The games industry is going through an interesting shift as of late, and AA and indie games have started to rise in popularity once again thanks to the power of social media and development tools that enable small teams to create games that rival the very best of AAA experiences at a fraction of the cost and resources. We have had the chance to experience so many fantastic games of this Unreal Engine in the last few years, and there’s no shortage of similar experiences shortly as well – and this feature series is dedicated to such games.
Today, we will be putting a spotlight on developer Dimfrost’s upcoming Bramble: The Mountain King, which looks like a throwback to the adventure games of the past. Of course, there’s a lot more to it as well, and it’s a combination of those factors that make Bramble: The Mountain King a game that’s worth keeping your eyes open for since it could easily be one of the dark horses of the near future.
Defrost is a small indie studio that started in 2017, and now the studio has become a part of the Zordix conglomerate which also includes other AA developers like Reply Game Studios which recently released Soulstice to great critical acclaim. Defrost has previously worked on a VR game by the name of A Writer And His Daughter, which touches on the same themes of love and companionship that Bramble: The Mountain King seems to be trying to tackle as well. That said, it’s easily a much bigger project than what came before – and we can’t help but be excited about it.
Bramble: The Mountain King is set against the backdrop of a fantastical world that’s heavily inspired by dark fables. You assume the role of Olle, a young and impressionable boy who embarks on a quest to save his sister. Considering the inspirations, it’s rather obvious that the game also features entities with dark powers that haunt these places, and Olle will have to find a way to defeat these entities to save his sister from their clutches.
Sure, that might be a pretty simple setup compared to contemporaries of the genre, but it’s a good framework to spotlight these seemingly lovable characters as they overcome insurmountable odds in these hostile lands. The narrative might dive deeper into the lore aspects and evolve into a story that’s much bigger than what we know at the moment. But either way, we are hoping Dimfrost will be able to tell a compelling story, one that puts the spotlight on these characters. If it manages to do just that, the story would end up being one that players will remember long after the credits roll.
Over on the gameplay front, Bramble: The Mountain King is presented through a fixed camera perspective that mostly functions at a bird-eye view angle. Olle must use his wits to explore the game’s fantastical world and try to overcome any obstacles that lie between him and his goal – and that can range from literal obstructions that need to be cleared out to enemies that require to be dodged or defeated to anything and everything in between these two extremes. In that regard, it’s like Little Nightmares since it also tries to mix adventure and horror with its brand of gameplay.
While there’s going to be the main path that will guide you towards your goal, Olle would also have the ability to veer away from that beaten path at times in search of additional rewards and secrets that will help you better understand this twisted world, its history, and the many legends about the beasts that inhabit these lands. Boss fights against gigantic creatures will also punctuate the journey, and you will have to use your wits in these tense situations to get to the other side – and we can’t wait to see what the game has in store for the final release.
The levels themselves also have a great deal of variety amongst them, and there’s also the sheer sense of scale that you feel with you being just a tiny creature in a gargantuan land. One moment you’re crawling your way through tree roots, and the next you are trying to find your way through a dimly lit underground area by manipulating blocks and platforms to chart a safe path. The level design seems to have a sense of flow to them, and while there are plenty of puzzles that will have to be solved to continue – they seem to be striking the perfect balance in terms of complexity and difficulty to not interrupt the rhythmic nature of the gameplay.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the visuals. Suffice it to say, Bramble: The Mountain King looks gorgeous in terms of visual fidelity – and a lot of that can be credited to the stunning art direction on display. Defrost paints a beautiful world that has a grand sense of scale, and everything from the distinct characters you will meet throughout your journey to the varied environments has tons of personality within them – and we can’t wait to explore them in all their glory. Of course, the fact that the developer is using Unreal Engine for this project also helps that case by a significant margin – and the game boasts high-quality textures, smooth animations along with plenty of post-processing effects that all culminate to give the game a clean and crisp look – which is essential for a game like this that relies on the visuals to deliver a captivating experience.
Speaking about release dates, Dimfrost hasn’t provided a firm release date just yet. Bramble: The Mountain King has been in development for a couple of years now, and while the game was previously scheduled to be released in 2022 – it has now been pushed over to 2023. Because we already have access to a free demo to try out the game, it seems fair to assume that the game will most likely be able to meet its updated release date with relative ease. As always, it’s advisable to let the development run its due course instead of hurrying to meet a release date for the best results.
In so many ways, Bramble: The Mountain King reminds us of adventure games like ICO among others – primarily because it’s taking players on a wondrous ride through a fantastical world coupled with a simple but effective story and powerful storytelling. Defrost seems to have a great sense of how to craft experiences that have a sense of flow to them, and one that encourages its players to take the time to smell the roses, and these types of games seem to be becoming the next big thing – as evident by the popularity of the recently released Stray. Hopefully, Bramble: The Mountain King can live up to its potential.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.
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