughout the second half of the game are quite enjoyable.
- First half of the game’s puzzles feel repetitive, and bland
- Lack of replayability
*Complimentary review copy was provided by the developer for review purposes.