|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: thatgamecompany||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA (SONY)||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 12, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Ever since it was announced, people have been buzzing about Flower. As the latest project from experimental game developer Thatgamecompany, (the same people who brought you Flow and Everyday Shooter) the expectations for Flower were understandably high. But, whether or not you find this game to be worthy of the hype depends upon what you expect from a game.
To say that Flower is not your traditional game would be a huge understatement. There is no scoring mechanism, storyline, or characters. You play as the breeze, beginning each level with a single flower petal. Using the wind, you can steer this flower petal into other flowers, which can be "activated" when they come in contact with your breeze. Each flower you touch will yield another petal to your ever-growing stream of flower petals, until you find yourself in command of a large trail of flower petals.
Although you can roam freely in each level, there is a structure in place that allows you to progress through the game. As you touch different flowers, different areas of the land that were tainted by dull, graying colors will transform into vivacious landscapes filled with luminous color. Once these areas have been restored, new areas within the landscape will open up, until finally you reach a swirling wind, which indicates the end of the level.
The control in Flower is ridiculously simple, which fits in nicely with it's overall motif. The game uses the PS3's motion controls exclusively, and you play by tilting the controller to control the direction of the wind. The only button you will use is the X button, which acts as an accelerator to speed up your journey. The simplicity of the controls really helps immerse you in the overall experience of the game, because there is no learning curve - playing is as simple as picking up the controller and tilting.
Although the gameplay in Flower is undoubtedly fun (not to mention relaxing), I was a little disappointed with how short the game was. With only seven levels, it is easy to run through the entire game in less than two hours. It would have been nice if there were some extra modes like a time trial or scavenger-hunt to boost Flower's replay value. I know that this may seem counter to the relaxing facet of the game, but as it is, after going through the levels once, there just doesn't seem like there is a lot to go back for. Additional modes might have given Flower a little bit more staying power.
However, even though the actual "gameplay" parts of Flower may leave some wanting more, there are two areas of Flower that are undeniably excellent: the visuals and the music. The graphics in Flower are absolutely beautiful and will definitely leave you awestruck. When you begin the first level, you will be greeted with a beautiful vista, filled with lush green grasses and a brilliantly blue sky. The sun exudes warmth, and the smooth animation of the hundreds of blades of grass has an unexpected zen-like effect - and that's just the first level. Progressive levels take advantage of different thematic color schemes (like wild blue and purple grass against a setting sun) and really take this game's look to a while new level.