Overall score 85

Once I heard that the creators of htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary were creating another game, I immediately became interested. Mainly because The Firefly Diary was one of my most favorite games of 2015. It was a very unique title in so many ways. From how it looked and played, to how it managed to tell its story. So when A Rose in the Twilight was first unveiled, I could feel that same vibe right away. It looks similar and gave out that same mysterious atmosphere. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to this release.

A Rose in the Twilight is a puzzle platformer game of sorts that has you in control of Rose, a young girl who wakes up in a mysterious castle. In the darkness of the castle there’s not much in terms of color. However, the color red really stands out and represents blood. Rose soon finds out that she has the ability to absorb the blood from these objects and can transfer it to others. You also learn that objects that lose their redness will stay in place, no matter where they are located. And once these objects regain their color, they’ll go in motion once again. With this ability, Rose will eventually befriend a giant that she can command to help her with large objects or to throw her to out of reach places. You’ll be making use of this ability, along with the giant, in order to solve the many obstacles throughout the game.

THE GOOD: The main difference with this game from The Firefly Diary, is that you’ll have full control of the character you’re trying to keep alive. I will admit, it was frustrating dealing with the inability to directly control the main character in The Firefly Diary, given the situations you were presented. By having direct control of Rose, things feel less left to chance and more in your hands. While more traditional, there is still some non-traditional mechanics present. This is not only with Rose’s ability to absorb blood, but also the character switching you’ll need to do between Rose and the giant. It does kind of take away that high difficulty that I really liked in The Firefly Diary, but does allow for a more pleasant experience overall.

Also, the game does a great job in explaining how its world works. It eases you in with some easy puzzles and then gradually increases in difficulty from there. Many of which are clever and will take some thinking in order to solve. I did find a couple puzzles that maybe asked for a bit much in terms of not doing a good job in making it clear on what they wanted. While it is disappointing at times to run into those, I would say the game is pretty fair in its designs throughout and provides enough difficulty that you become very satisfied with yourself after its completion. There are even some side puzzles to solve in the form of hidden memories. These are scattered throughout and can take some extra effort to solve, but they help add to the story. They are missable, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely optional. Since you’ll require a certain amount of memories collected in order to progress. While a little disappointing to have something like that being forced, I found most of them not that difficult to discover.

Much like The Firefly Diary, A Rose in the Twilight has a unique way of telling its story. There’s not much text present as you play, so you’re not constantly being flooded with the game’s lore. What you do get though is various notes that you’ll find as you play the game. Reading these helps fill in what’s going on in this world that Rose has stepped into. Along with the hidden memories of lost souls, you’ll soon be able to piece it all together. It’s not quite like The Firefly Diary where you got no text at all, so you will have a much easier time figuring out the story, rather than having everything being left to your own interpretations.

It is a unique way to tell things, but just like I found with The Firefly Diary, it’s an effective way to tell a story. By becoming deeply involved in trying to figure out what it going on, I feel it made the story have much more impact on me. Once I got to that point of knowing what’s going on, the final moments of the game really were memorable. Mainly because at that point I was so invested in it and was pushing toward experiencing the game’s conclusion.

THE BAD: The artstyle of the game is similar to The Firefly Diary and was still charming in its own way, but there’s much less color. I loved the colorful world of The Firefly Diary, so seeing a similar look being done in A Rose in the Twilight but with less color, left me wishing there was more. The lack of colors though does help with that overall mysterious aura that the game is trying to evoke though, and having the color red stick out does help the player figure out how to progress. Still, after seeing how well they used various colors before, I couldn’t help but feel let down with their choice of color palette.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: I was happy to see another game by the team that created The Firefly Diary, and A Rose in the Twilight didn’t disappoint me. While I would’ve preferred a more colorful world, the emptiness that is present makes sense for what the game is. I appreciate the fact that they opted for a more traditional control layout, but still managed to add some unique flair to it, thanks to the giant and blood absorption. The storytelling continues to be the main highlight for me though, or mainly lack thereof. While not as lacking as their previous title, I enjoyed having to piece together what happened through the various notes and memories you found. Its a beautiful world with a mysterious aura that I couldn’t help but want to solve. I may prefer the previous game over this new one, but I highly recommend both. This was its own adventure that I had lot of joy experiencing and I very much look forward to the next title this team creates.

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