Flower

Can a videogame ever be considered art? Well, as leading academics can’t even agree on a definition of what art is who knows? Flower is certainly the artiest game that I’ve ever come across.

My own personal definition of art is any work to which I feel a strong emotional or intellectual connection. Flower fits that description perfectly. Remember that dream of flying you had as a kid? That’s what Flower feels like to me.

You start by blowing off a single petal from a flower. Using the Sixaxis, you gently sweep it round the visually stunning landscapes, colliding with other buds, collecting more blossom as you go, building up a swirling coloured entourage behind you. As you collect more petals, additional flowers bloom and new areas of the land become available.

Swooping through the air, soaring high on the wind and rushing through the sun-drenched grass it’s an incredible feeling. The controls, simple gentle movements on the motion sensitive control pad together with a single button press to introduce more wind, work extremely well when you eventually learn to relax and calmly coax your petals around the game world.

An amazing symphony of music, colours and emotions, the whole game feels like a selection of orchestral movements brought to life. Each level offers something different in terms of mood, structure and pace.

Considering that you are doing little more than sweeping a flowery cursor around the screen, the developers still manage to introduce new gameplay elements that keep things interesting all the way through. There are even hidden flowers and trophies on offer for those looking for more traditional game challenges.

The game actually has a story. Starting with he exhilaratingly natural experience of the first level, it gradually introduces more man-made elements until the whole game becomes much darker and, quite strangely, actually a little scary. It builds towards a joyful, jubilant and triumphant ending where you happily restore order to the land.

Some may complain about the price tag and whether the title has any real replayability. As I spent over three hours solidly playing Flower the first time I loaded it up I already feel like I have had my money’s worth and I’m convinced that I’ll be going back to try and find some of the hidden flowers.

Like beauty, art is very much in the eye of the beholder so I can understand that this game may not appeal to everyone. You might also have been put off games like this after Linger in Shadows. Believe me, that game is a mere collection of childish scribblings compared to this title.

Flower is a stunning piece of art, not a bad little game, and the first experience I’ve had on the PS3 that I truly believe I couldn’t get on any other system.

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4 Responses to “Flower”

  1. This is one of my favourite games from PSN, I think its truly amazing. Without sounding like a complete wuss, it actually made me feel quite emotional when I first played it, something no other game has done

    I have heard people call it a glorified tech demo, but I think it is so much more. It does remind me of Linger in the Shadows, in the it is blurring the boundaries of art and gaming

    Great review by the way

  2. I do wonder about the sanity of anyone who would call it little more than a “glorified tech demo”. Unlike some “arty farty” titles it’s pretty easy to find the game. If they don’t actually like the game elements then that’s fine, but pretending they don’t exist seems a little daft.

    I haven’t yet come across much on the PS3 that I couldn’t get on my Xbox (mainly due to the way that the development of cross-platform titles is unfortunately shackled to the power and features of the 360) but if it can give me more games like this in the future then it was worth purchasing.

  3. Games like Flow and Flower definitely break up the monotiny of repetative first person shooters and eye candy over concept designs. It’s definitely a nice thing to see this generation.

  4. Well, I’d certainly like to see more funding for interesting little games like this one. When it works well, the PSN and XBLA gives developers a chance to experiment, with less risk, on a smaller canvas.

    ThatGameCompany (the guys behind Flow and Flower) have another game to produce as part of their contract with Sony. I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with third time around.

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