Game: Little Briar Rose by ProGM and Flame
Summary: Little Briar Rose is a simple, gorgeous adventure game that will leave you wanting more.
2014 IGMC Winner – Best Non-RPG (3rd Place)!
If you were paying attention to the IGMC this summer, you probably remember this game, even if you didn’t play it. The gorgeous stained glass-themed artwork grabs your attention immediately. From beginning to end, Little Briar Rose is truly gorgeous and is also a pretty fun adventure game. Based on the classic tale of ” Sleeping Beauty,” a prince must navigate a thicket of thorns to reach the castle where the damsel is imprisoned. To get through, he will need to befriend the local “smallfolk,” i.e. gnomes, fairies and the like, and earn their favor to clear up sections of the path.
The artwork does wonders to sell the dialogue as an old-fashioned fairy tale, which is good cause the dialogue can be spotty. Most of it is your classic flowery medieval language, but every now and then someone throws in a modern-sounding word like “bummed” or “materialistic.” Still, it’s captivating enough to leave players wanting for more – the story ends at a moment that seems more like a midpoint than a true ending. For a contest entry, this is understandable, although if the developers continue to work on this (and they really should!) some additional content would be excellent.
Extreme Makeover: Gnome Edition
In terms of gameplay, Little Briar Rose is a point-and-click adventure game. All your movements, item use and interactions with NPCs are done by the mouse. As someone who has worked on games with mouse interaction, this is a hard thing to do well and this game does it well. The movement is consistently smooth and you’re never blocked by random objects. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t look or play at all like a typical RPG Maker game, this one is for you.
The puzzles are mostly based on memory and noticing details in the landscape. They lead to amusing conclusions, even if some can be obnoxious. There are a couple puzzles in particular that seem designed to fool the player into screwing it up at least once…and in this game, annoying the smallfolk means death. The creators seem aware of the trial-and-error nature of these puzzles and in a playful touch, there is no game over after you die. A new prince merely walks on the scene and resumes the quest. Good thing there are so many princes available.
That brings us to the end of our coverage of the IGMC winners. I’ve enjoyed the chance to experience all of them and while we’ll all inevitably disagree on which ones are better than others, all of them had something fun to offer and the creativity and ingenuity of the RM community was on full display. Well done, everyone!
What did you think of Little Briar Rose? Did any of the puzzles have you stumped? What would you rather be, a gnome, a fairy, a merman or a spriggan? What should we review next? Tell us in the comments!