Beautiful. Stunning. Emotional. There, I wish my review could be done. I am not lazy; it is just that that is the perfect description of the newest game from developer thatgamecompany. Unfortunately, I have a senior editor breathing down my neck, trying to fill content on his page (sorry, Percy), so I will attempt to describe something that shouldn’t be described in detail.
“Flower” is a game in which you control the wind and make flowers bloom. “What?” you say. “Sounds stupid.” I thought so too, but then I played the game, and it blew my mind. The object of the game is to make a desolate landscape come alive in a world of color. Considering we live in St. Louis, this world of color is possible, but difficult to find. “Flower” runs in 1080p, and you can tell. There are few objects in this game, and the designers really went crazy trying to get everything to look gorgeous, and trust me, they nailed it. I honestly have not played a better-looking game, and that is saying something considering all of the new games that have been coming out.
The gameplay for “Flower” is also something that, while simple, really makes you salivate and crave more. Yes, you control the wind, but it is done using the Sixaxis (motion sensor) capabilities of the PS3 controller, which are quite good. Unfortunately, most forays into using the Sixaxis capabilities have been lackluster at best. Fortunately, “Flower” not only uses the Sixaxis for its main control; it perfects it. I am usually slightly conscious of having a Wiimote in my hand whenever I am playing, but with “Flower,” I barely felt that I was even in the real world. The controls are, in a word, perfect. You hold a button to make the wind move, and then you tilt your hands in order to make it change direction. It is not clunky in the least. It feels like you are the wind, soaring from hill to hill, trying to find that last flower so that you can make it bloom, thereby activating a sequence in which whole parts of the world turn into an explosion of color.
Which brings us to emotion. I do sometimes get emotional during games, as I mostly play games with intricate story lines that really bring you close to your character, but I will admit that I have never felt such a range of emotions in such a short time as I did when playing “Flower.” The game starts with no story line and no cues about what to do. And then, all of a sudden, bliss. You are zooming along in a world, making flowers bloom, and you feel relaxed. There is no world to save, no one is trying to kill you, and there is a moment of sheer happiness. This is honestly the first game to make me smile without cracking a joke, and that is an excellent thing.
As I progressed through the levels, the world turned dark, and I honestly felt scared. What was happening? Why was the world turning like this? The world turned into an uglier yet still beautiful place where there were few flowers and lots of broken electric lines running all over the place. I am not going to say anything else about it, but just be prepared for emotions.
There is a one problem with “Flower,” though, and that is gameplay time. It only lasts between two and four hours, and there are only six real levels. Fortunately, I find myself firing it up whenever I need to smile, so I find the replay value to be fairly high.
Just a final note, the only way to purchase “Flower” is through the Playstation Network, and only if you have a PS3. It is $9.99 and totally worth it. Actually, now that the PS3 is getting a bunch of exclusive games that are showing off the capabilities of its awesome graphic and processing powers, “Flower” would almost be worth buying the PS3 to play. Anyway, if you are a PS3 owner and have not played “Flower,” please download and play it. It will probably be one of your most justified $10 purchases you have made in a long time.