A Rose in the Twilight

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
A Rose in the Twilight Game Poster Image
Bleak yet heartwarming tale about teamwork, friendship.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Despite dark tone, there's actually a powerful message of friendship. Rose begins her tale scared of Giant, but through working together, they build a deep bond of friendship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Both Rose, Giant are trying to escape their cursed prison, but both also understand that by working together, they can accomplish more than they ever could alone.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, but you're constantly switching between characters, activating/deactivating time; moving objects gets pretty tricky. Slow movement, weak jumps, increasing puzzle difficulty boost frustration.

Violence

Blood, death are central themes. Rose absorbs, transfers blood to/from her cursed thorns to affect time. Some blood she collects includes memories of those who died. Rose herself dies frequently, including a suicide option if she gets stuck; otherwise user needs to restart an area. Some of her deaths are more gory than others, including getting crushed, impaled.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Rose in the Twilight is a downloadable adventure/puzzle game for the PC and PlayStation Vita. The game features strong themes of friendship and teamwork, despite darker horror undertones. There's a lot of violence in the game, both in the memories Rose experiences from absorbing pools of blood and in the multiple ways that she regularly falls victim to the castle's various death traps. The game features simple controls, but constantly controlling two characters can be complicated. Also, the puzzles get progressively more difficult and frustrating but stop just shy of feeling impossible to overcome.

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What's it about?

In A ROSE IN THE TWILIGHT, players take on the dual roles of Rose and the Giant. Waking in a dark castle with no memory of her past or how she got there, Rose is disturbed to discover the world around her is frozen in time. Even more frightening, she finds a cursed flower growing from her back, its thorns drawing in nearby pools of blood and then restoring life and time to the objects around her. Trying to escape her prison, Rose stumbles across the Giant, a hulking behemoth of massive strength and kind heart who instantly works to help protect Rose from the dangers around her. Alone, neither could make their way from the castle walls, but together the two may finally find a way out and possibly discover the secrets of their past along the way. 

Is it any good?

Sometimes even the darkest stories can have a way of tugging at your heartstrings. Even surrounded by doom and gloom, there's still a heart of gold buried underneath. That's certainly the case when it comes to A Rose in the Twilight. The game is unquestionably dark, with Rose perpetually dying in many different ways, sometimes forced to do so just to advance a little bit further. And then there are the memories of those that came before, portrayed as a theatrical performance by shadows in silhouette. A Rose in the Twilight could almost be considered a horror show if it wasn't so hauntingly adorable at the same time. Neither Rose nor the Giant are ever presented as monsters. Instead, they're sympathetic characters you grow to care for as the game progresses, as much as they grow to care for each other. You can't help but feel the pangs of guilt anytime you send Rose yet another demise, and you can't help but feel pride and satisfaction for getting her past yet another death trap.

A Rose in the Twilight is a gorgeously gothic experience. Its style and personality shine through its otherwise bleak appearance. Even so, the game isn't without its flaws. For starter, the game progresses at a snail's pace. Rose and the Giant are both slow and almost plodding characters. This can get a little more frustrating when you're forced to backtrack to empty Rose's Thorn Power. Oftentimes, you'll hit an area that requires Rose to drain an object, but you're still carrying blood charge from earlier; Rose can only drain the life blood from one item at a time and can't otherwise empty her flower unless it's into a specific object. This forces you to backtrack to the nearest frozen object to empty the Thorn Power into before making your way back to where you were. This gets more frustrating later in the game, especially as the puzzles get more and more complicated, and things like precise timing become more of an issue. Still, even at its most difficult, you never feel like things are impossible. It may take more work, more patience, and more forethought, but there's always a glimmer of hope that Rose and the Giant will overcome whatever this cursed castle tosses their way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Could the game have been made without the focus on blood and violence? Would it even have the same impact?

  • Talk about teamwork. How can working together as a team help you overcome obstacles too great to overcome alone?

  • Discuss problem-solving. What are some good ways to find solutions to problems? How does trial and error help us to learn from our mistakes?

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