The PlayStation Network is quickly becoming one of my favorite things about owning a PS3. No, it's not because you can play multiplayer titles for free across it, but instead there's this little outlet called the PlayStation Store that is becoming chock full of games that are creative, entertaining, and buck the status quo by taking chances outside the typical spectrum. For some reason developers feel like they are able to take more risks with PSN titles than on Xbox Live Arcade, and we are better off for it.
Enter Flower. A title developed by ThatGameCompany that is not really much of a game but is a completely engaging experience from start to finish nevertheless. You play as the wind and it is your job to guide a single flower petal throughout five different levels exploring widely ranging landscapes while picking up a swirling train of additional multicolored petals.
Controlling the wind is simple enough. Pressing any button on the PS3 controller initiates your forward flowing breeze, while the SIXAXIS's motion control is your steering wheel. There's no arrow pointing you in the direction you're to go, no heads up display or concrete objectives. Instead, the game encourages you to explore the lush scenery yourself, sometimes floating carefree and whimsically through the air, while other times avoiding potential hazards that could hinder your progress.
When I first started Flower and entered the first level, I spent about 5 minutes just marveling at the beautiful landscape before me with the serene audio lulling me into a conscious trance. When in action, musical tones were provided by the landscape itself and the plethora of flowers that decorate it allowing a dynamic melodic experience that seemed perfectly fitting while swooping down low through the parting waves of grass or soaring high above the game's majesty.
You can plow through Flower in about two and a half hours if you'd like, possibly less without bothering to really hit up much more than necessary but while some may feel this is a drawback... it is exactly as long as it needs to be. You can lengthen the experience by heading back in to try and unlock all the trophies, which you may just do while showcasing this visual feast to all the visitors to your abode. Flower is also perfectly acceptable as a screensaver.
In general, I'm not a fan of poetry or motion controls but I am a huge fan of Flower. It is a game that any PS3 owner should try, putting a few hours in to get a simple yet beautiful experience. Who knows, you may even come away more enlightened. Without the PSN, this game would not be possible. I can only hope that future entries into this experimental space turn out so wonderfully.
- One of the best looking games available for any system
- Exudes quality from every single blade of grass
- As proficient aurally as it is visually
- Some may think its a bit heavy handed with its environmentalist message