Release date: Available now
Review by: Matthew Dart
If you ever thought that controlling flowers to combat the ugliness of the world (and support the ecosystem to boot) would make for an exhilarating video game, then think no more. Developer thatgamecompany’s Flower brings captivating visuals, musical elegance and a unique play style that anyone can love, despite its hippie premise.
Flower starts you off in an apartment with a window looking out over a cityscape. On the windowsill is a potted plant that needs a little perking up. To revitalize the droopy daisy you must enter the world that the flower represents. A single floret fills the screen, and from it a petal gracefully drifts aloft. Now you are free to fly and whirl around, wispily dancing through the gusts of wind you control by holding down a gamepad button. As you complete the levels, you return to the apartment to see that the plant has improved in health.
You progress by using your petals to make flowers bloom in each world. You tilt the six axis controller to guide the petals as they swoop down and touch single flowers, creating a dramatic display of garish pigments that wash over the dreary landscape. The concept is simple, but there is challenge to be found.
There is something here for both the casual gamer and the hardcore completionist. Flowers can be well hidden, and when you’re zipping through a gorge with wind pushing you ever faster, it can be tough to get to every single one. Even if you can’t stand leaving an area before all of the petals open, the game’s whimsical experience is still not lost. The game is pretty, it’s easy to pick up and put down, the controls work wonderfully, and as a nice added touch, each flower sings a single note of an instrument (acoustic guitar, vibraphone and violin sounds from what I can tell) when it blooms.
Flower is very well crafted, but there are a few problems. The game is short (about four to six hours if you don’t care about completing every level perfectly), and the middle stages seem to muddle together, contrasting with the first and last levels, which are really good.
Thatgamecompany is in the limelight now with this project, because of daring concepts that work. Flower is for everyone, whether you like ultra-violent shooters or casual games such as Tetris and Solitaire. It is an easy-going experience that also offers challenges hardcore players can enjoy. For only a $10 download, you can brighten up your day and have fun doing it.