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 1UP: Flower Review A/A+

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kingkenny76
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PostSubject: 1UP: Flower Review A/A+   Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:18 am

Quote :
Flower's the type of game that'll probably elicit numerous reviews slinging around words like "experiential" and other such highfalutin terms. But I'd rather get straight to the point: At its basic level, you fly around. You touch flowers. Green stuff happens. But it's more than that, a lot of which probably extends past the scope of this review.

This won't be an analytical take on thatgamecompany's auteurist endeavor. Though Flower is rife with potential symbolism, I'll try to leave most of the discovery to you; it'd be a disservice to reveal the game's ending. And I can't talk about Flower's minute detailing without discussing the project as a whole -- it'd be like analyzing a half-seen movie. But I will get into what it's like playing this beautiful PSN title. Quite simply: It's fun.

Click the image above to check out all Flower screens.

But maybe "fun" isn't the perfect word. Much like a well-constructed movie's emotional arc, Flower sets the mood, dips into the darkness, soars up for the climax, and ends on a satisfying resolution. Each level, represented by a potted flower sitting on a windowsill, takes you into the dream of that flower. In those periods of resting imagination, you soar through the air and make your way to that flower's secret inner desire, be it lush vegetation, bright color patches, or just shafts of light. But no matter the end, the journey is the same -- you fly around from flower to flower, collecting petals as you go. The more petals you add to your train, the faster you can fly. The levels are all fun, but they're also peaceful, exhilarating, empowering, and, as a mild spoiler, sometimes terrifying.

The game's distinct visual style immediately draws you in; people walking by my cubicle while I was playing would constantly stop and ask me what I was doing. This isn't the most technologically impressive game I've ever seen, but it is still one of the most beautiful. While the landscapes aren't entirely realistic, they offer exactly what I'd expect from a flower's dream -- hills speckled with stunning colors, ethereal orbs glowing in the grass, and a breathtakingly blue sky. Coupled with wonderful music and sound effects -- a dynamic score and chimes that tinkle fittingly as you collect petals -- Flower's presentation grabs and holds your attention.

Click the image above to check out all Flower screens.

The Sixaxis control is wonderfully fuss-free. At no time did I feel like I had to fight the controls. And honestly, while in the midst of a level, I hardly thought about the lump of plastic in my hands -- my attention was solely on my petal train, whipping about in the game's wind currents. And the currents are something you have to pay attention to. In some levels, strong winds buffet you along, making your trail of petals surge forward along a wind tunnel. It's these moments that Flower takes on an almost racing game feel, with you banking right and left as you zip along a track. It's certainly exciting, but, if you're like me, you want to collect every last petal -- including the three special green flower clusters hidden in each stage. And being flung along at high speed then becomes frustrating...that is, until you realize you can fight your way back against the wind currents. Once you've gotten familiar with the winds' course, you can navigate your petals up and around them. That way, you can make your way back to a section the game previously blew you through in order to pick up any stray flower petals you may have missed.

It can be challenging to collect every petal, but that certainly isn't a complaint; it's great that a game which starts so leisurely can present a (mostly) punishment-free challenge. My only real complaint is that, when meticulously making my way through each level, my petal trail naturally became quite lengthy causing the camera to occasionally spin out of control or get trapped behind objects. It's a small nitpick, and one that you likely won't encounter unless you're plagued by the collect-a-bug like I am.

Otherwise, the game is wholly enjoyable from start to finish. I even found myself replaying some of the previous levels just to let my petals waft in the air, my controller sitting untouched on the desk while I worked. The game's short -- the seven areas only take about two to three hours to finish on the first try (if you don't play it obsessively like I do). But it's a joy to revisit each stage -- the freedom of movement makes the game feel as relaxing as a gently wafting breeze. The challenge is there for those who seek it, but Flower is something everyone can enjoy.

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GaViN7UK
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PostSubject: Re: 1UP: Flower Review A/A+   Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:34 pm

even though still looks like a girls game :P

May have to give it a try hehe

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PostSubject: Re: 1UP: Flower Review A/A+   Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:30 am

GaViN7UK wrote:
even though still looks like a girls game :P

May have to give it a try hehe

lol!

It's good to see you are in touch with your feminine side Shocked Wink

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