February 19, 2008

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Flower, PS3
ThatGameCompany, Feb. 12, E

By Glenn "Stamen" Given production@hippopress.com

The creators of flOw tempt you to drop more hallucinogens and while two hours away playing something soothing and beautiful with Flower.

When it comes to brutal, head-shot blood- and-guts First Person Shooting, Flower is a miserable failure. So if you’re looking to waste time until Killzone 2, I suggest anything else. I’d suppose Flower could be a sim/racing/casual game but even that genrefication would be a bit too boxy for this pseudo art game. While it doesn’t tread into the weird ephemera of PSN’s other major artgame offering, Linger in Shadows, Flower is visually influenced by the fine art of Monet and the eco-ethos of Al Gore as Linger was by flying basset hounds and robot squids. Players take the reigns as the gust of wind wafting a growing trail of flower petals about an HD elysian tour set in the memories of a city-windowsill trapped houseplant. Controls are as elegantly simple as in flOw with Sixaxis tilt directing you and bursts of windborne speed at a button press. As you flit about green meadows and rocky canyons grazing the local bud formations, you cause each flower to bloom and trigger various environmental events. While unlocking paths to further explore the wide open play fields is the main focus of each stage there is, surprisingly, an actual story to be found amidst all this one-button Enya-gasm. The plot, as it were, does nothing to impede the subtle roll of elegant gameplay and you can spend an hour cavorting about a meadow searching for hidden green blossoms. Flower’s brevity is a bit of a concern, while the six stages of vegetative post-coital glow are nice, the whole experience can be over depressingly quick. For a $10 direct download from PSN it’s hard to argue with, but be aware that fully half of that price is justified in “beauty” rather than depth. Sometimes you need to take a pause from stealthily snapping alien necks or lawn-mowering down a mall of zombies; Flower provides that break while never removing the heartlifting rush of good gaming. A — Glenn Given