A Rose in the Twilight review for PS Vita, PC

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I’m a little late in playing A Rose in the Twilight, I know. In my defense, however, it’s not really a game that’s designed to be played in the warm, sunny summer months. It’s a dark, brooding game, the kind of thing that’s perfect to play as the leaves begin to fall and the days get shorter and shorter, when the oppressive winter months are looming on the horizon.

In fact, I’d argue that if you’re looking for something to play that fits the season, it’s hard to think of a better game than A Rose in the Twilight. We’re talking, after all, about a game where you’re playing as a young girl trying to escape from a dark castle, and the only way to open new segments is to collect enough “blood memories” — which is to say, the bloody remnants of people who met unfortunate ends — and where, once you find those memories, they get replayed for you in all their bloody details.

It’s also a game where, at some points, the young girl needs to give a blood sacrifice (of herself, naturally) in order to unlock certain doors.

And where retrying a section requires making the young girl cough up blood, before everything fades to black.

And, above all else, it’s a game where the young girl dies with incredible frequency.

As you may have guessed, that last point is actually a feature of A Rose in the Twilight, not a by-product of me playing it badly. That’s not to say I didn’t play it badly — I’m sure I did — but, at the same time, as a puzzle-platformer, it’s the kind of game where you’re expected to try out different solutions, and it just so happens that trying and failing means killing a young girl in the process.

That said, your mileage will likely vary on just how much she dies. The puzzles here aren’t incredibly challenging — for the most part, it’s just a matter of figuring out when and where to use the girl to do something, and when you should instead be using the giant creature that accompanies her everywhere. There are some rooms where you may have to look things through before acting, and others that you’ll have to replay if you want to do everything the game wants you to do, but for the most part, it’s pretty straightforward.

Good thing, too, because A Rose in the Twilight is so focused on mood, distracting you from that with excessively hard puzzles would be a bit of a shame. This is the sort of game that needs to be experienced, rather than played — and if you’re looking for the perfect time of year to do that, it’s right now, so you’d better hurry up and get on it.

Grade: B+