Ukiyo – The Sound of Spring: A Crumbling Prince Tale [Hivemind Review]

The Sound of Spring: A Crumbling Prince Tale is a free text adventure created by Ukiyo in Melbourne, Australia.

Water color of an unusual character named Tom-Tom

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Text adventure

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-4

Play Time: 30-45 minutes

Price: free

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

Your band of 2-4 characters is on a quest to end the Long Winter. You each possess unique characteristics that enable you to interact with the environment and its inhabitants in different ways. You explore the world by reading text passages and choosing among a set of predetermined options to interact with it. More choices become available as you and your companions discover new information.

Watercolor of a branch of cherry blossoms.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

Matthew Stein’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

The Sound of Spring: A Crumbling Prince Tale is an elegant and artful virtual prelude to Ukiyo’s in-person The Crumbling Prince escape rooms — rooms which are now solidly on my escape room travel list.

Cleverly presented through a multiplayer text adventure, The Sound of Spring is designed for 2-4 players with unique abilities divided across each of their characters. This encouraged plenty of information sharing and gave each player moments to shine. The characters, prose, and illustrations all evoked a vivid world rooted in Japanese folklore, and as a folk musician myself, I was delighted to play a game centered around traditional Japanese musical instruments. (Though no outside musical knowledge is required to play, I encourage you to look up and perhaps listen to instruments you haven’t heard of before.)

I adore this sort of creative narrative extension of an escape room. The Sound of Spring demonstrates how to start to immerse players in a game’s narrative and aesthetic before they even arrive at the physical room, as well as how to respectfully and tastefully pull from rich narrative traditions that are largely underutilized in the escape room world.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

We had to help the elders of our folk to rescue the spring festival and end the winter.

At its best, the mythical story came along with some pretty awesome artwork. I sometimes criticize games for having a lot to read through. Funny enough, this text-heavy adventure never felt like there was “too much to read.”

At its worst, teamwork in this game was delivered through each player finding different clues. While this is a nice idea, the concept could be taken a lot further and used in more creative ways than just having different dialogs between the players.

This is, in fact, a free game and for the cute story you get, it’s definitely worth a quick play.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Evoking text adventures of yesteryear, this game’s whimsical storyline, silly characters, and straightforward, discovery-based puzzles made it a breezy way to spend a bit of free time. The main challenge was figuring out an effective strategy to communicate among characters, which is a typical task for split-information games but somehow had a fresh feel in a text adventure. I played this game twice – once with two players and once with four. Adding more players slightly expanded the world, and I found the fourth character (Tanuki) to have the most entertaining personality.

Whether by design or accident, some aspects of this game felt rather chaotic. Different areas presented different choices to different characters depending on what other choices that character had made already. However, the game didn’t provide any signals that this was happening, so the uncertain sense that words and options had changed was disorienting for a while. Also, there were various areas and objects that contributed nothing other than ambiance. I expected to revisit them when we had more information, so the ending caught me quite off guard. However, these observations contributed to the quirky nature of the game and were a big reason why I played it again as a different character.

Overall, this was a featherweight adventure that offered a simple opportunity to explore, communicate, and laugh a bit. It’s worthwhile as a free, fast, cute option for connecting with friends.

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