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Video Game / Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King

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Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King is an action-adventure game released in 2017 by Castle Pixel. Its story follows a young knight trainee who sets out on a quest to wake King Orchid, who was cursed by his wizard brother, Crocus. The narrative is relayed through an interesting Framing Device: a grandfather is telling a bedtime story to his grandchildren. The kids being kids, of course, they can't help but interject and influence the story (and, rarely, the gameplay) from time to time.

The Sleeping King is nothing if not a loving pastiche of (and tribute to) the early The Legend of Zelda games, particularly A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening. It borrows (and, in a couple of cases, directly swipes) attacks, items, and gameplay elements from the series that inspired it. However, it does differ in a few ways: the dungeons are fewer and simpler (though they are much longer), and the gameplay is more focused on combat and solving basic puzzles rather than exploring and navigating complex dungeons.

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On September 24th, 2021, a sequel called Blossom Tales II: The Minotaur Prince was announced with a 2022 release.


Tropes relating to this game include:

  • Antidote Effect: The Sleeping King has an abundance of spells, attacks and items you can obtain, but most of them are essentially minor variations of the same projectile attack or Area of Effect attack. While some of these do have specific situations where they're useful (like melting an ice wall with a fire spell), in normal combat they're more or less interchangeable. So you're likely to end up with a lot of stuff in your inventory that you will seldom or never use.
  • Area of Effect: Several. The most basic AoE attack in your arsenal is your Spin Attack, but the Quake Spell, Fire Spell, and Thunder spell also hit all enemies within a certain distance of the heroine.
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  • Autosave: The game saves your progress every time you move to a new section of the overworld map, or in a dungeon, every time you enter a new room.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: The late-game Thunder spell will instantly destroy any minor enemy within a wide radius of the heroine, but using the spell takes up most of her Special gauge (and if you haven't upgraded the gauge enough, you can't use the spell at all), limiting its usefulness.
  • Bleak Level: The Wastelands. The other non-dungeon areas of the game have lighthearted and whimsical themes, but the Wastelands are a grey, barren region covered in skulls, dead plants, and orc encampments with ominous, militaristic music playing.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: The Gasping Marshes in the southeast are a swampy region where it is constantly raining and most of the traversable land consists of soggy mud that slows down your movement speed until you get a certain item.
  • Bullet Hell: Some of the bosses’ projectile patterns are about as close to those of a classic shooter as you can get in a Zelda-style game while still remaining somewhat playable.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Nothing in this game does more than a half-heart’s worth of Scratch Damage, but it is possible to get hit a lot in a short period of time if you aren’t careful.
  • Evil Laugh: Crocus has one produced by synthesized, 8-bit sounds.
  • Green Hill Zone: Blossom Fields, the lightly-wooded area surrounding Blossom Town, is the first area the player will do proper adventuring.
  • Heroic Mime: Subverted. The heroine does say a few lines.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: A low-key example: the Boomerang is by far the most powerful weapon in the game. It does two to three times the damage of your fully-upgraded sword, has impressive range, passes through enemies and obstacles, ignores height and depth, and can hit enemies a second time on the return trip. Its only disadvantages are that it's relatively slow, and it uses the Special Meter so it can't be spammed indiscriminately, making it less useful against a swarm of low-level enemies.
    • For that matter, the game's balance heavily favors ranged weapons. The bow is also much stronger than your sword, but it's still much less versatile than the boomerang for combat purposes.
  • King Mook: The First Golem, the boss of Runestone Temple, is basically a very large version of the regular golem enemies.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Most houses have a treasure chest ripe for the taking, and no one cares if you make off with all of it. Grandpa actually lampshades this by saying that the hero "loves taking things that don't belong to her!"
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: Averted. If you step on the lava in the Boiling Caverns, you'll be able to walk slowly on it while still taking damage.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Boiling Caverns are a lava-filled dungeon that is also full of fire-themed enemies.
  • The Lost Woods: Golem's Haven in the southwest is a heavily forested region with some living trees and moss-covered golems.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Orchid and Crocus are polar opposites on this front. A book in the library notes how a young Orchid would donate many pairs of his shoes to the downtrodden in Blossom Town, and in the present he's The Good King who lets people from all walks of life into the Knights. Crocus, in contrast, is infamous for forcing the castle staff to undertake grueling chores for him.
  • Nintendo Hard: Early on the game doesn't throw too much at you, but as the game progresses you'll frequently be swarmed by enemies who aren't easy killed with the sword, necessitating the use of your magical abilities. Once your gauge depletes and you're forced to wait for it to recharge, you're a sitting duck. Additionally, even if you're patient with your magic and take your time, the game has Easy Levels, Hard Bosses as a core aspect of the game; expect any boss after entering the third dungeon to be a Lightning Bruiser that can easily overwhelm you.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: They fill the traditional role of green-skinned humanoid monsters serving under an evil wizard. Unusually, the player doesn't encounter them until the final area of the game.
  • Palette Swap: True to the early Zelda games, some later enemies are simply recolored versions of earlier ones, with maybe a few more hit points or a new attribute.
  • Retraux: The graphics and sound design are meant to look like 8-bit and 16-bit games.
  • Self-Insert Fic: A minor in-universe example. You have the choice of naming the heroine after one of two grandchildren, and the heroine has few character traits of her own, thus allowing the children to imagine themselves in her place.
  • Shout-Out: A few.
    • The game's intro references The Legend of Zelda by implying that Grandpa has told stories about Link before.
    • The Mario franchise is more subtly referenced in a quote from an NPC, who says he doesn't sell mushroom soup to "people who look like mushrooms" because that'd just be weird. He does add that they have a lovely princess, however.
      • The Rat King, the boss of the Castle Dungeons, must be fought by throwing his bombs back onto his platform, just like Mouser from Super Mario Bros. 2.
    • Shovel Knight is also namedropped in a minor bit of dialogue.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Snowfall Summit is a snow-covered mountain in the northwest with Frictionless Ice and snowballs blocking certain paths.
  • Spin Attack: Well, this is a homage to the top-down Zelda games, so it’s only natural that this figures heavily into the gameplay.
  • Stock Puzzle/Stock Video Game Puzzle: The Sleeping King is absolutely swarming with them, with the most common being variations on the Block Puzzle, the "Simon Says" Mini-Game, and the Hamiltonian Path Puzzle.
  • Sword Beam: This classic attack from The Legend of Zelda makes its appearance. However, you only get it very late in the game, and as usual, it only works at full health.
  • Toilet Humor: Some of the cutscenes upon returning to the game make references to Grandpa's toilet habits. Eww.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: For many in the game, mushroom soup. It's also an item that instantly restores your Special gauge.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Being a kind, helpful person is actually a game mechanic, as a large number of your powerups come from completing sidequests for NPCs. You don’t have to do the vast majority of them, but it makes the game much easier.
  • Walking Armory: If you poke around and complete enough sidequests, you’re eventually going to have a very impressive horde of spells and weapons at your disposal. However, this does create its own set of issues (see Antidote Effect above).
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A very minor one: you can smash up the piles of lumber at the lumberjack camp, but the lumberjacks WILL call you out on it.

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