E3 2008: Flower Hands-On

Flower is a beautifully original new game from the makers of Flow. We took a break from the show floor to chill out in its illustrious company.

48 Comments

While E3 is a mecca for new games and hardware, it can sometimes be a taxing experience. In between the hiking, the scrambling, and the missed appointments, it can be difficult to find time to actually write everything up. Perhaps that's the reason we're so thankful for games like Flower. Sony's new PlayStation Network game offers an experience that's so soothing, so ethereal, and so downright trippy that it made us forget we were in the middle of a bustling convention centre. We're not even embarrassed to say that its raw beauty was enough to bring us close to tears, and if you consider games to be an art form, then Flower is the Mona Lisa.

The game is being developed by That Game Company, the team who previously created Flow. As with its predecessor, the concept behind Flower is incredibly simple. You start with a single petal and then fly through open fields collecting more and more petals. If you pick up all the petals in a certain area then the grass will become more vibrant and alive, and you reach the end of the level by enlivened everything you can. But if you're racing to the end of each level then you're kind of missing the point. This is a game that's all about stirring emotions, and playing it to relax is as much a part of the experience as completing each level.

Although it has a simple premise, Flower has technical and artistic prowess. The PlayStation 3's Cell processor is put to work rendering 200,000 individual blades of grass, and combined onscreen they move in a highly convincing manner. The background details are minimal, but the concentration on core elements such as petals, grass, and spectral colours means it's exquisite to look at. The first level was full of vibrant greens, but the second field mixed purples and reds to enjoyably psychedelic effect.

Like Flow, Flower's controls hinge on using motion-sensitive controls. It's clear that the team have a great belief in Sony's control system, and they want the game to be as east to pick up and play as possible. You move the petal forward by holding the X button, and then tilt the controller to fly it around the world. If you tilt the controller up then you can gain height, or you can do a 180-degree turn by flipping it sharply.

Such an original concept perhaps shouldn't be shoehorned into a story, but there is a small element of exposition within Flower. Each petal starts life on a shelf inside someone's apartment, and your flower collection increases with each trip into the field. The story will explain more as you progress, but all we could ascertain is that there are dream sequences that allude to some connection between the urban world and the nature that surrounds it.

That Game Company promises that there will be more challenge to Flower in the final game, and that they're focussed on providing a complete experience that make the most of its captivatingly simple idea. They also admit that they may release more levels online at a later date, but with Sony being coy about a final release date, that could be some way off. One thing's for sure, though--if you're a fan of games such as Rez, Loco Roco, and Ico, then make sure you keep an eye on Flower.

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Avatar image for CureForLiving
CureForLiving

Flower seems like a nice casual game and interesting enough, not quite a console seller, but something to do to pass the time and relax a bit.

Avatar image for emorainbo
emorainbo

seems like it would make a good unwinding game, kinda like endless ocean or animal crossing.

Avatar image for spin164
spin164

It looks absolutely stunning. I'm looking forward to coming home to this game and relaxing...

Avatar image for Illdo
Illdo

This will probably upset some, but this doesn't at all look interesting. I mean, what is the game about? You basically fly around and do nothing? Bah. Maybe if the landscape looked nice I might find it interesting, but the area in the trailer was bland and not very nice-looking.

Avatar image for morbid_man_guy
morbid_man_guy

i wonder if they have venus fly traps, that would be fun, floating around chomping up all the little helpless petals while they scream in fear and agony.... *ahem* i guess it's not that kind of game

Avatar image for Blizz99
Blizz99

When I get pissed off at a game because I'm having a bad online day and getting owned, I'll go on flower to calm down =D

Avatar image for Philo350
Philo350

Seems relaxing. Need to look more into this lol.

Avatar image for scorch-62
scorch-62

Uhhhh... No... :|

Avatar image for leofiregod
leofiregod

What?

Avatar image for joseph_mach
joseph_mach

Hmm...I'm going to have to look into this one I suppose. Looks interesting.

Avatar image for dark_being
dark_being

The PS3 line-up kick butt. flowers seem like a nice relaxing game.

Avatar image for TehFuneral
TehFuneral

Sounds intresting

Avatar image for Macgyver40
Macgyver40

zen gaming, ohm ohm

Avatar image for lettuceman44
lettuceman44

Interesting........

Avatar image for ch-ch-chaoguy
ch-ch-chaoguy

I am really loving the third party support for Sony, I hope Nintendo can catch up.

Avatar image for TUNEwon
TUNEwon

God I love sony, games never before seen or played. A much needed shot in the arm for gamers like myself who have played it all.

Avatar image for Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

I remember this game from the presser even though they just showed a few seconds of it... it looked beautiful and it doesn't surprise me that the guys behind flow created it.

Avatar image for Mauller
Mauller

These are worthwhile original games that would make me want to get a PS3.

Avatar image for 5FingersOfDeath
5FingersOfDeath

These are the games that need support from us.

Avatar image for Rockclmbr6
Rockclmbr6

Looked seriously beautiful during the incredibly brief clip at Sony's conference. I definitely want to buy a PS3 soon, and this will be one of the games that are a must-buy.

Avatar image for holandes-voador
holandes-voador

I'm looking forward to this!

Avatar image for baystatethrashr
baystatethrashr

looks amazing kinda reminds of okami a bit.

Avatar image for Mr_Tweedy
Mr_Tweedy

I thought Nintendo was supposed to be the one with the innovations... :'(

Avatar image for playstation_wii
playstation_wii

Wow, the video looks awesome and the sound is great!!!!!

Avatar image for Yojimbo8
Yojimbo8

EXCITING! And I like that it will have a little story to it...

Avatar image for Erg_the_Noid
Erg_the_Noid

Maybe this game has more flow than FLOW, so they decided to call it Flow-er. You know, and the next game after that will be called Flowest!

Avatar image for am1damaru
am1damaru

Cube_of_Moon which name you prefer? Super Plant Bonanza or Bloomy Bloom: The Bloomy Adventures. It's only name. You should interest what game is behind this name. I'm really interested about this game, it could be fun ^^

Avatar image for donnygorgas
donnygorgas

Flow was sweet so I'm expecting Flower to be just as fun and relaxing. Can't wait to try it out.

Avatar image for crunchman
Crunchman

This game seems as original as they get, much in the nature of thatgamecompany. I can't wait to hear more! :)

Avatar image for Cube_of_MooN
Cube_of_MooN

Flower? They could have chosen a more interesting name. :(

Avatar image for Slash_out
Slash_out

Looks good, but I don't have a ps3, and my reason to purchase one was lost when FFXIII came on the 360... There is still Disgaea 3 and this game I'm interested in... nooo I'll have to purchase more stuff !

Avatar image for Agulf
Agulf

I've found the support for this game surprisingly positive. Maybe I'm being unfair, but I was expecting some really uncalled for comments when it comes to playing with flowers. But I'm also surprised it actually looks really, really interesting. Can't wait to hear more.

Avatar image for Agreb91
Agreb91

Sounds very original.

Avatar image for CommanderShiro
CommanderShiro

I'm very interested in this game. Its not something that you see everyday.

Avatar image for spirit_obscura
spirit_obscura

awesome

Avatar image for master_hookshot
master_hookshot

Hmmm.....

Avatar image for anti-viper
anti-viper

Lol! When I saw this, I though "this reminds me of Flow" and I was right!

Avatar image for ivan_osorio
ivan_osorio

This looks REALLY interesting! Such a fresh game concept... Nice to see that people are getting creative. I'll be on the watch for this one.

Avatar image for captainduncan
captainduncan

I wish XBLA had titles like this. I can see this game sucking up hours of people's time.

Avatar image for grambyte
grambyte

I like pretty flowers. But euhm playing with them is a different story.

Avatar image for oniryuujin
oniryuujin

Wow, looks awesome, lol I can defiantly picture people playing this late at nite and falling asleep, its so damn soothing.

Avatar image for xMADxDOGx
xMADxDOGx

HELL YEA!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar image for Darth_Xehanort
Darth_Xehanort

This game is different and stunning. This is a day-one purchase! Man, all the best downloadable games are on the PSN.

Avatar image for jakeboudville
jakeboudville

this game might suit my taste since it's different

Avatar image for eddy96_1
eddy96_1

Im a huge fan of flow which was an incredible game. Now this looks fun and its something different. Cant wait to hear and see more. ill def pick this up from the store when its released

Avatar image for tlow0678
tlow0678

finally, gamespot got some news on this game :D

Avatar image for mozzle
mozzle

Now this game floats my boat

Avatar image for vix
vix

This has me intrigued.