A Rose in the Twilight was a Traumatic experience for me, and unless you’re some kind of sadist, a reviewer, or maybe you’re able to find some kind of enjoyment in the the suffering of others, then you’re not likely to make it past the first major checkpoint in this game. If it were not for the manner in which the character has to progress, I’d probably consider recommending this as a challenging puzzle platformer with a beautiful art style. A game that can be brutal enough to challenge the most veteran gamers out there, but sadly that is not the situation.
When I loaded up the game for the first time, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of familiarity with firefly diaries, a game that we previously reviewed from the same publisher. Both games have a very similar look, and feel to them. The only difference being that I found this one has better controls. The look reminds me of a water colored painting in motion, and I like that. I like that a lot. I also liked the music, and sound portrayed in this title. The platforming aspects of the gameplay along with the switching mechanic between Rose (the Protagonist), and her giant doll is also well designed, and offers a wide variety of gameplay options; however, that is where my praise for this title ends. The other aspects of the game succeeded in either infuriating or traumatizing me.
During the game, you are presented with some extremely difficult puzzles, which I found to be sometimes challenging in a good way, while other times it was the complete opposite. There were moments when I simply questioned my intelligence only to solve the puzzle by complete guess work. I found those to be quite unsatisfying, because to me puzzles are supposed to come packaged with a eureka feeling when solved, which is something some of the puzzles this game just don’t have. There was one particular puzzle where the character is required to take a book from one room to another, but there was no indication that you would need to do that based on the previous puzzles. Prior to that no items could be carried between room, and there was no evidence that the rules had changed. It was a puzzle that baffled me so much that I ended up looking up a walk-through of the Japanese version of the game to progress. That was completely unsatisfying for me, and even after figuring out what I had to do, I was still dumbfounded by it.
An uneven mixture of great puzzles with infuriating ones.
Puzzles aside, this is also a platformer, and so much of your time with it will be spent navigating a castle, searching for the past memories of the people who once inhabited it’s walls. This is done by absorbing their blood, usually found in close proximity of their usually horrifically mutilated bodies, and the horrors don’t end there. Our protagonist is a little girl with a rose on her back, who is accompanied by a silent giant. She’s also silent, but her animations are so well designed that they portray her in the most adorable ways, which makes it even more traumatizing when you have to press that button for her to commit suicide in an effort to pass certain checkpoints.
Oh did I mention that our character is required to commit suicide everything she reaches a major checkpoint to progress?
Let’s take a moment to visually process that…
OK, got that processed?
Good, so let me explain how that works. In the game there are a couple large doors that are blocked by some large thorns, which can only be removed by offering blood to them. Though our character collects the blood of the fallen prior inhabitants of the castle, she is not able to use theirs to progress. Instead of theirs, the giant thorns require a sacrifice of our adorable little character, and the way this happens is horrific every time. One has her put her head through a thorny noose, another sees her get her head cut right off, and though she is reborn every time it doesn’t make it any less disturbing.
Now I do understand that there are going to be other people that may not see things the same way as I do, and they may in fact not find any issue with the checkpoint system, but I do, and for that reason I can’t in good conscience recommend this title to gamers that are like minded to me. Though A rose in the Twilight has a couple good things going for it, as an overall package I found it disturbing. In my opinion if you were to lend someone this game. You should expect to have it returned to about a week later along with the bill for counselling. If after reading this you are considering getting this game, then I suggest playing it on the PS Vita as it is possible to play it in short burst during the day.
A copy of A rose in the twilight was supplied to us from its Publisher NIS America.