How does one review a game that isn’t a game, but more of an interactive poem, that, in the words of the developer, exploits “the tension between urban bustle and natural serenity”. Well, we’re not really sure there’s a specific skill in it, but we’ll give it a try.
Flower is a new ‘game’ by “ThatGameCompany”, which incidentally was co-founded by a woman. Now we’re not sure if this has anything to do with what some see as the softly softly approach of Flower, but if it does then the world needs more female headed game companies. The team behind flower have outdone themselves by thinking out of the box.
So what is flower? Essentially you take on the roll of a petal floating on the gentle sweeping breeze. It is your job to tilt the SixAxis thus setting your petal on its journey across various landscapes, swooping and floating through other flowers in the fields which in turn opens them up, gives you more petals on the breeze and makes the world a better place.
If you haven’t already guessed, what sets Flower apart from other video games is that it doesn’t really feel like a game. Perhaps this is in some part due to the non existence of those things that permeate the gaming genre, be it guns, energy level, or the must win premise, or perhaps it is that Flower reaches farther by doing less.
The simplistic nature of Flower makes it a delight to play, it is almost meditative in its process, there is no stress, no alarm, there is only the breeze, sweeping grasses and landscapes in need of the color of life and it is your job to utilize the breeze and make the world a brighter, better place. If it sounds pretentious then that is doing Flower a disservice, for what may begin as a boring foray of confusion, will – for all those without a stony heart – lead to a wonderful experience.
In many ways Flower returns to the roots of gaming, when you didn’t need 8 buttons to do one thing, when playing was for fun and there was little to it, but it was just as affecting as the most astounding cinematic experience. There is a distinct lack of haste, a lack of confrontation within the framework of Flower, it is art, poetry, truly thought provoking stuff that for some may bring forth questions of ecology and what we’re doing to the planet, it is in a word ‘affecting’.
Graphics and sound in Flower tie in perfectly with all else we’ve said, they are resplendent, relaxing, sweeping and even disturbing in their urban setting. As each flower tinkles with life as you wisp on by, as darkened ground flourishes into green and colored wonder there is a delicate melody playing out, it is beautiful.
Needless to say there is no lesbian content in Flower, but there’s also no character content either, so Flower doesn’t fall afoul of having a multitude of characters that fall into the ‘male playable’ mold. Flower has no gender identity so the lack of gay representation is neither here nor there.
So what is wrong with it? It’s short and it’s not going to be for everyone, which in a way is saddening, because everyone should be able to play this game and take away something positive from it. Some will find the simplistic nature a bore and in a way we have to feel some sense of pity for those people, too caught up in the thuggery and manic nature of the modern video game experience to take a step back and enjoy something gentler in nature.
Flower is a delightful foray into fields of pleasure, whilst it also gives us a lesson in nature and the urban landscape. If you’ve got a PS3 you really must download Flower and give it some of your time. The only true downside of Flower is that it’s a Playstation exclusive, which means other console owners will never get to taste its breezy magic.
U-Haul Review Status:
This is strange, what am I doing, what’s the point, oh I see, yes it’s gorgeous, it’s so relaxing, it’s telling me something, it’s beautiful… what a wonderful little game, it’s a shame it’s so short.. remind me to split my recyclables before I put my bin out. Hire that U-Haul and move this eco friend right on in.
Dana Fairbanks – Dana was fun, energetic, beautiful and it was all over too quickly. Her ashes sprinkled into the breeze of a waterfall stayed with us long after she’d gone. Flower too is beautiful, fun and breezy.