Review by superbobhead
"This game will blow you away. GET IT?!"
Ever since it first popped up at an E3 a few years ago, Flower has been garnerning an insane amount of buzz around it. Captivating audiences with its tranquil, zen-like experience coupled with some of the prettiest and most vibrant visuals you might come across in this console generation. Unfortunately, towards the end of the game, there were some decisions made to remind you that this is still a game, but its core concept is one that's well worth checking out along with the story it's trying to present as a whole, making this an experience I feel every gamer should have at least once. Read on for a more in depth look!
Gameplay - 8/10
Flower does a great job of giving you the feel of just simply being the wind. The use of the sixaxis is flawlessly implemented, and any single maneuver you want to pull off, using your brain (and your hands), you'll quickly find yourself performing a myriad of aerial maneuvers from sharp turns to dives all with the flick of a your wrist. While the game was original touted as being a completely zen like experience, the final product does have a bit of a story to tell, especially in the last 3 stages which completely change up the gameplay. Each level is actually so well done that even after you finish one, you still will find yourself returning to your favorites and just replaying them or maybe even flying around the environment just for fun. The negative side of this is that while the last three stages do change up the gameplay, the 5th in particular is almost completely different and reminds you that you're actually playing a game by introducing a few gaming trademarks that might bring it down for some. To make up for this though, the credits are probably the most creative ones I've ever seen in a game and almost feels like its very own stage! Using ANY button on the controller is a definite plus and leaves you to focus just on the aerial tricks you'll need to perform, and the overall presentation of the story it's trying to give the player is remarkably well done.
Graphics - 10/10
The moment you finally turn on Flower, you're greeted with a simplistic looking level select screen that is actually show as a budding flower in a flowerpot on a desk with a city behind it. Once you select your stage however, you're instantly transported into one of the most serene, majestic landscapes ever to grace a video game. While you're not going to be marveling at how lifelike the character models are, the lighting, wind, and grass is simply beautiful. It's easy for someone to walk into the room and think you're watching a video or some sort of tech demo, but knowing that each blade of grass looks to be modeled in real time, along with the awesome effects the grass creates when you fly in close is just one of those things that has to be experienced to be appreciated. On top of this, each level actually looks completely different from the last, and as you fly from flower to flower making things prettier, it's easy to understand why people were so impressed every time Flower was shown at conferences. Not only is this title one of the most beautiful games to grace a next-gen console, it's also only 10$, meaning that you're getting great eye candy for a budget price with a stellar game attached to it!
Sound - 8/10
There's nothing quite like that distinctive woosh sound as swoop in from the sky to collect that one petal that eluded you for so long. The music is subtle enough to further immerse you into the world without being any sort of a distraction to the overall experience. On the other hand however, there really isn't that much sound here but that might be the games biggest strength. Unfortunately, I can't comment on how this game sounds with 5.1 or anything, but I'm sure you'll just have a more powerful sounding wind coming from all around you instead of just in front.
Overall - 8/10
Flower is one of those things that definitely deserves at least a shot from anyone who's even remotely intrigued by the concept or the buzz that's been surrounding it. For people who are hoping to have a game that's just about flying around a world and making thing's pretty, at least 80% of the game is for you but the 5th level really might put a damper on your spirits. For about 10$, it really won't break the bank and it will definitely put a smile on your face a few times if you're into experimental, indie, or just relaxing games. There's a bit of talk about gamers that are looking for something different really loving this, but if you're trying to convert someone into gaming, even though it's simplistic, it might not have enough of a defined goal to turn anyone into an overnight gamer so be careful of that. In short, if you've ever been curious about the game or just want to unwind, Flower is the game for you but, If you've though the concept of the game was pointless or whatever, then you're definitely going to want to pass on it. For anyone that does manage to pick this up and sink some time into it, you'll find that this might be one of the better titles on PSN even if it is a bit short with the 6 levels probably taking anyone out there no longer than 2-3 hours to finish.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/24/09
Game Release: flower (US, 02/12/09)
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