Review – Flower (PC)

Flower originally came out for the Playstation 3 exactly ten years ago, receiving a truckload of praise, high scores, and awards after its release; being nominated as one of the main examples of how videogames can be considered an art form. From out of nowhere, the original developers at thatgamecompany have decided to partner up with publisher, Annapurna Interactive (Edith Finch, Donut County), to release the formerly Playstation exclusive to PC. The time had finally arrived for me to tackle this zen-like beast and see what the fuss was all about.

 

 

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Bring life back to the dead grass.

 

Flower lets you control a single petal being blown in the wind, with the objective of finding and touching other flowers scattered through gray and desolate levels. Touching other flowers makes an extra petal follow your trail, effectively increasing the size of your “petal stream”, for lack of a better term. Touching and blooming some specific groups of flowers causes scripted effects in the world surrounding you, basically bringing back life, light, and color to the drab levels you’re exploring. You’ll do this throughout six levels until you reach the end of the game.

 

 

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If only this game was as fun as it is gorgeous.

 

In theory, that’s what Flower‘s gameplay is all about. In practice, think of it as a Snake-like game tailor made for a more artistic-inclined public. The gameplay principle is the same, and while there is a bit of replayability due to some hidden secrets to explore, what you see is what you get. You move the petal around with the wind, either with the analog stick or the Dualshock’s motion features, collect more petals, add color to the world, reach the end of the level, then repeat the process in the next area. You’ll be done with everything in less than an hour. Yes, it’s one of those games. Thankfully enough, it’s not your typical art game in which you’re not supposed to “have fun”. You can have a bit of fun with it while it lasts. It is just like Snake after all.

Flower makes up for its minute gameplay and really shallow amount of content by being a visual and harmonious treat. It’s a game that looks as impressive nowadays as it used to ten years ago, with excellent usage of color and lighting effects. It’s also very well-optimized, even on lesser hardware. The soundtrack is another highlight. This is a game made by the same people who made Journey, a title with a soundtrack that actually got nominated for a Grammy of all things. You know you’re in good hands when it comes to music. Flower‘s soundtrack is fully orchestrated and very serene. It even picks up the pace at the very few instances in which your petal stream starts flying at higher speeds.

 

 

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Why am I playing as Navi?

 

Flower is a gorgeous, well-crafted and relaxing game, but I have to say, I don’t get the massive love towards it. Its “story”, if you can call it that, is far from deep and thought-provoking as some say it is, its duration is borderline insulting for its asking price, and it just doesn’t motivate you to replay it after you’re done with its half a dozen levels. Sadly, Flower isn’t as meaty as it should be. A fair point in a way, given it’s a game about plants.

 

Graphics: 9.0

Giving credit where credit is due, Flower still looks very impressive for a game released during the PS3 era. The animations are crisp, the lighting is on point, and the usage of colors is excellent.

Gameplay: 7.0

The freedom of movement at your disposal is excellent, but the gameplay is too simplistic. In order to really take advantage of the game’s controls, you need a Dualshock controller, or else you’re just stuck with the analog stick for movement.

Sound: 9.0

A beautiful, memorable, and relaxing orchestrated soundtrack. This company has already been nominated for a Grammy for their soundtracks, so you know they know how to produce quality music.

Fun Factor: 5.5

It’s beautiful and artistic, but at the end of the day, Flower is nothing more than a Snake-like title with a stupidly short duration and little replayability. It’s moderately fun while it lasts, though.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Flower is available now on PS3, PS4, PS Vita and PC.

Reviewed on PC.

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