Bramble: The Mountain King Game

Bramble: The Mountain King is a single-player adventure platformer video game, developed on the Unreal 4 engine by Swedish game developer Dimfrost Studio and published under Merge Studio. Dimfrost Studio is known for previously creating the story exploration game A Writer and His Daughter (2017); Bramble: The Mountain King is only the second game to be released by the developers. Since the release of the demo back in October 2022, the game has taken the internet by storm with social media posts going viral with over 180 million views.

Bramble The Mountain King takes you on a gripping and unsettling journey through stunning environments. Players take on the role of Olle, a young boy setting off to rescue his sister, kidnapped by a dreaded troll. However, not everything in Bramble is exactly how it seems. In this strange land with creatures big and small, you must be careful when to approach and when to hide. Many hungry and spiteful beasts lurk in these forests and caves. Call upon the Spark of Courage, an enchanted fragment granting the gifts you need to endure the pitfalls and trials in your path. Defeat the horrid creatures you encounter in different and unique ways. Be warned: courage without kindness can take you down a dark path.

Bramble: The Mountain King A Relaxing Walk


In contrast to its child-friendly demeanor, the game’s story is incredibly macabre in nature. Proudly wearing its moniker of a grim fairytale, the implementation of some heavy topics such as infanticide, suicide, minor abuse, and harm to animals—to name a few—would certainly be unsuitable for a younger audience. Not only are these dark elements interwoven into the story, they are also deeply attached to the game’s visual design as the player traverses incredibly grim scenes of death and destruction.

Despite this, Bramble: The Mountain King’s presentation is hardly all doom and gloom. Expressing a huge continuing fluctuation in tone from oppressive to serene, this shifting atmosphere assists in maintaining the unsettling strength of its dark subject matter on the player, rather than becoming desensitized through overuse. Indeed, sun-drenched scenes of picturesque forest landscapes full of cute folklore entities such as friendly red-capped gnomes, stone golems, and other gregarious beings are the polar opposite of the stifling darkness and horrific creatures that also call this enchanted forest home.

Additionally, certain aspects of the story are delivered through interactive books scattered throughout the game. Reciting condensed versions of the tales these Nordic creatures are based upon, they offer an informative yet non-intrusive means to further the story’s lore to those who are unaware of their origins. Although these books could be skipped entirely, it is highly recommended to first-time players to take the time to fully envelop themselves in these stories and become engrossed in this beautifully grim folklore.

There is no spoken character dialog throughout the game, where all necessary plot is superbly narrated to the player by well-known voice actor Nola Kopp. Her beguiling performance irrefutably reinforces the sense of a tale being recited to a group of scared, yet enticed children.


As a platform adventure game, death is ever around the corner. One misplaced step or mistimed jump could easily spell the end for the young protagonist, accompanied by a disturbingly gruesome, detailed death animation. However, the deaths will scarcely be caused by difficulty, where the countless deaths the player will encounter never feel cheap and are usually their own fault.

Furthermore, Bramble: The Mountain King features puzzles scattered throughout the game, and with no contemporary fighting mechanics all encounters with enemies require some level of puzzle-based solution to succeed. Ranging from simple to tricky, the multitude of different styles of problem-solving undoubtedly adds plenty of variation to the gameplay. Additionally, the game features an intuitive means of instilling game mechanics in the player before they are required in an undeniably skillful way.

Although certain areas feel open and explorable, the game is incredibly linear with a set path the player is to follow. Though not outright punished for straying off this beaten path, little to nothing that rewards such exploration is left for the player to discover. The game successfully avoids confusing navigation through the use of a fixed, cinematic camera; displaying the intended path of progression to gently push the player in the intended direction. In the same way, this forced perspective is exploited to facilitate an amazing build-up to grandiose set pieces and monumental scripted events, inspiring either stunned awe or unsettled terror depending on the situation.

Bramble: The Mountain King Butcher Shop

As the protagonist’s scale is much smaller than that of their surroundings, boss battles feel slightly reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus in sheer scale. With these terrifying creatures dwarfing you in both size and deadliness, these epic throwdowns lean towards the game’s puzzle elements rather than a traditional fight. The blend of dodging blows, learning patterns, and delivering enigmatic attacks provides an adequate challenge during their sporadic occurrence. Player movement speed is seemingly capped quite low for an unreal engine game, seemingly by design to aid in this characteristic of diminution. However, some rhythmic bunnyhopping can immensely increase this speed (little tip from your ol’ pal Jim).

A gaming highlight of 2023, Bramble: The Mountain King is an astounding voyage into the timeless, macabre fairytales of yesteryear. With its beautiful graphics, engrossing story, and haunting soundtrack the game is a uniquely refreshing, yet undeniably familiar experience. The implementation of Nordic folklore delivers an interesting look into relatively lesser-known fables and creatures in addition to the origins of more recognisable critters. Although the game is only around 4-5 hours in length, the perfect pacing and captivating story all equate to a thoroughly enjoyable, gratifying experience I struggled to put down. Sure to satiate platform gamers, adventure players as well as those interested in fairytales and fables.

Bramble: The Mountain King is available on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox X/S, and Nintendo Switch from April 27th, 2023

More Video Game Reviews