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Little Briar Rose (PC) artwork

Little Briar Rose (PC) review

"A charming point-and-click adventure with a spellbinding art style, but one whose intended audience isnít always clear."

The first thing players will notice about Elf Game Works' Little Briar Rose is its visual style. The majority of this Italian teamís charming point-and-click adventure is presented in a beautiful stained-glass effect, with everything from the backgrounds to the characters youíll meet painted in thick black lines and filled in with bright, vivid colours. Itís a look that pairs especially well with the gameís subject matter--a retelling of the Brothers Grimmís Sleeping Beauty, this time focusing on the struggle of the prince--and is likely to appeal to adults as much as it will entrance children. But does the game hold up as a complete package?

Little Briar Rose's gameplay is standard, albeit slightly diluted, point-and-click fare, mainly requiring players to interact with the game world's various fairy tale characters, and to solve their problems so that the flamboyantly-attired prince can continue progressing toward the castle where the sleeping princess waits. Items can be picked up from the ground, fished out of lakes, obtained from NPCs or even plucked from of the sky itself, and must be combined, exchanged or gifted to the worldís inhabitants in order to obtain spirits that (once a maze mini-game is solved) will unlock new areas to explore.

Little Briar Rose (PC) image

The game is incredibly lenient, allowing players to attempt to solve puzzles as many times as they need, always cheekily plonking them back -- this time in control of a new, differently attired prince -- at the exact same point where they most recently hit a wall, complete with their full haul of items. This convenience, combined with the game's simple controls and, big, bold icons, make it clear that Little Briar Rose's developers wanted their title to be accessible even by children, though its writing also provides plenty for grownups to enjoy, with a good dash of subtle humour and one or two clever twists to the classic tale.

There are occasional niggles, such as when you spend tens of minutes clomping around the same sections of forest, attempting to use an inventory item on anything you might have missed in an effort to progress, until you finally happen to notice that a part of the scenery can be interacted with; or when a characterís dialogue gives the impression that they are not associated with a quest, only for you to discover that repeated attempts to interact will eventually yield the information that you require. However, the game mostly progresses at a decent pace and, at just over two hours (barring any real puzzle-related disasters), it never outstays its welcome.

Little Briar Rose (PC) image

Little Briar Rose's mini-games, which pop up at pivotal moments and range from fishing to following a woodland creature's cooking instructions, are nicely presented and easy to understand, but rarely provide much of a challenge. Some were clearly designed with tablet rather than mouse in mind, which results in less than stellar performances when using the latter, and most of the diversions are a little too basic to be any real fun. They do, however, lend themselves well to the lighthearted fairy tale narrative on offer, and they provide a welcome break from from the standard point-and-click gameplay. Kudos also has to be given to the gameís artist for providing players with so much on which to feast their eyes.

Little Briar Rose (PC) image

For its asking price, Little Briar Rose is a solid if simple adventure, and provides a far more satisfying gameplay experience than many other games of its ilk that are available for mobile platforms. It straddles a difficult middle-ground, however, by neither being 100 percent accessible to children--who will lack the attention span required to solve some of the less well executed puzzles--while also failing to offer sufficient challenge for adult gamers. Perhaps with a little parental guidance, Little Briar Rose could prove to be a fun introduction to the point-and-click genre for younger players, but for everyone else, itís a game that, however charming and pleasant to look at, can only really be enjoyed as a way of passing the time on a long-haul flight or over the course of a rainy weekend.


otokonomiyaki's avatar
Freelance review by Philip Kendall (January 09, 2017)

Writer & video game junkie based in York, England. Read my game-related ramblings and ill-advised political rants on Twitter @otokonomiyaki.

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Nightfire posted January 09, 2017:

The snobby aesthete in me wants to play this game solely to drink in its beautiful art style, and I might just pick it up at some point for that reason. I've never heard of this title before now, so thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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