- Posted February 9th, 2009 at 11:00 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 42 Comments
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Flower blooms then wilts away.
- The excellent implementation of the Sixaxis controller
- The vibrant visuals in the first three levels
- The flowing and hypnotic gameplay
- The sudden thematic shift after the third level
- Having only two hours of gameplay with little replay value
From the creators behind the surreal PlayStation Network game, flOw, Flower is ThatGameCompany’s latest bite-sized, downloadable offering that is all set to spread its multicolored love with a fine sprinkling of flower petals, deep sunsets, red skies and lush green meadows just in time for Valentine’s Day. Plenty of debate has circled the net in recent weeks, discussing whether Flower is a tech demo, a game, or simply just a piece of art. In fact, it’s all of those things rolled into one. Although there are no points awarded for your efforts and you can’t ever die throughout its five levels, Flower is certainly a game. There is a challenge, albeit a rather weak one, and there is a storyline. There are also goals to aim for as well as a definite beginning and end to each level. However, it also has elements of a tech demo. It only took me two hours to complete, including the playable credits, and the further I progressed the more it encouraged me to experiment with the Sixaxis controller, twisting and turning it in all directions to showcase the motion-sensing technology perfectly. It’s also a piece of artwork, with bright and vivid colors that explode against the contrasting sepia backdrops and ultimately create a very pleasant and intrinsically relaxing scene. Initially, Flower plays on your audio and visual senses and, in a trance-like way, somehow manages to make you forget about the rigor of everyday life, which can’t be a bad thing.
Flower follows the dreams of five flowers that glumly sit wilted and shrivelled in their pots on the window ledge of a dreary city apartment. Overlooking the oppressively grey concrete jungle, the flowers dream of freedom in the lush meadows from where they belong and yearn to go back to their natural habitat. This isn’t going happen, so among their daydreams they seek to inject some color back into the bleak man-made world where they’ve sadly found themselves living. You achieve this happy conclusion by guiding a floating petal across different locations, collecting other flower petals along the way that then join you on your mission by creating a tail of color that drifts dreamily behind you. The controls are extremely basic. The main game mechanic utilizes the motion-sensing functionality of the Sixaxis controller, with any of the face buttons used in order to create a gust of wind and therefore speed up the movement of the petal.
You begin by collecting petals, tilting the controller in all directions and guiding your petal toward any glowing flower buds on the ground. Once you hit one, you’ll hear an ambient sound like a wind-chime (or similar to a note on a Xylophone) and the flower will bloom. When you open up all flowers of a certain color, or all the ones that grow in a certain area, the dried-out colorless grass where they currently lie turns green and the world around you slowly starts to grow in color, while pathways in the environment open up, or more flowers appear. Hit a bunch of flowers rapidly one after the other and you can create an ambient melody, similar to kind that you’d hear on a New Age CD -- the type of music that people into meditation or aromatherapy treatment might enjoy. The fact that there’s no real pressure, even in the later levels where the wind speeds up or wind machines affect the environment, means that Flower is instantly accessible to all. It also has the ability to make you feel quite content and relaxed thanks to its dream-like flow and the feel good factor that it manages to inject you with when you do such pleasant things as bring a dead tree back to full bloom or spot a rainbow arching impressively across the pale blue skies.
Despite many of the hands-on previews suggesting otherwise, Flower is not all sweetness and roses, but surprisingly it also has a darker side. The gaming press were deliberately given access to the just first three levels of Flower, which just showcase the bright and colorful visuals of lush green meadows, bright blue skies and swirling multi-colored petals. However, the final two other levels offer a total different experience from the relaxing scenes that ... (continued on next page)
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- 11:11am EST - February 9th, 2009
I'm gonna pick this up!
- 11:33am EST - February 9th, 2009
The game doesn't seem worth it but I haven't played it. Not sure what the goal was for making this game or who its market is. I will not give this game a change for $10 maybe $1.99 I would at least think about it. I already won't buy a game unless I am sure I am going to get a lot of play out of it. Sorry the game is just not to my liking.
- 1:47pm EST - February 9th, 2009
''Some will love it, others will hate it and others still, like me, will think it’s alright.''
Hmmm really? is there any other options? well said....
- 3:44pm EST - February 9th, 2009
For those of you saying pass, keep in mind that this is the only review so far to score it below an 80%. It'll be a buy for me.
- 4:55pm EST - February 9th, 2009
FFS PSU, you have some seriously OFF color reviews...
- 7:46pm EST - February 9th, 2009
Girugamesh - I didn't review it, but I played the entire game today, and here's my take.
I absolutely loved the first three levels. They were fantastic. But they lasted 40 minutes (combined), and I don't think I want to go back and play them again. After the third level, there's a huge shift in direction - thematically, but this also affects the gameplay. This stressed me out rather than calmed me down (like the first three levels). So yeah, I hated level four and five. The last level, the sixth, is a cool and appreciable idea, but again, it wasn't as enjoyable to play as the first three (I'm being vague on purpose so I don't spoil it for anyone).
To wrap up, I think Flower is pretty cool and very unique, and you should definitely try it. But be warned: you'll have about an hour of fun, then never touch it again. Too bad you can't rent PSN games, eh?
- 11:36am EST - February 10th, 2009
I understand the game may not have insane replay value, but it's only 10 dollars. I'll certainly be picking it up, but don't trophies add replayability?
- 3:50pm EST - February 10th, 2009
hmmm...ign gave it a 9.
- 3:40pm EST - February 11th, 2009
Worse review so far? Everyone else is giving it high reviews.... Of course its not everyones game.
- 6:16pm EST - February 12th, 2009
I disagree with that review, it's the most impressive and enjoyable psn game I have played so far. I would personally give it a 9
- 9:53am EST - February 14th, 2009
PSU couldn't be more wrong on this one (and it has brought the games its worst review yet).
Flower is an incredible experience, that has to be tried out by every PSN user out there. I am totally serious.
It might not be a "game" by the average fan of Halo's measure, but it is not only a game top me (it has goals, and trophies, as well as secrets to unlock), it is a marvel of Zen, relaxation and beauty, far beyond the mere technical prowess of seeing tens of thousands of blades of grass moving along with the wind at 1080p.
- 2:31pm EST - February 14th, 2009
Eric I can appreciate your opinion to a point but to say, "you'll never touch it again" is pretty presumptuous of you. For you to believe that you would have to believe everyone thinks like you.
- 10:01am EST - February 15th, 2009
i got in a gameshare and its alright but does get extremely boring. graphics are beutiful tho :P
- 10:39am EST - February 15th, 2009
Its only about the cost of a pint and some pub grub and that doesnt take me 2 hours to complete so I might give it a go .
- 2:55pm EST - February 15th, 2009
- 7:58am EST - February 16th, 2009
Bought it, thought it was EXTREMELY short, and rather boring. Save your money, get some other game. Lame-mo!
- 1:47pm EST - February 16th, 2009
It's a bit difficult to describe Flower as it is more of an tool of delivering emotions, feelings to the player. Zen in a box. The game follows an extremely clear path as a story with no words, from the medows to the city. There is no need for explanation, everything is handed to you with visual cues. All you need to do is tilt and use any button or stick to control the gusts of wind. Flower offers something games these days rarely do - relaxation and peace of mind. If you focus on the sound effects and the oh so intuitive sixaxis movements, you really feel like your in control and somewhere else than your couch. You start letting go and feel, I guess without a proper word to describe the feeling, just happy.
I loved every minute of it and recommend buying immediately. Don't be fooled by this review which just didn't get it. I do agree that some just don't but it's a small percentage. Flowers certainly not expensive and you can always share it to a few friends who doubt if it's any good. And most of all, don't just write here how you think it's a stupid game unless you try it first. Makes you look like an assss....donkey. =)
- 12:10am EST - February 25th, 2009
Its an awsome game. Those who say its crap
Needs there head checked. Its so cool and relaxing
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