Bramble Mountain King is a small indie-action adventure heavily inspired by Nordic tales. You are playing Olle a small boy searching for her sister Lillemor who disappeared from their bedroom in the middle of the night. After they got shrunk magically and Lillemor being kidnapped by a troll it is your task to follow Lillemors traces and rescue her.
Your search for Lillemor bring you along Nordic scenery like a wood, lake sides and swamp lamps. The game is fully linear with a good variety of small puzzles, fights including boss encounters and escape sequences. The Boss encounters are the highlight of the game and are based on Scandinavian folklore. You must escape the water spirit Nix for example who is trying to hunt you with his cursed melody or from a troll’s home. Being an indie-game, those fights are limited gameplaywise. The bosses have clear pattern with only little variety, and you have to hit predefined targets clearly marked by the UI using a stone or by illuminating them with the lamp Olle is carrying. Still these encounters are entertaining, and their design becomes better and darker towards the end of the game. Starting from a fairy tale like atmosphere the Bramble Mountain King gradually evolves into a darker and crueler horror-story towards the end.
The puzzles are simple and require you to find and use certain items like a key or to combine certain objects in the right way. They do not excel compared to other games in the genre but fit well into the overall flow of the game. Same as with the boss fights interaction is limited and all objects you can interact with are clearly marked once you hover over it. Occasionally you also find books telling you more about the story of the Mountain King giving the game its name. While Olle and Lillemor remain silent during cutscenes and when reading the books, a female narrator voice comments on the story. This voice cast is excellent as it really made me feel as listing to audio books of fairy tales.
Technically the game is decently implemented. Controls feel a bit laggy and unprecise sometimes often leading to let Olle jump into wrong direction and not aiming properly at enemies. As the game anyway never relies on fast reaction times and more on understanding the anyway simple boss patterns. The graphics are good. The characters are well designed and cur scenes are of good quality. Only drawbacks are that animations for Olle are not state of the art and it is clearly visible that cutbacks had to be made for the Switch version I played. Without having seen the PlayStation version still I would recommend this version more as the games excellent atmosphere is anyway better suited to be experienced on a TV-screen.
Bramble Mountain King is a good game for those interested strong narrative indie-games and a must-play for those interested in Scandinavian folklore and tales.
- Scandinavian folklore excellently brought into a narrative game
- boss fights well designed and becoming better over course of the game
- simple but interesting puzzles as counterpart to the boss fights
- clumsy controls annoys in passages where timing is required
- animations of main character outdates
- visually clear drawbacks of Switch port
“Bramble Mountain King excellently brings Scandinavian folklore into a dark/horror narrative game with some technical drawbacks for controls and visuals on Switch”
Sources: Screenshots: own screen captures