On paper, Little Briar Rose isn't anything particularly exciting. It's a competent side-scrolling adventure title, a rookie effort from developer Elf Games, that retells the Grimm fairy tale of the same name. But the game's visuals, painstakingly crafted to look like an animated stained glass window on every frame, are downright breathtaking. In a sea of pixelated graphics and safe me-too styles, Little Briar Rose is a breath of fresh air.

You play as the archetypical prince on a quest to save Princess Aurora (yes, that Aurora - this is based on the story that's usually called "Sleeping Beauty" in English) from a castle surrounded by an enchanted forest. Underneath the stunning visuals it's a fairly straightforward point-and-click adventure game, progressing the story through simple exploration, inventory management, and puzzles, without any twitchy combat to get in the way. There's a bit of a roguelike element to the setup - if you fail in any of the essential tasks, your prince gets turned into one of the forest denizens, and the game starts over with a new (and unique) prince errant who can recover the previous prince's equipment. Any particularly challenging sections can be remedied with a hint from the resident fairy.

image image (2) image (3)

image (4) image (6) image (7)

Outside of the primary quest there are plenty of distractions as players advance through the various locations. The narrative is a bit simple, perhaps meant more for kids than adults, but the visuals and music should be more than enough to hold your attention. Little Briar Rose was published simultaneously on the Play Store, the iOS App Store, Amazon's Appstore, and Steam. The Play Store gets the best deal out of the bunch with a $2.49 price tag and no in-app purchases, but unfortunately there's no cloud save function or Android TV compatibility.