A Rose by Any Other Name: A Rose in the Twilight Review
Despite its perceived status as a dead console, the PlayStation Vita continues to live on and produce interesting titles for those who have held on to the plucky little handheld. One of the biggest remaining supporters of the Vita, NIS America, has continued this trend with their release of A Rose in the Twilight. While it initially went under my radar, I’m glad that A Rose in the Twilight has given me a reason to return to my Vita after being away from the handheld since the launch of the Nintendo Switch back in March.
The game begins with no exposition, rather it throws you into the shoes of a young girl named Rose who is trapped inside of a mysterious castle. She begins making her way through the bowels of the castle, eventually meeting a strange giant who aids her in her effort to escape. As you make your way through the castle, you will slowly learn of the fate of the denizens of the castle, as well as, Rose’s past and how she ended up in the castle’s dungeon. Unlike a traditional game, however, the game doesn’t convey anything through dialogue. The entire game’s story is told through ambient noise and the game’s visuals.
This approach allows the game’s story to speak for itself, rather than being told to you through someone’s voice. Scenes can range from watching Rose be separated from her parents to seeing the deaths of the castle’s inhabitants. I enjoyed this take on story telling as it made A Rose in the Twilight standout among its contemporaries and allows scenes to be dictated purely by emotion. If nothing else A Rose in the Twilight will stand out in my mind as one of the more unique story offerings in the early part of 2017.
When it comes to the gameplay for A Rose in the Twilight, the title is straightforward. You guide Rose through the castle’s perils with a combination of walking, jumping, and interacting with the Golem and various objects within the castle. Being a young girl with no real special powers, Rose is rather frail and will find herself dead if you fall from too high or try to wander into the giant thorns that are scattered throughout the castle. As she makes her way through the castle, the puzzles will become more complex and require her to use the Rose attached to her waist. With this ability, she can absorb blood from the various places on the castle, and use it to active switches and other objects. This ability also allows the player to see Blood Memories, which will allow the player to see past events.
One of my favorite features about A Rose in the Twilight is its visual style. It features a muted palette, which really helps the reds in the game standout. This subdued visual style really helps the characters stand out as well, with Rose looking like a Pop! figurine come to life. The music is much in the same fashion, taking a minimalistic approach. This leaves much of the game’s audio package to feel empty, and while I enjoyed this minimalistic approach to the game’s visuals, I can’t say the same for the audio package, with the exception of the lack of a vocal track.
A Rose in the Twilight offers players an enjoyable experience, though I have an issue with the game’s pace, as Rose’s movement speed is painfully slow at times. This causes certain puzzles to feel like they take much longer than they should, especially if you make a mistake that would require you to replay a section more than once. The game also isn’t very long, but with it only being a twenty-dollar digital title, this isn’t that big of a deal for me, though I can see where it would be an issue for others. At the end of the day though, if you can get past these two issues, then there’s a lot to like in A Rose in the Twilight.
Despite my mixed feelings toward the game’s presentation and the speed of the game, I found myself enjoying A Rose in the Twilight. The game’s puzzles became challenging, but not so much that it hinders the overall experience. A Rose in the Twilight was a great way to return to my Vita, and it has me interested in trying other similar games on my Vita in the hopes of finding a similar experience on the platform.