Flower Review

Flower isn't so much a game as it is an experience. There are many things in Flower that the developers did very, very well. They did such a good job in fact, that you won't even notice. The level of immersion is so deep and natural, that you feel a part of the game experience instead of somebody sitting on a couch pushing buttons. That's about the highest praise that you can give to a game, and I almost feel that I should end this review here and just let you go to experience it on your own. However, I know that jaded gamers require more to go on than simple praise before deciding to buy a game and that developers like to read these reviews to see if critics appreciated their innovations and ideas, so in the end I feel compelled to continue. However, I encourage those who want to experience something truly unique and innovative in gaming to stop reading now and to go and experience it for themselves without any preconceived notions of what to expect from the game.

Almost all that you need to know to play Flower is shown to you on the first screen in the form of three icons which tell you the two ways in which you should move the controller. The last thing that you need to know is that you can press any button to move forward and this is conveyed to you on the second screen, which puts you in a room with a single window that is apparently located in a dreary urban environment.. This is in reality the level selection screen, and the entrance to the first level sits in front of you in the form of a clay pot holding a single flower. As you move closer to it the room melts away and the flower sits in the middle of an open field. Without any instruction from the game it is easy to quickly find that you are a flower petal on the wind and that you are responsible for bringing a dying landscape back to life, and that to do so you must move the controller to guide your petal on the wind to touch and activate other flowers. Activate all the flowers in a group and the surrounding land bursts to life in an explosion of green grass and flowers. A row of flowers, a gust of wind, a different colored patch of grass, these are just some of the visual cues used to lead you deeper into the level and ensure that you aren't left lost and unsure of where to go next.

It's not just the lack of an interface and intuitive gameplay that bring you into Flower's world; the graphics and sound are incredible and work together to enhance the entire experience. The graphics are simply impressive every plant reacts to the wind and your passing on its own and if you swoop close to the ground you can see each individual blade of grass wave as push your way through. As you touch each flower it adds a petal to your comet-like tail and before long you are controlling a swirling mass of color that reacts dynamically to your every move.

The game's sounds are intimately entwined with the environment and your actions. The haunting and relaxing music crescendos with each explosion of life you bring into the world and every single flower has its own unique tone or note as you pass it. But rather than generating a cacophony of random notes and tones, the notes you create always fit perfectly into the music and through your actions a beautiful piece of music invariably becomes more so.