Review by EnglandAway66

"Flower for my flower"

This review is not going to be a review, as much as it is going to be a story. Somehow, for a game like Flower, a typical 'X out of ten' evaluation would somehow be to miss the point. Since I have to give a score to submit a review, I have given Flower 8/10 from a purely objective, seasoned-gamer perspective. However, this score does not tell the whole story.

To put it simply, Flower is the first truly successful attempt by Sony to tap into the goldmine of 'very casual' gamers that the Wii has nurtured. Yet unlike Nintendo's 'rounded-corner' non-threatening visual aesthetic, Flower combines this 'pick-up-and-play-me' gameplay with sumptuous Ps3 graphics and sound. Without resorting to hyperbole, this game could start a revolution. Assuming, of course, that it achieves a level of commercial success.

A few months ago I moved in with my girlfriend. We have been together for four years, and have many things in common. However, a love of videogames is not one of them. As such, when I reached for my copy of "Extreme Skull Mutilator: Gears of Duty 6", that was her cue to go next door and read a book, or knit a jumper, or whatever it is girls do when their boyfriends are stomping on brains.

However, I am a loving partner, and wish to spend as much time with my beloved as possible. Since I would never be seen dead with a book or knitting needle, I tried to interest her in my world. After watching her spin on the spot, throwing grenades at Mr Bellic's feet, I decided GTA was not for her. After watching her donut my beloved Honda S2000 on a sandbank before burning off in the wrong direction, I decided Gran Turismo was not for her. After half an hour of incessant "Oh who's that? Why aren't I playing? Is he the bad guy? Can I play again yet?" I decided Metal Gear Solid wasn't for her.

And so I discovered Flower. And it is perfect. Motion-controlled, so no intimidating list of button combos for her to memorise. No eccentric geopolitical plotlines for me to explain. No genocidal acts of evisceration to upset her moral compass. In short, none of the usual videogame conventions it has taken most of the hardcore generation years of gaming to adapt to, and expect. Just an easy-to control, free-flowing experience, with colour and sound that make James Cameron look like Ken Loach, and that will impress and immerse the young, old, and borderline-autistic alike.

Many critics have suggested that Flower represents a form of 'videogame-poetry'. I find this kind of cross-genre labelling to be both subjective and lazy. One person will play Flower and marvel at the colours and movement with little thought to their motive, others will cry as they return nature to a cold industrial world. Others will despise it as being easy and pointless. I cannot say that one perspective has more value than the other.

All I will say is that I'm currently sat watching my girlfriend using the Playstation not because I forced her, but because she wants to. Flower has managed to do what no other Triple-A title has, and thats make her want to keep playing. There is no score I could give that would compliment this game as much as that.

And now, the short step from controlling a flower-petal to machine-gunning zombies, easy!


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/01/10

Game Release: flower (EU, 02/12/09)


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