The thorns hunger for blood
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software, Inc
Publisher: NIS America, Inc
Genre: Puzzle Adventure
Type: Single Player
Release date: April 11, 2017
A Rose in Twilight immediately opens up to a little girl waking up in a ruined castle. Soon seeing she has a huge rose on her back. As you continue walking through the unfamiliar scenery, you soon learn of the powers you possess and much more. The little girl, named Rose, is able to absorb the color red to take the life out of an object, making it stark white and stuck in place. Turning the rose on your back red in the progress so you can transfer it to another object. This also goes for blood you see spilling out of long dead people, giving you a vision of their memory. However, the ruins is more deadly than you think as falling to your death is always a possibility, especially when a flower brings you back, essentially making you immortal.
Rose is not alone throughout her adventure. Not long in your journey, you find a golem, transferring some red color (which is implied to be blood) into it. Bringing it to life. As Rose is limited to jumping and her blood transferring powers, the golem, identified as Giant, is able to pick up and throw objects and Rose as well as go throw thorns without being killed. Of course, these objects are limited to the ones in red and when you are ready to throw it, a line will help in visualizing where it is going. If there is a wall in the way, it will automatically cancel if you try to throw (visualized as an ‘X’ in the path). Be careful with Rose however, as she can still die if Giant throws her to far away from the ground. But if you fall as the Giant with Rose in hand, both will be able to survive the fall. Separated, they do not have the capacity to escape, but together they can work through it. Even if a room requires them to split up.
With a basic transfer with Rose and hold with Giant being how you solve the puzzles and continue, it might sound it would get pretty stale on paper, but it does not. It first introduces you to how both can work before going into the heavy handed puzzles. From simply transferring life to blocks for Giant to carry to having a catapult to throw these further as you put Rose on it to suspend it below a ladder. Various scenarios playing out where you have to figure out how the Giant can aid Rose in getting around thorns or combine their efforts to get to the exit. You will also encounter areas which puts Rose’s ability to more than the basics. Utilizing a watering can that can turn regular water to blood due to it also being curse by the thorns and paintings where you can create an image with the blood. Bringing in zombie like enemies, carnivorous plants and cute bugs to have another obstacle. It is amazing how they made simple abilities span over various ways to keep it fresh and making the player want to see what it can do next. As well as building up the difficulty for the puzzles.
However the horrible implications of the rose on Rose’s back as it is revealed slowly but hits hard. It is actually a curse of the thorns and the flower upon her would have marked her a vampire. Being able to come back to life by a flower might not seem as dark. It is very likely that many playing has played other games with respawns and it just seems like a quirky way to do it. But than you get to an execution room. A room where you have to gather blood memories just to be executed. To volunteer to be executed. Each room as their own device to kill Rose as she shivers in fear as she awaits her death. It completely broke my heart seeing Rose be afraid. It is even implied that she can remember the pain in her new body. This sacrifice is needed for blood to lift vines off of a door so this is something Rose has to go through multiple times.
The way A Rose in Twilight tells its story is very interesting. Throughout the castle you will find various notes and books, some required and some not but all need to be collected for an achievement, but you do not really need to read these to understand the story. Following Rose’s journey is the least amount of information you need to understand the basics. Blood memories build more upon the story as you collect them to see a little scene play out revolving around someone as it eventually focuses on one. The notes build on more about the thorns and how the discovered what they can do and how the others cursed with the thorns were treated before you. The books serving as a way for you to get the history and lore of the place. Everything builds on one another so you can only experience one or two and still know what’s going on.
Despite everything Rose goes through, she still powers on. She is determined to go to her destination and not even death will stop her. Even becoming dependent on this golem she found to carry her that soon becomes a friendship between the two. Rose’s sweet aura is a beacon of light, especially when you hear about the hard experiences the other cursed ones had to deal with and how they turned out. Despite no dialogue, everything is expressed so easily for the player to decipher.
Everything visual makes this game cute. Especially with Rose’s design and cute little animations that they gave her. From her falling flat to her quivering in fear. Her just sitting down when you switch to Giant brings out how innocent and sweet she is. The thorny vines seeming to grow out of everywhere and the ruins framing everything. Despite how gruesome the undertones are, I couldn’t help but find the graphics cute.
+ Inventive and creative ways to keep abilities fresh
+ Story telling
+ Blending of cuteness and a dark theme
+ Great soundtrack
+/- Time attack achievements can be vague on where you should complete it at
A Rose in Twilight is a cute and dark game about a frozen ruined castle, thorns, an immortal little girl, and a golem. Trying to piece together what has happened as you transverse the castle grounds. Transferring blood to or from an object one at a time. This is definitely a must play and can last for hours depending if you want to collect everything and how long you can solve each area.