From the makers of the PS3’s outstanding flOw comes Flower, which has been seen for the last few months and indeed year as a demo at various trade shows. We here at DailyGame decided to stop and smell and the roses on this one, as it were, and we can say without a doubt that if you ever wanted to experience what life could be like as a petal floating on the wind, look no further than Flower. For the gamer looking for a moment of Zen amidst the hustle and frantic action of the next first-person shooter, Flower provides exactly that.
You start in an apartment with a single plant. Using the Sixaxis controls you navigate to the plant and the game begins. A single petal appears in a vast field, which players must direct to various plants to thus cause them to bloom and return the landscape to its lushness. The more flowers you “make,” the more petals you collect, turning a rather bland petal into a chorus of colors that dance upon the wind. There are separate “stages” to each flower, and secrets to find as well.
What makes Flower work is the effortless gameplay; it’s not designed to trick you or flank you. There aren’t fiendish puzzles to solve, and your reaction time is never a factor. It’s all about just letting go and riding the wind. Certain flower levels hold obstacles, which won’t necessarily impede your progress around the stage but will unlock the next level. The gameplay remains the same in these later levels: create more flowers, and you’ll be able pass through after unlocking the obstacles.
As far as the game goes, that’s pretty much it. The visuals are quite pleasant and truly match what you’re doing on the screen, blowing through lush grasses or playing with various windmills to catch a lift on the breeze. It all feels and looks natural, insomuch as one could imagine a steerable flower petal drifting around.
It’s games like these that make one question is it a game or is it a toy. Sure there’s a point to it in that there’s a progression of sorts opening new flowers and stages. But looking at the trophies, you’ll see there are many things to find and do that you might not have thought of the first time round to unlock them. Thatgamecompany continues to push just what the idea of a “game” can be, and that certainly can’t be overlooked in this age of rampant game clones using the same engines to try and deliver the same thing.
Flower delivers on what it promises, and along the way you just might find yourself enjoying the ride again and again. Flower does not have a not a linear line from beginning to end; it’s more like a favorite place or thing that you’ll enjoy visiting time and time again when the moment calls for it.
- Score: 8
— Phil Vollmer