Sony's new downloadable title from the makers of flOw return for a more refined journey.
The PSN has recently embraced a series of games that are a lot closer to tech demos than actual games (Linger in the Shadows, Noby Noby Boy), but Flower appears to be the first successful hybrid between both realms. It does a lot of things that seemingly wouldn't work together and molds them into a wonderful, peaceful and fun game that no one owning a PS3 should overlook.
The concept is simple but abstract: control the wind behind a group of flower petals and play around with the environments in an attempt to bloom as many flowers as possible. In order to pull this off, Flower had to be detailed and precise about the looks and sounds that the player experiences, which flower excels in on all fronts. The graphics are gorgeous, rendered in 1080p with no framerate drop to speak of, and every detail from the moving grass to the landscapes is crystal clear (trust me, screen shots do not do this game justice). The sounds of the wind blowing made me feel as if I was actually in an open field and on one faithful windy night the weather outside my apartment window complemented my gaming experience. The music is subtle and blends with the natural sounds of your environments so well that you may wonder what's missing the next time you're in an actual open field.
Controls are navigated in a simplistic scheme that integrates sixaxis controls, which is probably the biggest challenge Flower faced, and the results are astounding. Gone are the days where clunky awkward results come of moving your controller and thankfully replaced are responsive and intuitive movements that make you feel as free as the wind you control. For the first time ever, I can take this game, hand anyone, player or not, the controller, and with no explanation watch them control it within a few seconds of testing. Anyone who says that motion controls on the PS3 are dead has not played Flower and any development team that wants to integrate sixaxis into its PS3 game needs to talk to Flower's devs.
The gameplay, while initially seeming simple and unchallenging, will impress with the depth that has been hidden under the surface. With no real way to die, you can be sure that you'll complete every level, but once you start trying to find all the hidden flowers and bloom everything it suddenly becomes much more hardcore. The goals and level design really begin to be an afterthought, however, because the real draw to this game is the endless exploration and sense of freedom captured within. I may never get to fly, but at least I've had a taste thanks to Flower.
An intuitive and unique menu system and simple navigation wrap Flower into a perfect package.
Gorgeous. By far some of the best on the system with a dynamic palette of colors and rendered in 1080p to take on some of the best AAA titles.
Crisp and precise, the sound team succeeded in bringing the worlds you explore to life with realism and ambiance.
Those seeking a traditional game will find something different, but all players, gamers or not, will enjoy and appreciate Flower. This is the gaming equivalent to a cool down in exercise.