A Rose in the Twilight is the adventure puzzle platformer with a dark, gritty twist. Unlike most games of the genre this experience is set in a seemingly desolate castle with all trace of hope and happiness being non-existent. It definitely isn’t the first game to take this twisted approach with the genre as both Inside and Limbo did this with huge success and it certainly won’t be the last game.
Rose is the main playable character, your story begins with you waking from your slumber inside the confines of a castle which is just void of all positivity and anything that could be remotely construed as cheery. She has the unique ability or curse perhaps to transfer blood from objects to herself and vice versa. Upon the transfer of said blood, objects that receive turn red and join the flow of time, when that blood is taken away the object stays frozen in time wherever the object was when it’s essence was taken away. Aside from that ability, Rose can be considered useless, not able to defend herself in any way.
Enter ‘the Giant’, this character is Rose’s companion whom she meets very early on, a mute character that is really a walking boulder. Strength is the power of the Giant, able to carry the main character throughout their journey whilst able to help traverse any obstacles along their way by being able to pick-up any objects that contain blood and throw them around a little bit. You can also throw Rose around which leads to some satisfying deaths.
Every stage contains mysteries and puzzles that need to be solved. Each one gives you additional insight to the lore and surrounding mystique of the story. I find it rare for a platformer to really connect with me based on its story, usually the gameplay is the hook but not in this instance. During the adventure Rose would collect blood memories from corpses, this would display a small cutscene that shows you how the character died.
Furthermore, you would be tasked with sacrificing yourself in order to continue on with the game. At numerous points a challenge will stand before you and all you would have to do was to go ahead with the challenge, whether it be a noose or guillotine you would sacrifice your ‘blood’ to open up the next area. Upon death, you respawn either at the beginning of a dungeon or at the checkpoints scattered throughout which show themselves as small flowers ready to blossom.
Controls are very basic in terms of the amount of buttons you actually use frequently, however this is then made up for with the complexity of the platforming puzzles, you have to think about these strategically in order to beat. This prevents the game from feeling monotonous, you’ll come across falling rocks, levers, catapults, lifts and so much more that can make for some thought-provoking moments. Nothing too difficult but you can certainly get some “F***” moments when you fall off of something and get sent to the previous checkpoint, happened way too often for my liking, but that can go to show I can be clumsy.
The majority of the storytelling is delivered through the sinister visuals, and I use that word as a compliment. It’s sombre art direction puts across this world of despair and lifelessness, whether I care to admit it or not I felt uneasy through some of my journey with Rose and the Giant. It’s dull colour palette for the backgrounds does the game credit, aside from the yellow’s, grey’s and black’s the key featured colour is of course red, it shows the contrast between the blood and everything else around it and is just stunning.
The ominous soundtrack amplifies what the visuals already deliver on, creating a sense of emptiness, like your all alone. Not only that the sound effects are fitting, whenever you would jump, the noise echoes before fading as if you were jumping up and down in an empty warehouse building.
Story – 7/10
Visuals – 7.5/10
Sound – 7.5/10
Gameplay – 6/10
Game Design / Innovation – 7/10
A good reason for me to pick up my PS Vita again, A Rose in the Twilight brings a haunting story delivered by its beautiful art-style and soundtrack. Rose and the Giant are two characters I believe to be memorable enough to get their own mention for years to come in the gaming duo’s category, not because of humour and high action moments, but rather their relationship and experience’s they go through together.
OVERALL – 7.0/10 – GOOD
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin (Jester).
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of A Rose in the Twilight on PS Vita however this does not in anyway affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)