Bramble: The Mountain King Review – Impatience is Not Your Friend
Bramble: The Mountain King review
Developer: Dimfrost Studio
Publisher: Merge Games
Platform(s): Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, & Nintendo Switch
Cute, tiny gnomes, pine cone kings, blood and guts, trolls, creepy crying cribs, dead babies, zombies, and a giant murderous mountain king are what await you in Bramble: The Mountain King. Bramble: The Mountain King brings Nordic folklore to the forefront with puzzle gameplay and Little Nightmares-esque panic horror. It’s a beautiful game with incredible environments and the creepiest atmosphere while telling a menacing Grimm-like fairytale.
The story unfolds perfectly as you weave your way through the forest interacting with cute little gnomes, creepy trolls, and many different sinister entities that keep you on your toes. Bramble: The Mountain King has made a name for itself as one of the best indie games of 2023.
The graphics are not the highest of the highs, but they work beautifully for this game and the story they are telling. They do a good job of keeping the atmosphere ominous and frightening. Some of the most beautiful scenery comes from the forest you are wandering through with giant, tall trees and sprawling meadows full of wildflowers. However, the creepiest of environments come from your interactions with the trolls who eat humans and you’ll find yourself wading through bloody rivers, human remains, and decay.
They did a great job with consistency as Olle would go through mud and his skin would appear muddy or go through a bloody river and his skin would be covered in blood, it made it feel all the more real and disturbing.
You play as a small child named Olle looking for his older sister Lillemor when he wakes up in the middle of the night to find her missing. She eventually gets captured by a troll and it’s Olle’s job to rescue her. On this unsettling journey, Olle must traverse this magical world and determine friend versus foe. As you continue through the woods to find your sister you interact and save little gnomes who make the forest their home, travel on the backs of hedgehogs, and even get help from a frog king.
Olle also must escape trolls who are hungry for human flesh and even witches who have brought the dead back to life to terrorize humanity. All the while, you find out the mountain king has set these terrors in motion because of the loss of his son. In good versus evil fashion you are carrying a glowing stone because light defeats darkness as you work to save your sister’s life.
Bramble: The Mountain King is not an open world so you are guided to your objectives pretty easily. There weren’t any moments where I wasn’t sure which direction to go or how to get there. You run around as a pint-sized child in a large world so everything is much bigger than you which makes it even more terrifying. The game is full of easy puzzles like putting together potions to open doors, gathering gnomes, find cranks to open windows or lift objects, and running through the right path as you’re being chased by enemies.
There are two types of collectibles: storybooks and figurines. The figurines are somewhat hidden but if you’re paying attention to your surroundings they’re easily attained. The storybooks are out in the open and continue the main storyline of the game by giving you insight into the bigger picture. The game is mildly difficult and a bit frustrating as you get hit once or fall once and your dead and must start over which made boss fights a bit tedious. With patience, you’ll figure out the pattern and success will be yours.
Overall this game was incredible to play. It has a pretty short playtime but I think it fit the story without feeling like it was dragging. The gnomes are a precious addition and you can’t help but want to save them, especially when you get the chance to ride on the back of a hedgehog. The story WAS disturbing, especially when it came to the woman who is trying to sacrifice a baby but I wanted to keep going and find out what was happening in this strange little world. I think Dimfrost made a wonderful game and I am very excited to see what else they come up with in the future.
A bibliophile geek who enjoys reading both novels and comics but has always had a love of video games. She has been working her way through classic games she didn’t have a chance to play like Mass Effect, Uncharted, and Dragon Age.