Not a movie and not a book, Flower marks the first video game review here. Hurrah for diversity! 😉
Flower is a download-only game available only on the PlayStation Network (sorry XBOX and Wii folks). I had heard a great deal about this game, with every single review I read lauding it as “beautiful” and “a relaxing, wonderful experience” so when they offered a deal this December for half-off select PSN games, I finally decided to give it a whirl and purchased it for $5 (as of now, it has returned to it’s regular $10 price). It was a blind purchase based purely on what I had heard and my knowledge of the game’s concept and gameplay – no demos here.
The reviews were very right :).
In the midst of other games that I love which usually involve guns, destroying cities, causing car crashes, and a great deal of other “bad” things, Flower is a very pleasant treat. To very simply explain the gameplay, using the PS3 controller’s motion abilities, and with a single button press (any button), you control the wind. That’s it. You use the wind to control flower petals, blooming them to progress through various “levels.” This is a very basic overview, though, because what really makes up the elements of this game are far more lovely.
The details in the art direction and choice of how the game actually progresses take Flower to a level of craft not usually reached in most games. It, to me, was a piece of art. Each “level” is really the dreams of a flower stuck in a pot looking out of a dreary apartment window. Succeeding brings new life to the flower and then grants you the opportunity to do the same for a new potted flower. Within each level, the music and sound effects really do create an absolutely beautiful experience. I found it to be completely engaging, and just as I did with the LittleBigPlanet demo and often do playing The Beatles: Rock Band, I found myself smiling very big and very hard as I fought fervently for these little flowers and their dreams.
That’s where the game amazed me. For such a simple and silly little concept, the amount of depth in the overall “story” and the emotional weight of it all was more than one would expect. Through the first few flowers, I was cheerfully bringing flowers to bloom and saving the day – haha, it’s so very weird to say, but since I was so enraptured it felt almost heroic. Then, however, things began to get dark. For the last few, I was almost at the point of tears a couple of times. The dream world that I had been able to make so bright and sunny before, was becoming dark and nightmarish. I won’t tell you how it all ends, but rest assured – Mark generally isn’t a fan of tragic endings ;). Speaking of endings, even the final CREDITS are freaking beautiful.
Flower obviously won’t appeal to everyone, but it has a charm and artistic touch to it that absolutely delighted me, and knowing what I know now… I would happily pay the full $10 price for it. While, as with any PSN game, it isn’t the longest game you’ll ever play, it more than makes up for its quantity with the highest of quality. If any of this review sounds appealing, I suggest you certainly take a chance and download this game today. It truly is, as every review has already said, a beautiful, relaxing, and wonderful experience.