Review: Flower (Playstation3)

Guys? We need to talk. I know you like to kill things. Hey, it’s okay — I do too. But sometimes I want to take a break from all the rampant homicide and enjoy something a little more calming. A little more pleasant, perhaps, and stimulating in a way modern gamers are wholly unaccustomed to. That’s not too much to ask, right? To ease off the bloodshed for just a bit?

That’s where Flower comes in. In it, you play as a petal, and then you collect other petals and fly around fields and — what? Why are you looking at me like that?

In all seriousness, though, that’s what you do. Flower is a game about flowers and all the delightful things that follow, whether it’s soaring freely through open skies or skimming quickly through long fields of grass to expand your collection of petals. There’s something about saving the world in there, with a surprisingly frantic yet poignant finale, but we’ll talk about that later. Let’s focus on the pretty for now.

Flower is gorgeous. It’s easily one the most compelling reasons we’ve seen so far this generation to own an HD set. Yes, yes, graphics aren’t everything, but fantastic visuals only enhance the experience, and Flower’s striking aesthetics capture well the spirit of the game. Audio factors in as well, a consistently serene soundtrack setting the particular mood for each level. There’s nothing particularly mind-blowing here in terms of the music, but each piece flows just as beautifully as the game itself, providing a perfect match for the fields you’ll paint with colors and flowers as you’re cutting across the map.

The gameplay itself is surprisingly simple. You use one button — any button on the controller, in fact — to summon the wind and propel your petals forward, tilting the controller itself in the direction you’d like to go. It takes a little getting used to, particularly when you first start out, but by the end of the first level you’ll be rushing across the sky with ease.

And, for the first few levels, that’s all there is to it. You fly. You summon the wind and streak through the fields, collecting petals as you go, restoring color and life to dead patches of grass and the bare skeletons of trees. It’s a surprisingly satisfying experience, considering how little there is to do, but it honestly comes down to the simple pleasures — subtle musical notes you’ll hear every time you collect a petal, the sheer thrill of rushing through the tall grass, and all other manner of really cheesy poetic things that make for a wholly enjoyable game.

Hit the midway point, however, and things go just a teensy bit crazy. Suddenly you’re making precise turns to avoid electrocution, racing through valleys and avoiding earth-shaking spikes, and a whole slew of things I honestly didn’t expect to see when I turned on the game. They’re satisfying in their own way, and make perfect sense in context of the story — yes, there’s a story — but come as something of a contrast to that first part of the game. It’s not bad, by any stretch of the means, but a little disappointing at first, considering how completely absorbed I was in just these first few tastes of the serene atmosphere.

Still, considering the price tag’s relative cheapness ($10), it’s hard to consider why anyone would pass this up. It’s not your average game, certainly, but it deserves at least a smattering of applause for eschewing the muscular arms and steady supply of weaponry so common to the latest big-budget titles.

…I just realized how incredibly snobbish that sounded.

Seriously, though: pick it up. It’s only available for the Playstation 3, but any readers out in the audience with one of those big black boxes should check it out at their earliest convenience. Check out a few videos too if you’re not completely sold. Flower falls into the oft-maligned artsy side of the gaming community, but that’s a debate I frankly feel doesn’t matter here. The game is fun. What more can you ask for?

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No Comments on "Review: Flower (Playstation3)"

  1. Mel
    12/03/2009 at 1:14 pm Permalink

    Sounds great. And just in time to pick up for Spring Break for my son, who’s not always into killing things. Pikmin, anyone? That game drives me crazy, but he and his mother love it.

  2. Brian
    19/03/2009 at 6:05 pm Permalink

    Sounds great. I’m going to have to try it out when I get back.

  3. Libby
    14/04/2009 at 8:06 am Permalink

    I just bought this game for my two daughters, who aren’t usually huge gamers. They absolutely loved it! My son watched them play it for a couple of hours, memorized, because it’s just so beautiful. Two big ol’ thumbs up here.


  1. Single-Spaced » The Unwind Wrapup 28/05/2009 at 1:55 am

    [...] has been a great one, if only for the fact that it pushed me to get off my ass…

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