Sunday, February 15, 2009


Flower is yet another download-only game that shows that some of the most innovative and unique work this generation isn't to be found in the latest big-budget blockbuster. It's the next project from the developer of flOw, and like that game, Flower is controlled mostly with the PS3 controller's motion sensor; is pretty relaxing to play, at least at first; and you can't lose, you just keep playing until it ends or you stop. Unlike it's predecessor, there's more to the game than meets the eye at first, as it takes a turn partway through, and becomes quite the emotionally affecting experience. It's so much different from the usual game design of killing everything you see until you reach the next part of the story.

Simply, each level begins with a single flower petal floating in the breeze. Pressing any button causes a gust of wind to push it forward and tilting the controller changes its direction. As you pass by other flowers, you slowly gather more petals until hundreds are traveling in your wake, and you become a force for good to heal whatever has gone wrong with the area you're in. You soar around gathering specific petals to trigger changes in the environment, and eventually you'll have fixed everything and can move on the next area. For whatever reason, the game generated some of the most visceral responses from me of any game in a long time, both in amazement at it's beauty and in shock at certain things later on. It's a pretty technically brilliant game, and both the fidelity of the visuals and quality of the music, including interactive elements when you pick up petals, add hugely to the experience.

The first playthrough including the credits shouldn't take an average gamer more than a couple hours, which might not sound like the best value for ten dollars until you realize that that's basically what you pay for a movie of the same length. It's fairly quick, but it manages to tell a full story and trigger a wide variety of feelings in that time, something very few games can pull off in the same period. And there is some replay value too, with trophies that aren't easy to get the first time when you're just in the middle of the moment the first time. Anyone who has a PS3 or access to one should definitely at least see this game for themselves.

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