FlOw Update: Under the Sea

We dive into a near-final version of the upcoming downloadable game for the PS3.

SCEA's upcoming downloadable goodie flOw is a title that's equal parts sim-life game and funky sensory experience. The game has been on our radar since we first saw it at last year's Tokyo Game Show. The months following our first glimpse of it shed light on the unique title's origins. The game started out as a USC student's graduate project and morphed into a Flash game, then into the upcoming PS3 game. On the PS3, flOw has evolved with cleaner, high-definition visuals (the game will run in 1080p at launch), as well as higher production values, including THX support. We had the chance to try out a near-final version of the game to see how it's coming along and zone out a bit.

FlOw's gameplay is as primal as gaming gets. The game puts you in control of an aquatic critter that you'll maneuver around with the Sixaxis controller. Your goal is to eat everything floating around you and make your way down to the bottom of a body of water. The act of eating what's around you bulks up your critter to larger proportions, which comes in handy when dealing with some of the more aggressive creatures you'll find as you descend. To descend or ascend, you'll have to eat various red or blue items; red items move you down a level, while blue moves you up one. You'll also be able to eat power-ups of sorts that buff you out and increase the size of your mouth.

The simple action works pretty well with the Sixaxis controller. You'll steer your critter by moving the controller and trigger a burst of speed or a special ability depending on what you're playing as. All told, the game will feature five creatures to use, which you'll unlock sequentially. The version we're playing now requires you to use the Sixaxis' motion control exclusively, as opposed to the analog sticks, which we were able to use when we last saw it in November.

There's always a bigger fish...

FlOw's presentation is simple but has a subtle charm thanks to a rich color palette and atmospheric audio. The game features no interface at all--you'll be in control of your creature as soon as the game loads up. The playfield is richly colored and meant to represent water. As you start to use the other creatures you'll notice different hues to the water, which keeps the game visually interesting. The assorted critters and objects you'll encounter will run the gamut from abstract creations to more traditional, jellyfish-inspired creatures. The music in the game offers a dreamy ebbing-and-flowing choir that's punctuated by effects that reflect the action onscreen.

Based on what we've played so far, flOw is a unique game that should be well worth a look when it hits the PlayStation store. The original title is unlike anything available for the PS3 and offers and an engaging experience that's fun to either play or watch. FlOw is slated to be available at the PlayStation store later this month.

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164 comments
rretana_basic
rretana_basic

I can believe i just wasted my time even look at the videos, is this really a game lol?

budboarder
budboarder

this game is not free. Its in full HD with Dolby audio. I believe the last time i looked it was 9.99 for the full game. Its supposed to be a relaxing stress reliever that also it addicting and challenging as well as a lesson in evolution. It intrigues me but I am not sure if I should buy it.

especensor
especensor

is this game being downloaded for free? cos if its not, just play it for free on the pc. the guy who made it has it free on his website.

Saxmachine09
Saxmachine09

meh. it's an okay game to start with. looks pretty dumb though,

Katarn95
Katarn95

i think its a great start to compete with xbox live arcade however they are a year a head good luck sony if you want to conquer that area as well :)

Spartan8907
Spartan8907

I've played the flash version and I found it a bit addicting. I hope the PSN version is as good.

Gravidtron
Gravidtron

A PS3 game that appeals to Wii fans like me? Sounds like Sony finally remembered their tried-and-true recipe for success... first you figure out what Nintendo's doing right, then do it yourself and market it more loudly. This looks really, really neat-- probably not $600 worth of neat, but the demo at Target will almost certainly make me late to come back from my lunch break sometime soon.

nlt4real
nlt4real

IGN gave it a 7.6 (the highest rated PSN game to date), so it's gotta be worth somethin. I LOVE the flash version and can't wait to play this one! I think you guys should give it a try...

SpareJesus
SpareJesus

Better than the VC or XBox Live Arcade? Who're people kidding? Fl0w is cool and all, but..sheesh..it looks like a tech demo. Like Wii Sports.

DeathGazerPSN
DeathGazerPSN

PS3 has the best download service BY FAR. flOw, Tekken DR, and Dave Jaffe's Calling All Cars all within a month. Nice!

kriptonzz
kriptonzz

I think it'll be great, and I don't even have a PS3. And don't hate games because they may be similar to other games. Geometry Wars is great to play, but it's extremely fast paced and a shooter game nonetheless. flOw might have a similar look off-hand, but it looks to me like the polar opposite of geometry wars.

ztron370
ztron370

Flow can never conquer Geometry wars.Never!

Sondra
Sondra

"Electroplankton" - great description! So true. It's mesmerizing to watch.

NND1
NND1

"Better than any Live Arcade downloads?" Yeah Right -- There are much better Live Arcade downloads.. Castle Crashers blows this away hands down. Not to mention Geo Wars..

Jakshot
Jakshot

Fl0w is unique and kinda cool if ya look at it.

basketcase57
basketcase57

seeing as this evolved from a flash game (and something else before that) i think they need to make a high-def no holds barred version of the 'whack-a-penguin' game. u know which one i mean, with the yeti who hits the penguins with his club and you see how far u can make them fly...

Brad
Brad moderatorstaff

"I'm glad such an in-depth game is getting all this coverage so we all wont be confused when we finally play it! With such an elaborate control scheme we should all be thankful that gamespot gives us updates on flOw on a daily basis :-)" Considering the last update on the game was posted in October, I'm not really sure where you're coming from on this.

darkmind-tvtome
darkmind-tvtome

thanks freek33, i was about to start looking for it but saw your link

venus577
venus577

Bah, it's just Snake with some pretty graphics. I could program the basic game myself!

e1337prodigy
e1337prodigy

So how much will this cost? hope they don't charge full whack for this.

TryMe01
TryMe01

electroplankton for the DS, so true and so true... nice concept but not for me, this flOw...

Dassam
Dassam

Gamespot Boss: We need more articles on PS3 games, there is nothing. Editor: That's because there is nothing to report. Boss: Well, how about another flow update, it's been 3 days since the last. I'm glad such an in-depth game is getting all this coverage so we all wont be confused when we finally play it! With such an elaborate control scheme we should all be thankful that gamespot gives us updates on flOw on a daily basis :-) Need more games/news for PS3 asap!

Thewtfpwner
Thewtfpwner

Sounds kinda like a Geometry Wars spinn-off.

Mechakucha
Mechakucha

I'll save downloading it until spring break when I will be baked out of my gourd, thank you very much. Figure I'll have a better appreciation and/or enjoy it more then.

kamicolo
kamicolo

the visuals are amazing, very lovely, heh. Congrats to the guy from USC on making a game for school and now getting paid by a conglomerate

mbashour
mbashour

maybe a little too simple to not be free. itd be fun to play for a little while, but i wouldnt even drop 5 bucks when theres the same thing on addictivegames.com for free

ronniepage588
ronniepage588

wait a minute, it may not be totally original, but its by far much more fun than Ecco and Tetris, tetris is addictive but i never felt like i was having fun playing it, this game flOw has that added visual and audio delight and the sense of progression and accomplishment that makes it fun to play or watch. it is new, it is fun, and it is worthwhile.

EyeNixon
EyeNixon

This looks like Elektroplankton for the DS.

Latinbro1
Latinbro1

looks simple yet pretty. looks like a great "pick and play" for those instances you wanna take a break from other games or from life in general.

Andrew_LL
Andrew_LL

I've played this, and it is nothing more than Ecco the Dolphin+Tetris. Nothing new, nothing fun, nothing worthwhile.

funnyguyw04
funnyguyw04

you're so silly, chrisdojo. Games that are available on the playstation store (online store) are typically priced at about 6 to 10 dollars. Games that you purchase on BD are typically 60 dollars.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

unique.....maybe. worth $60? probably not.

TehPickle
TehPickle

I wouldn't mind taking a look at that. I loved the Flash/Shockwave game (whichever it was).

recalcitrant1
recalcitrant1

On a side note, we could probably do without this advertised and linked off the headlines on the PC page.

Proman84
Proman84

Very interesting. I'd love to try this game out. It reminds me of an old SNES game called 'EVO'.

rbop
rbop

zzzzz ...... zzzzz ..... i feel asleep.

dark_minion_86
dark_minion_86

Looks and sounds great, but not really worth buying a PS3 for it...

nippon00
nippon00

cool. great to play with music

Sheiko
Sheiko

Looks pretty good and seems to make use of the PS3's graphics. Can't wait to see a PC port (official or not).