Arguably one of the trickiest genres in gaming is the puzzle game. Not only do developers need to come up with ingenious ways to implement the mechanics, but it also has to be done in a way that doesn’t prevent progress. Nothing is worse than a game that you simply can’t figure out. Despite this, A Rose in the Twilight tries to combine clever puzzles with a dark adventure. With beautiful graphics, a cute main character, a handful of mechanics and more, is A Rose in the Twilight a flower that stands out or is it just a weed?
A Rose in the Twilight makes the bold decision to tell its story through collectibles, expressions and context. This means the whole story is told without dialogue or many words outside of a couple notes. Despite this, the story is quite tragic.
Most of the flashbacks explain why people died or what ordeals Rose went through. Towards the end there are some twists, plus an especially depressing scene, that adds a lot of depth to the story. The endings, mostly the normal one, is oddly touching, if only for how it says so much with so little.
In addition to having a touching story, the puzzles are surprisingly well done. A Rose in the Twilight doesn’t have many mechanics, but the puzzles use these mechanics in interesting ways. Not only that, several of the solutions are explained through items in the background, story descriptions or reading between the lines.
Needless to say, this makes some of these puzzles an absolute nightmare to figure out. However, it also makes figuring them out more rewarding. For instance, some of the cleverest solutions involve swapping characters, because that changes how they stand. This attention to detail is rare and is certainly appreciated.
Another highlight is several puzzles have multiple solutions. For one puzzle you can put Rose in a barrel and throw her to where she needs to go or you can have her go down a ladder. Another puzzle can be solved by stacking countless tables to reach a ladder or simply catapult one table, freeze it in time and then catapult yourself onto the table. The choice is really yours and this makes the puzzles a lot more exciting.
Even though A Rose in the Twilight does a lot of good, it can sometimes be too clever. The vast majority of puzzles are solved by using blood to make time move or stop or the giant to throw Rose and items in the room. If you don’t realize the importance of a picture, catapult or item, you’ll get stuck and it can take a while to figure out how all the pieces go together.
As mentioned above, A Rose in the Twilight is also very dark. The deaths show blood and progressing to a new area requires Rose to kill herself in a brutal way. This can be un-enjoyable to watch and something you need to be okay with going into the game.
A Rose in the Twilight is easily one of the best puzzle games on the Vita. The story is different and, despite being told in an unusual way, has a lot of impact. The use of blood in an otherwise bleak world stands out, making for creepy and unsettling images. As for the puzzles, they can be hard to figure out, but there are multiple solutions to many of them and they make excellent use of the world around you. Sure, A Rose in the Twilight is a little on the short side and a tad graphic, but if you can overlook these two details it’s an amazing game set in an even more amazing world.A Rose in the Twilight Review,