dudacles's flower (PlayStation Network (PS3)) review

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  • dudacles has written a total of 68 reviews. The last one was for Killzone 2

Flower is a game you should try

   

 The game is laughing at you for sitting in your house instead of being outside
 The game is laughing at you for sitting in your house instead of being outside
While playing Flower, I frequently found myself wondering what I wanted to get out of playing a game. Was it frequently being amazed by huge set-pieces that allow me to crawl into the skin of every boy's favourite action heroes? That certainly seems what most developers think, and who can fault them for doing so? Flower, however, has a different goal. It aims to let the player relax. It also, though never explicitly stated, tries to sensibilise players to the environmental issues humanity faces. It's simple, lone gameplay mechanic and presentation made me wonder whether I should even call it a game in the traditional sense of the word. But after some deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that Flower is one of the greatest ideas to occur to a developer in a long time, and an idea that everybody should at least try.
 
In Flower, you play as the wind. Every level starts with you blowing open a single flower, and then taking one of its petals over to another flower. This will in turn release more petals, which will form a huge cluster right behind you as you progress further and further through the level. In order to move on, you need to fulfill certain objectives, which pretty much always take the form of blooming every flower of a particular brand in the level. This will activate windmills, cause earthquakes that'll tear open rock formations and above all, make the dark dreary landscape light and almost excessively colourful again.
 
 If you don't think this is pretty, you have no heart
 If you don't think this is pretty, you have no heart
The first few levels (out of six) start out with no real premise at all other than that you must fly through flowers and make stuff grow. However, the latter half of the game sort of surprised me with its aesthetics, and it's here that the (sort of expected) commentary and global warming can be interpreted. It lifts the game up into a higher tier of quality, making it more than just a cheap diversion for you to test the range of colours your TV can display with.
 
The idyllic landscapes, along with the no-pressure game mechanics and a fantastic, dynamic soundtrack make Flower the appeasing game it is. What did detract from the uncompromising enjoyment for me was the control scheme. Pressing any button on the controller speeds you ahead as a gust of wind, and the turning is done through Six-Axis control. While it can be called one of the better and more logical uses of Sony's attempt at making motion control a thing on the PS3, that's really not saying much. I still found the whole thing to be cumbersome at times, and I was occasionally fighting the game in order to fly through that single flower that I somehow kept on missing again and again. It makes sense that you can't turn on a dime, but since the very goal of this game is to “just relax”, these minor annoyances can become temporary drawbacks for the game. However, when it does work, and you're flying full-speed through some of the best-looking grass ever programmed into a game, the game makes for some mighty fine joy. Every time you turn a corner, a new range of flora and colours will burst onto your screen.
 
 It sort of speaks for itself
 It sort of speaks for itself
It's weird; Flower is the game that would suffer the least from a lower-end TV or monitor, but also the game to which a nice, big TV with full-on HDMI 1080p offers the most benefit. It completely lacks HUD elements or text. It's one big blob of colour, meadows, leaves and blue skies. But it's also one of the most beautiful blobs you've ever seen, and is definitely worth experiencing in its full glory. Going for a low price on the Playstation Network, Flower is a game you should at least try. It probably isn't for everyone, but it represents a different train of thought on the developer's part than other games. This age of digital distribution allows for experiments such as this game, and I can only be pleased about that. Paying a small amount of money and sitting through a quick download will grant you one of the finer experiments in gaming today, and one that I heartily recommend you check out. Once you've amassed a thousand petals behind you and make a quick 180 to see them all flying into your face, I think you'll see what I mean.  

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