Flower (PS3) – Review

Flower-cover Flower, a downloadable title for the PS3 from thatgamecompany follows up on their previous flOw game, making it less a game with objectives and more an experience to relax with. It’s a very simple game to learn, and won’t take much time to complete, but it’s a game to take in its beauty, visual and audio experience, and relaxing demeanor.  It is a tad costly for the brief experience, and certainly not going to be a hard core game, but it is still a excellent product.

Gameplay: A-

Flower isn’t very complex and keeps to a nice free-flowing form, making the game more a relaxation piece than an intense experience.  You use the PS3 SixAxis tilt features to control a petal as it floats about fields; pressing a face button will cause the petal to move faster. About the fields are other flowers that as you pass over will bloom and release another petal that joins the one you control; as you keep doing this, you start amassing a colorful plume of petals with a slightly wider range of influence as it gets larger.

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Certain flower sets, when you pass over them, will cause a change in the environment, usually opening the route into the next area to explore; however, there are several other flowers that just help to add to the color explosion.  The earlier levels are more in this fashion; the last few levels feature some other twists that aren’t too far off from this core mechanic but help to keep the game interesting without overwhelming; for example by running your petal plume over an area of a field to trigger the next event, or bursting through a barrier once you get your plume large enough.  Only a few levels feature any negative effect; touching an electrified structure will “burn” some of your petals off, but best as I could tell, you couldn’t ever die in the game.

The only major problem on the gameplay was the use of the SixAxis; since you can only use the controller to direct where your flower petals are going which orients the view in that direction, it makes its hard to reorient yourself if you get too close to a wall or pass over a bunch of flowers you were aiming for, and it takes a while to get back.  Plus, there are limits to how far tilting the SixAxis will translate into necessary actions.

Value/Replayability: C

As only a word of caution, if you are simply looking to complete this game once, you’ll probably believe the cost value to be too high. It is a bit pricy for what it is (I’d like to have seen maybe 3 more levels on top of the 6 already there) but if you know what you are coming into, you can justify it easily.

Graphics: A

The game is beautiful, taking advantage of the PS3’s abilities with fanciful and whimsical environments; the motion of the petals among the grass is wonderfully done and nice and relaxing. I loved how each environment on one level hints at what the next level contains – for example, one level that involves working through rock canyons leads to wind turbines in the far distance near the end, and sets the stage for the next level.  Only one nit is that on one level taking place during night has too many dark areas that make it difficult to judge where to aim.

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Audio: A+

As with such games, music is highly integral to the game, and reminds me much of Rez in how the music is generated. A soft background track is always present, though varies as you move through each area, but when you pass over the flowers, you get little “pops” of instruments, creating a haphazard yet calming melody that fits the theme for each level.

Overall: A

Flower may not be a hardcore game, but its the type of game that you definitely need to experience.  If you’re not into this experimental games, it won’t turn you over, but otherwise, it is a nice little game to help relax and experience.

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One Response

  1. This is a great review! I linked to it in my blog so that more people found out about the game!

    http://tenfoxproductions.blogspot.com/2011/10/day-7-video-game-music.html

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