Bramble: The Mountain King’s Dark Themes Make it Stand Out
Gloomy fantasy worlds are nothing new, but Bramble: The Mountain King blew me away with its dark Norse folklore. Instead of sanitizing these fairy tales like a classic Disney movie, Dimfrost Studio openly embraces its most disturbing elements to present an atmospheric, twisted world. Calling this terrifying adventure a horror game isn’t quite right, but after a lengthy hands-on preview on PC, we found this to be a gripping yet spooky tale.
Before diving in, Bramble warns about heavy subject matter, covering themes such as suicide, infanticide, and animal cruelty. But for those who don’t know, it’s worth noting. Playing a boy called Ole, this story begins with a trip to the night forest to find his older sister Lil Mole. As you traverse this winding forest, it quickly turns into a rescue mission.
Bramble: The Mountain King – March 2023 Screenshots
While many games encourage you to take off-the-beaten-path paths, Bramble keeps exploration strictly linear from A to B. Moving forward is often the only no-back option, and sometimes we split this up with climbing or light platform segments. You can look through some highlighted objects on your journey, such as pine cones and picture books. That’s all. On one occasion, we turned a matchbox upside down to unlock a hidden key, and found no similar interaction in 3 hours of playtime, except for the opening of the game.
Exploration feels like the basic, simplistic event that separates these moments. For example, playing hide-and-seek with the gnomes feels more distracting than meaningful. Bramble’s fun is in its story, and Dimfrost strikes a delicate tone with its environmental storytelling that never fails to put your mind at ease. When I look at Olle and Lil Mall, I can’t get rid of the eerie feeling of a valley. Still, dark forests and beautiful meadows create a strong presentation that maintains the charm of this haunting world.
Bramble: The Mountain King Animated GIF
But it’s not long before Bramble’s sickening elements rival these delightful landscapes. I soon realized the dark reality of this world. Watching Olle walk through a disgusting pile of guts with flies surrounding rotting flesh is disgusting, and this sequence ultimately leads to the game’s first fight. There’s nothing more fun than dodging kitchen knives and throwing rocks at this giant foe.
Many hideous beasts hide in these gloomy lands. Some encounters require a more stealthy approach. In one incident, he escaped from a giant at night and hid in tall grass whenever the light shone towards you. I saw you encountered Escaping Nekken means hiding behind whatever you can find while his music plays at regular intervals. These moments keep the game exciting and showcase Olle’s struggles well, and Bramble is truly the story of David and Goliath.
Visiting Skogsrå’s Grove was a major highlight during this preview. Olle battles the Forest Nymph, known to lure men to their deaths. This encounter teasing him in Lillemor’s vision was my only boss fight during this preview. Divided into three stages, I found myself attacking targets stuck in trees. No cheese combat, thanks to some brutal one-hit kills. Frequent checkpoints thankfully kept dying to a minimum of frustration.
It’s the most interesting fight I’ve ever encountered, and what follows after defeating her makes me question my actions. I agree with that and mistakenly believed this was necessary before realizing I didn’t need to stab her. I’m not sure if it affects the , but I was wondering if I did the right thing. She was undoubtedly mean, but Ole’s raw emotion won him over.
Bramble has done many things right with this interesting story. Refusing to avoid the disturbing elements of Norse folklore could make Dimfrost Studio something special. The gameplay seems more innovative, but these memorable sequences make it one of 2023’s more unique adventures. Bramble: The Mountain King releases on all major platforms on April 27th.Demo is available now vapor.