Latest Game Reviews

Flower Review - PS3

9
Gameplay: 8 stars 8
Graphics: 9 stars 9
Audio: 9 stars 9
Innovation: 8 stars 8
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Introduction

In 2007, thatgamecompany – a small development team of only seven people – released a remake of their flash game Flow onto the PlayStation Network. It received favourable acclaim, which was enough to get them working on their next project, Flower, a title that’s perhaps more deserving of the tag ‘experience’ than ‘game’.

Gameplay

Everything about this game is simple. Refined. Elegant. You control the wind – any face button accelerates, and steering is done with the Sixaxis. Those are the only two inputs you need to use to play. You begin in a field, and blow through a single flower, taking a petal with you. Next, a row or cluster of more flowers appears, and you have to steer through those as well. As you continue collecting petals you’ll gradually revive the dying, dry environment.

That is truly almost all there is to the game. For the majority of the stages there is no enemy, and there's never a health bar. In fact, there’s never any objective, voice over, or even a menu screen. And yet, there's never any question about what to do - it's simply great game design. The story is established without a single line of dialogue, but it’s quite effectively told. Flower features a mere seven or eight levels – you can easily get through it in one sitting. It doesn’t outstay its welcome, and it subtly reinvents itself with each stage by introducing a different visual look, different coloured flowers (which trigger different events) and sometimes a hazard or two.

It’s difficult to review a game like this. It costs $12.95, and yet, it feels entirely worth it. There is nothing really wrong with it at all. It could be longer, and perhaps the introduction of hazards halfway through was not entirely necessary, but that’s about it. The controls work perfectly. There are secret flowers to find that will have you replaying the game at least a couple more times – though you’ll want to do that anyway. There’s trophy support, and they’re all rather mysteriously described, so there’s definitely enough content to keep you coming back. That’s about all I can say without spoiling the experience. It’s simple, it’s genius, and it’s great fun.

Graphics

In some games, it feels like the gameplay was considered far more important than anything else. In Flower, the gameplay, graphics and sound are all equally polished. The game is simply gorgeous. As you soar across hills you’ll feel each blade of grass whip past; as you wind through canyons you’ll fly through caves and around boulders; and as you explore the world you’ll encounter all manner of weather and various times of day. Plus, it’s in 1080p. It should replace the Bravia demo reels in electronic stores.

Sound

The music is what ties it all together. A brilliant orchestral score is intricately connected to the gameplay – every flower you float through is accented by a musical strum in tune with the piece. The sound effects are top notch too, from the whistling as you ...

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