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Bramble: The Mountain King Review (PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

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Bramble: The Mountain King Review

Fairy tales and endless possibilities are like two peas in a pod. There are a myriad of outcomes that can happen in a fairy tale. Most of these, of course, are very unconventional. For instance, the shoe that is home to hundreds of orphaned children in “The Little Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe” or the brawny hair that can hold a man in “Rapunzel.” In this case, logic ceases to exist, which in turn sparks imagination.

Welcome to the Nordic world of Bramble, where frogs and apples are ten times your size, and your nemesis is a giant pig demon. As I said, anything goes with fairy tales. But Bramble: The Mountain King is not just any fairy tale; it's an immersive and epic adventure that beckons your imagination and lets you run with it. The game infuses eerie and ethereal scenes for a deep dive into the unsettling Nordic world. To put it plainly, this is not a game for the faint of heart. There were moments in the game where I would clutch my seat hard while holding my breath. For a minute, I forgot it was make-believe. 

Anyway, Bramble: The Mountain King is setting up quite a reputation. The game already holds two “Official Selection” titles from the London Games Festival, 2023, and Day of the Devs. Such epithets attest to how good a game is, but is it the right pick for you? Without further ado, here is Bramble: The Mountain King review. 

A Hansel and Gretel Quest?

Bramble: The Mountain King review

Bramble: The Mountain King tells the tale of two siblings, Olle and Lillemore. Olle wakes up one night to find his sister not in bed and a makeshift rope made of her bedsheets hanging outside the window. Guided by his childish curiosity, Olle ventures out to find his missing sister. Shortly after, Olle reconnects with his sister but then loses her as they wander the haunting, dark woods.  

Now, this is always the premise of every haunting tale. A lone stranger walks in the dark of night, unaware of what lies ahead. Bramble: The Mountain King manages to put you on the edge of your seat with a few jump scares, just when you're in the heat of the moment.

What's more, you play as Ollie, a child whose curiosity has got the best of him. The game will constantly remind you of this since some episodes will alter his state of mind. 

As you progress, Ollie gradually becomes accustomed to making choices with severe consequences. If you're a fan of fairy tales, you'll know that this is the highlight of most fictional stories. For instance, most fairy tales portray their main characters as the true embodiment of innocence. However, towards the end, we see a drastic change where the character engages in a paroxysm of anger for the sake of doing what is right. This game is no different.

Luckily, you'll have the aplomb of the narrator's voice guiding you through your journey as you confront the creatures and rescue Lillemore. 

Unlikely Friends and Foes

As you can tell already, Ollie's journey is perilous. This is further exacerbated by the queer creatures you come across. One minute you'll be encapsulated by the pinecones dancing in strange formations; the next, a massive and mysterious shadow lurks nearby. However, not every instance is marked by gore. You'll form unlikely alliances with frog kings, dwarfs, and stone giants. In some cases, you'll even play hide and seek with the gnomes. 

On the other hand, the Mountain King is a powerful and mysterious figure who rules over the game's wilderness. He is depicted as a towering, imposing figure with an otherworldly aura that inspires fear and respect.

Moreover, he is an elusive and enigmatic character, rarely seen or heard throughout the game. However, you will feel his presence as you navigate the wilderness and encounter the various creatures and obstacles he has created.

An impressive feature is the thoroughness of the creatures' designs. Every creature you encounter spews out horror due to how detailed they are. This is one of the other reasons why Bramble: The Mountain King is heavily enticing. Unfortunately, the developers paid less attention to the human characters. Each angle the camera covers on Olle or Lillemore appears cartoonish. 

It's all silent…except

Bramble lives up to the fairy tale notion by including narration throughout the game's length. You'll notice there's barely any dialogue between Olle and his sister. Occasionally, you'll hear sounds from creatures in the forest, and that's just about it.

A female voice takes you through the wondrous 3D landscape. The voice will describe your character's emotions and what happens in each scene. The game is framed as a fable. Hence, narration is essential to living up to the immersion the developer was keen on creating. 


Bramble: The Mountain King review

As a fable-themed game, Bramble lives up to the expectation of having an unlikely hero, a young boy with no skills whatsoever. This hints at the game's basic gameplay, where the most you can do as Olle is run, crouch, and jump. Later in the game, you'll come across a luminous weapon you can use for ranged attacks. The weapon is also helpful in clearing your path of thorny shrubs or illuminating the way. 

The game is designed as a platformer that follows a linear storyline. You'll often feel like the game is continuously plunging you forward, especially with the fixed camera. There is no room for exploration, even though the environment appears expansive. And, if you try to engage in unnecessary exploration, the camera angle will jolt you forward. Although this seems frustrating, it helps you find your way. 

Moreover, there are instances where you'll engage in combat. Unfortunately, the game reserves battle for the few bosses you'll encounter quite later in the game. Notwithstanding, it's still a splendid and unfathomable experience. The creatures each possess a unique character that adds depth to the gameplay. For instance, you'll encounter an airborne succubus who shields herself using the corpses of her old lovers. Or come across a nightmarish nymph who channels the lifeforms of the men it killed to decimate your character. Using your luminous weapon, you can fire projectiles at these grotesque creatures. 

Truthfully, a few hours into the game, things seemed bleak. But the developers summarize the game's storyline by meticulously infusing the themes of ritual sacrifice, mob violence, and infanticide. These themes seem pretty gory, but worry not; the infusion is elegantly handled for a seamless blend with the storyline. 

A Picturesque Escape and Soothing Sounds

Wandering into the woods in Bramble is like a breath of fresh air in the autumn. The incredible detail of the game's environment comes to life with each step you take. The game chooses to focus more on the atmosphere, and it heavily delivers. The hazy and atmospherically spooky ambiance takes over from the moment you set foot in the forest. Exploring the world feels like a chapter from a horror storybook, with blurry foregrounds, distant skills, and vibrant colors. 

The first hour of the game has some warmth to it. There's a false sense of security for those who don't know what they're getting into with this game. Shortly after, you're thwarted by a harsh environment where swamps swallow babies, and a murderous giant pig sprints towards you. 

The game's soundtrack is a mesmerizing and atmospheric composition that complements the game's immersive and captivating world. The music blends orchestral and ambient elements that create a sense of wonder and tension as you navigate the wilderness.

Moreover, the soundtrack is dynamic and changes depending on your actions and surroundings. For example, the music will become more intense and urgent during battles with creatures or dangerous situations. Conversely, the music will become more calming and serene during moments of exploration or contemplation.


Bramble: The Mountain King review

Bramble: The Mountain King is a mesmerizing and enchanting journey that takes you on a wild, incredible adventure through a beautifully crafted world. The game's unique blend of survival, crafting, and exploration mechanics creates a gameplay experience that is both challenging and rewarding. The vast and immersive open-world environment is filled with creatures and challenges to discover, making each moment of the game feel like a new and exciting adventure.

Moreover, the game's story and themes are compelling, drawing players into a world of wonder and mystery. As if that wasn't enough, the game's music and sound effects enhance the immersive experience, creating a captivating and atmospheric atmosphere.

So, what's your take? How would you rate Bramble: The Mountain King? Has it piqued your interest? Let us know over on our socials here or in the comments below.


Bramble: The Mountain King Review (PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

An Enchanting and Whimsical Adventure

Bramble: The Mountain King is a horror-adventure game by Dimfrost Studio and published by Merge Games. The game transports players to a world of magic and wonder. Its beautiful visuals, captivating gameplay, and enchanting story make it a must-play for anyone who loves adventure, exploration, and the thrill of discovery.

Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.