Little Briar Rose ($2.99) by Mangatar is a point-and-click adventure game the retells the story of “Sleeping Beauty” by the Brothers Grimm in a beautiful, stained-glass style wrapper. If you enjoyed games like Valiant Hearts and Broken Age, but feel like living in a fairy tale world, then you will like what Little Briar Rose has to offer.
When I was a kid, I grew up doing a lot of reading and watching Disney movies, so naturally, fairy tales were a big part of my life. There was nothing more exciting at the time for me other than sitting down and watching things that featured the Disney princesses, and dreaming of being a fairy tale princess myself. Of course, as I grew up, I discovered that the Disney versions of classic fairy tale stories are much more innocent than the real stories, which can be much darker and grim than their Disney iterations. While I still love Disney, I like to rediscover fairy tales in their original form, so when I first heard of Little Briar Rose, I knew it was something I had to check out for myself.
Visually, Little Briar Rose is one of the most gorgeous games you’ll end up seeing on the App Store this year. In fact, whether you like fairy tales or not, there’s no doubt that the stained glass-style graphics will cause your head to turn, even if you don’t care about the “Briar Rose” story. The game’s unique style is stunningly beautiful with whimsical environments and characters that are full of incredible detail and bursting with their own distinctive personalities. Everything is hand-drawn with care and precision, which makes the game even more impressive. The color palette in Little Briar Rose is bright and vibrant, and having various hues and shades in each stained glass tile gives everything a bit of depth and life. I was always a fan of stained glass when I was younger, and it’s amazing to see it all come to life in this game. Animations are buttery smooth and fluid, so there is no lag on my iPhone 7. The game also has a quirky, magical soundtrack in the background that immerses you into the game world, and the sound effects are charming, to say the least.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story of “Briar Rose,” or more popularly known as “Sleeping Beauty,” then here’s the gist of the game’s plot: there’s a legend of a castle that is surrounded by thorny brambles from a forest that is inhabited by many magical critters, and a princess sleeping in said castle. The only one who can save her is a fearless prince, of course! Since the game is a point-and-click adventure with many puzzles to solve along the way, everything is linear. You will have to control the prince and help him find clues to the puzzles in order to make his way to the castle, but watch out — if you make a mistake, your current prince may meet some unfortunate magical event, and then the next prince in the line will have to pick up where the previous prince left off. There will be a whole dynasty of princes to go through on the quest to save the princess, but only one will succeed.
The controls in Little Briar Rose are simple enough and feel natural, especially if you’ve played any point-and-click game before. To move your prince around on the screen, just tap on where you want him to walk over to. If there are any peculiar objects in the environment that look interesting, chances are you can interact with it. This is done by tapping on the object or the environment when a “!” symbol appears on the screen. You can also communicate with other characters and NPCs by tapping on them when you are standing next to them. It’s important to investigate pretty much everything, because there are many hidden clues throughout the forest that you’ll need to solve the puzzles. If you find items that you can stash away to use later, just tap on the “bag” icon in the upper right corner to access your items and select the one you want to use. If you’re stuck, you can tap on the “hint” button to get some help from your fairy guide, but a simple puzzle will have to be solved first before the fairy decides to nudge you in the right direction.
As you make progress in the game, you’ll discover a myriad of different puzzles to solve and mini-games to play in order to advance. Each one will have its own control scheme, but everything is fairly self-explanatory so it isn’t too hard to figure out. However, if you fail to clear the puzzle, then your prince will experience an unfortunate magical event, such as being turned into a gnome, and then you’ll have to take control of the successor and continue from where you left off. Fortunately, the fairy guide fills in the successor on all of the details and takes you directly to where you were, so you don’t have to go through everything before that point again, at least.
Little Briar Rose also has plenty of a achievements to obtain, and there are a ton of hints to various western and eastern traditions, as well as references to classic Disney tales, in case you’re a die-hard and get delighted with small details. There is a lot of dialogue in the game, so reading through is a must if you want to get the best experience when playing.
I’m still very early on in the game, but I’m loving it so far. The graphics are downright exquisite and something that has not been seen before in an iOS game, so it breaths new life into the market. The music is delightful as well, making you feel like you’re truly in a fairy tale. Controls are simple enough for anyone to understand, and the puzzles are not too frustrating if you know what you’re doing. Overall, Little Briar Rose is a fun and whimsical point-and-click adventure that is plenty of fun for everyone, regardless if they’re a fan of fairy tales to begin with.
I highly recommend checking out Little Briar Rose if you’re looking for a magical point-and-click experience on mobile. You can get Little Briar Rose on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for just $2.99. There are no in-app purchases.