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Flower (PlayStation 3)

Flower (PlayStation 3) review


"The whole thing comes off as an interactive Fantasia: a beautiful and poignant blend of sound and movement that tells an active story."



Last week wasnít a good week for me. I got written up at work. My cat vomited in my bed. Netflix sent me the wrong disc. Maybe not too awful in the grand scheme of things, but enough to make me feel a touch under by the end of the week. Then I downloaded Flower. After playing for an hour, all the pain went away.

In Flower you control a single petal in a flowerís dream. Using only the PS3ís six-axis motion control, you steer the petal around stunning wind-swept free-roam environments, trying to collect petals from other flowers along the way and rejuvenate the landscape. The more flowers you collect, the more you begin to influence the environment, causing dead fields to erupt to life, or breaking apart cold granite structures to reveal new areas to explore. You canít die, so youíre free to explore and enjoy the scenery. Hitting any button summons the wind, so you also donít have to chase down air currents ŗ la Pilot Wings. The controls are simple and immersive, really making you feel like youíre swooping in and out of the wind. I often found myself leaning forward and back and moving side to side as I controlled my ever growing group of petals. Like I said, there definitely is a game here, but whether you enjoy Flower will rely heavily on whether or not you can get into the artistic feel of the game.

Because, really, Flower is much more than just a game. Though I feel ridiculous saying it, Flower ends up being a commentary on the very nature of life. But itís true. If you can get into Flowerís message, youíll see a story unwind of the fall and rebirth of civilization amidst the beauty of nature. Flower is a story of hope and rejuvenation unlike any Iíve ever come across. Without a single line of dialogue or any characters, it manages to paint a touching and emotional tale that I wonít forget any time soon.

Of course, not everyone is going to pick up on that. Iím sure thereís plenty of gamers who will download Flower, play it through, and delete it with a resounding shrug of indifference. Even these people are bound to let out a small sigh of amazement at some point, though. Flower is one of the best examples of masterful game design. No-one can play it without being touched at least once, even if ultimately they are able to turn away from the over-arching message.

It is design which imbues Flower with perfectly complimentary colours that make your eyes want to cry with pleasure. It is design which dictates that the grass part as you breeze through it, creating a wind stream that truly brings home the simile ďfields of green blowing like waves on a shore.Ē It is design which decided that the wonderful instrumental music would pick up as you move faster and would add notes as you picked up more variety of flowers. The whole thing comes off as an interactive Fantasia: a beautiful and poignant blend of sound and movement that tells an active story.

I do take a point off for some violent immersion-ejection that occurs at the end of levels, when the beautiful music has a tendency to get twitchy and laggy. Also, the game is very short. Normally I wouldnít complain about this. Iím a firm believer that developers should stop while they are ahead. Iíve seen too many games start a downward spiral half way through (cough Indigo Prophecy cough) , and Iím much more likely to be a fan of something beautiful and short than I am of something long and mediocre. But Thatgamecompany has made a Flower druggie out of me, and to cut my fix short is a cruel thing. I can only hope Flower is a gateway drug to more of this kind of wonderful.

9/10

Rating: 9/10

zippdementia's avatar
Freelance review by Jonathan Stark (March 01, 2009)

Zipp has spent most of his life standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox there. Sometimes he writes reviews and puts them in the mailbox.

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Feedback

If you enjoyed this Flower review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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Lewis posted March 02, 2009:

A lovely review, one that really makes me wish I owned a PS3.

The indies are taking over. Two 9/10s for tiny developers within a week...
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zippdementia posted March 02, 2009:

It is an indie revolution, yes.
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Suskie posted March 03, 2009:

I liked this review for the most part, but this line struck me as particularly out of place:

Flower is a game in the same way that pushing your little sister down the stairs is a game: itís definitely fun to the point that youíll keep coming back, but really itís more of an experience.

I mean, are you trying to be funny or serious, and either way, what's the point? If you're trying to convey the celestial, ethereal qualities this game possesses, that line kind of throws it off. Otherwise, good work.
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zippdementia posted March 03, 2009:

It's definitely an off-line. I knew it a couple days later. I don't think it's particularly bad, and I actually think it's pretty funny, but it doesn't meld with the solemnity and grace of the rest of the review.
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Masters posted March 04, 2009:

Jesus Christ, two posts and not one "thanks".
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zippdementia posted March 04, 2009:

Thanks, Masters.
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Masters posted March 04, 2009:

Another failed attempt at humour, no doubt. I was obviously referring to the two posters above who took the time to read your review and offer positive feedback on it.

This is precisely the sort of unappreciative contributor attitude that we spoke of in our 'RotW relevancy' topics.

But well done -- you whined in another topic about wanting feedback where you could get it, and yet with your 'joke' here you spent more effort than you might have to actually thank those you read your work.
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Suskie posted March 04, 2009:

I don't think it's particularly bad, and I actually think it's pretty funny, but it doesn't meld with the solemnity and grace of the rest of the review.

Yeah, that's exactly what I thought: This definitely sounds like a man who thinks he is funny.
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honestgamer posted March 04, 2009:

When I leave feedback, I'm not necessarily looking for an explicit "Thank you," or even a response at all, but in general I do like to engage in a discussion with the writer. I tend to see through "Thank you" and pay more attention to any comments my feedback prompts. When people leave feedback for my stuff, I don't always remember to thank them explicitly, but I do respond a lot of the time. Unless I'm responding with snark or getting all defensive, I think that "Thank you" is implied.
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Masters posted March 04, 2009:

"... I think that "Thank you" is implied."

This is nonsense. It's a sad day when, in a feedback-starved forum such as this, that we must accept 'implications' of appreciation when it's so easy to show it explicitly.
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Felix_Arabia posted March 04, 2009:

I didn't care for this review, mostly because some of the lines felt out of place given the message you were trying to convey, Zipp, about this game being all . . . magical, for lack of a better word.
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zippdementia posted March 04, 2009:

@ Felix: I definitely see where that is true, and it's too bad, because it does affect an otherwise strong review. Any lines in particular? I think I know a few of them.

@ Masters: I would hope that by engaging with the people who have taken time to comment on my review, I was implying thanks, yes. Also, the numerous times I have thanked HG in general for being such a great site should leave no doubt that I am grateful to everyone's comments.

That said, I do agree that thank you's are often overlooked these days. I didn't like the way you simply assumed I wasn't grateful, though. It was rather blunt of you without any need for bluntness. It put me off a bit, thus my rather snarky return.

In any case, in all seriousness, I thank everyone (including Masters) who has taken the time out of their lives to comment on my review and to offer me advice both on my writing and on my social interactions.
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Felix_Arabia posted March 04, 2009:

Mostly it was just that line that Suskie mentioned about the pushing sisters down stairs and also the beginning where you allude to your cat puking on your bed. I read that line and was thinking, "so?"
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Masters posted March 04, 2009:

I tend to be blunt. I was just concerned that when people say "GREAT WORK!" and that's not acknowledged in the response, it comes off as a presumptious "I know". Which makes you (one -- not necessarily YOU) look like a pompous prick. I appreciate the clarification; good on you.
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zippdementia posted March 04, 2009:

Well, it's good advice, anyway, which I'll take to heart and use.
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Lewis posted March 05, 2009:

"In any case, in all seriousness, I thank everyone (including Masters) who has taken the time out of their lives to comment on my review and to offer me advice both on my writing and on my social interactions."

Fabulous pwnage.
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Lewis posted March 06, 2009:

ZIPP!

It has been brought to my attention by a wonderful human at N4G that you are WRONG!

In fact, the following is true:

"WTF? LOL this game is G@Y!"
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fleinn posted March 15, 2009:

"I can only hope Flower is a gateway drug to more of this kind of wonderful."

Great line. Of course, if it was in norwegian and you turned an adjective into a noun, I would hate the review on principle.

..another thing.. about pushing your sister down the stairs being an experience.. that's actually how the game is. Exciting and upsetting, but somehow soothing and rewarding as well. Almost.. what's the word.. meditative. I think, if I understood that from just the review, it wouldn't be problematic in any.. most ways.

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