Fairy Tales often combine life lessons with cheerful stories and a happy ending. Bramble: The Mountain King is also based on fairy tales and folklore from Nordic countries. However, instead of a cheerful game you’ll find a true dark fantasy game with horror elements. Bramble: The Mountain King is similar to games like Little Nightmares. Is it as amazing as the Little Nightmares series? Find out in our Bramble: The Mountain King review.
A boy named Olle
In Bramble: The Mountain King we follow a young boy named Olle. He wakes up in the middle of the night, plagued by a nightmare. He looks to the bed beside him, to find it empty. His sister is missing. Before Olle knows it, he finds himself in a mysterious place reminiscent of a fairy tale world. He sets off in search of his sister to unravel this mystery.
What follows is a dark story with dark, shocking and sometimes even gruesome elements. You’ll meet all sorts of characters, from your typical cute fairy tale characters to horror inspired aberrations. The story in Bramble: The Mountain King is told through the environment and non-verbal communication of the characters. This is expertly handled, because I found myself caring about the characters throughout the journey, including some villains.
The designers and writers have done an excellent job of giving the villains a believable backstory. It manages to explain how they came to be the way they are, reminding us no one is born evil. You’ll even find that sometimes good people have to do terrible things. The story takes you through all sorts of environments. From cheerful gnome villages to dark caves infested with all sorts of horrors.
At its heart, Bramble: The Mountain King is a true adventure game. This game is all about the journey from start to finish, not about complicated gameplay. During your journey, you’ll find platforming elements, puzzles and even some mini games thrown in between. The mini games serve as a nice break in between to keep you from getting bored. You’ll also find there’s a proper physics system with intractable objects. One cool example is a matchbox, which actually dropped the matches inside when held upside down.
The puzzles in the game are fairly easy and simple, sadly. They were all straightforward to me while most games with puzzles usually manage to get me stuck for a while. While I didn’t mind, I can imagine that for gamers who like puzzles this is a disappointment. The platforming sections aren’t very challenging either. But as I said, this game is all about the journey. Not so much about the gameplay. A true story driven adventure game.
From time to time, you’ll also find yourself in boss battles. You’ll face overwhelming foes in a bid to survive. While the mechanics aren’t overly difficult (Apart from some insanely precise timing in some boss battles), they mechanics are well thought out. If you fail, the game is also pretty forgiving, allowing you to retry at the same phase you were in.
For story driven adventure games, one of the most important things is atmosphere. Bramble: The Mountain King is full of it. Once you set foot in the world of Bramble, you’ll find yourself in absolutely beautiful environments. And this doesn’t stop until the end of the game. It’s so full of detail that it rivals any AAA game. Combined with impressive lighting, it sometimes even looks photo realistic. I often found myself curious about whatever lay ahead, even when I should have stopped playing. I just wanted to keep on exploring to see what’s next.
You’ll go through forests full of mushrooms, grasslands, riverbeds, caves and so on. While some segments are a bit too dark for my tastes, the amount of details is impressive. It makes Bramble: The Mountain King feel like a true adventure game. There’s also a ton of details to be found in the background. From giants roaming the landscape in search of you (And you don’t want them to find you!), to gnomes following you about. The game feels like a proper adventure all the way through.
What was that?
The game isn’t accompanied by an overly present soundtrack. In fact, I don’t even remember if there was a soundtrack at all. But this is by design. Bramble: The Mountain King is definitely an atmospheric horror game. While there aren’t many jump scares, it relies on telling a darker narrative through everything in the game. Including the environment and sound effects. When you start hearing things, you’ll need to be on your toes. They’ve done a really good job creating an intense atmosphere utilizing sound effects.
While the game is great at what it does, there are some cons which should be taken into account. For starters, there were a few bugs I encountered. Annoying ones, which stopped my progress. I had to restart my last checkpoint. While this only took about a minute of backtracking, it seems a bit sloppy for a game which is pretty linear.
Additionally, the game is really short. It takes about 4 or 5 hours to complete. There’s little to no sidetracking. There are collectibles in the game, but most can be found without any sidetracking at all. As such, there’s no real replay value. This means Bramble: The Mountain King is most likely a game you’ll experience just once.
A few years ago, on Stadia, I was captivated by the Little Nightmares games. Short, atmospheric horror platformers which felt like an actual adventure to play. Bramble: The Mountain King is very similar, just with a different setting. Fans of Little Nightmares should definitely play this game. It’s a bit short and the gameplay isn’t varied, but if you enjoy dark adventure games this is worth a try! I’m certainly glad I played through this game to the end, with some interesting plot twists at the end.
- Amazing environments and graphics
- Interesting story and premise
- The game felt like an adventure from start to finish
- Some bugs which hampered progress
- Short game