A Rose in the Twilight (PS Vita) Review

By Drew Hurley 11.06.2017

Review for A Rose in the Twilight on PS Vita

From the creators of htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary comes A Rose in the Twilight. This gothic puzzler introduces a protagonist - the titular Rose - that feels like something out of a Junji Ito story. Rose is aptly named; she has a huge rose growing from her back, its thorny branches entangling her and drinking her blood. Rose awakens in a huge castle with a similar malady to her own. Huge thorny branches permeate through the labyrinthine fortress, the thorns an instant death sentence for Rose. She must navigate her way through the castle, finding a friend, regaining her memories, and dying an awful lot along the way.

The game opens with no preamble, no excessive exposition or elaborate FMV. Just Rose. Rose awakens and is immediately thrown into the puzzles of the game. To overcome these puzzles, she has to make use of the special ability the flower on her back grants her. This ability is known as the "Power of Thorns" and gives her the power to absorb and imbue blood into different things in the world. Something drained of blood is removed from time itself. Its colour becomes washed out and it becomes immovable; even gravity has no effect. An item filled with blood will move and come to life. In the first puzzles, this ability is used to overcome simple obstacles, such as removing the blood from falling objects at just the right time to freeze them in place and crafting a bridge in the air over a chasm, or imbuing obstructive debris to be able to clear a path.

These sort of puzzles are, of course, filled with danger, and Rose regularly is killed by a mistimed jump or a falling rock caving in her skull. Thankfully, the flower on her back seems to also grant her a type of immortality. Throughout the vines that cover the castle are the occasional glowing crystal buds that act as a checkpoint system to revive her. To aid in these dangerous puzzles, Rose gains some assistance in the form of a second playable creature. This second character is the muscle in the pair and is also reminiscent of Junji Ito's work - in particular Uzumaki. It is an imposing, lumbering giant that joins Rose in exploring the castle. The giant has no blood-controlling abilities, but is strong enough to move, lift and throw things - these things being various aspects of the world, like masonry or puzzle elements, and, of course, Rose.

Screenshot for A Rose in the Twilight on PS Vita

The puzzles these two have to overcome often require them to work together, and they can be freely switched between at any point to facilitate this. Sadly, the puzzles are all too easy - the types that have already been seen countless times in other games. Use the giant to stand on a pressure pad while Rose slips through. Switch between the two characters on two different levels to open a path to the other. There are some extra types of puzzles as new areas open up. Rose gets a watering can to pour blood onto plants and learns to hide away in barrels from enemies. Annoyingly, the real challenges come at last right at the finale, with the post-game content actually containing some tricky moments, but just as it gets good, it ends.

The style of the game is great. The gothic castle is filled with dark touches, and the characters of Rose and the giant really fit with the aesthetic. Both characters move with a slow and deliberate gait, and Rose is so delicate than even the smallest false move will cause her to collapse for a few seconds. It's nice aesthetic building, but can result in very frustrating moments. The audio, too, is filled with haunting and gothic tunes, often using a stark lack of music to accentuate the sounds of just the light tap footfalls of Rose or the thumps of the giant.

There is something of a story, but it's a rather understated affair. There are corpses scattered through the castle, and rose can absorb the pool of blood around the hapless souls to regain a "Blood Memory" from them, showing a glimpse into the history of the castle. This, along with the notes found through the castle, craft a dark fairy-tale worthy of the Brothers Grimm. There are about three hours or so in a regular playthrough, then depending on the progress of the main game in tracking down the blood memories, there is extra post-game content to clear, too. There is even a time attack to give it a little extra life.

Screenshot for A Rose in the Twilight on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

A Rose in the Twilight has plenty of charm with its fantastic macabre design and style, but it's lacking the substance beneath. While the puzzles are enjoyable enough, they rarely offer enough of a challenge to require much thought and end up feeling like something seen a million times before.

Developer

Nippon Ichi

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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