Review by threetimes

"Go with the flow"

The gentle concept behind this game is that you move a petal through a barren landscape and alight on closed flower-heads to open them. As you open them and gather more petals in your wake, the landscape comes alive. Grass moves with the breeze your movements create, dead trees burst into green leaf, grey buildings glow with colour, and the hitherto drab and dark world pulsates with vibrant colour, all at the touch of your stream of petals. It's a unique game that enchants and soothes in a manner quite unlike anything else.

The controls are simple: you use the controller a bit like a driving wheel, turning it from side to side to make your petals move left, right and up and down, and with the press of one button you can gather speed and soar and dive whirling the petals in a lovely dance. However, it takes a bit of getting used to, and you can find yourself unconsciously raising your arms hoping to fly high, or twisting your body from side to side as you attempt to circle the petals around a rock or other obstacle. If you get caught up in the desire to open every flower you see, that can get quite stressful, which rather defeats the purpose. But the game has a very addictive quality that makes you want to do just that.

Each petal opened gives an accompanying chiming sound and thrum on the controller, and when you've opened enough of them in a particular small area, there is a corresponding moment when you're tempted to let out an "aaaah" of wonder when you trigger a beautiful waterfall of colour and movement as an almighty swishing effect takes place. A new path might appear, lights turn on, windmills begin to turn, or a whole series of buildings are washed with rainbows of colour bringing them all to vibrant life.

The structure of the game is elegantly simple too. You begin with the view of a windowsill looking out over a drab cityscape, and with one flower stalk inside a pot. Touch this flower and you're taken away to a field where you begin to explore to find more flowers. Touch a closed bud with your petal and the flower opens and the petals are released into the air, joining your one petal to make a stream that flows behind you. Reach the goal: on the first level it's a dead tree that you bring to life, and you'll find a new flower back on the windowsill. Eventually there are 6 different flowers, red, white, blue and other colours, and each one opens up a completely different environment with flowers of new colours.

The final level is a huge city with wide roads soaring around the buildings, huge skyscrapers, and deserted playgrounds. There's something very moving about bringing glorious technicolour to this dead place, and one could become quite mystical about the significance of nature triumphing over man made ugliness, especially as you complete the stage by powering upwards, crashing through girders for a long way, until finally you burst out into the sky.

Even the credits lend themselves to the theme, as you reprise locations, only this time having to release the names and functions of all the people involved in making this brilliant game. They deserve the recognition.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/19/10

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

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