Flower is a game that combines many different concepts into a single, sensual experience

User Rating: 8.5 | flower PS3
Overall: 8.7/10

Time Spent to Date: 5-10 hours

Bottom Line: Progressive, Pixilated Art


+ Great, innovative game design
+ One of few games to exclusively use the motion control in the PS3 sixaxis
+ Colors and use of colors are awe-inspiring
+ No pressure in the game
+ No words or story


- Short length
- Low replay value
- No words or story

Flower is one of the most unique games I have ever played. From the start, players don't really know what to expect or what type of game could be comprised from flying flower petals around a beautiful world. Instead of using the typical controller setup and functions, you use the sixaxis controller's motion detection system as a to navigate the 3D environments. The only control you have is to press a button to initiate wind, and then you must steer your collected petals to other flowers to bloom them.

There are six levels in the game with relatively no difficulty existing in the game. You cannot die, and you are not restricted by time or any other factors that have governed games in the past. The focal point of the game is to bloom enough flowers and reach the next portion of the environment, with each environment having three areas. In each board there are three secret flowers that can be collected. This encourages a lot of exploration and will yield a reward upon blooming all of the flowers.

The story is very derivative, vague, and seems to highlight the battle between corporate/capital driven humans and the natural beauty of the world. This proves to set the tone for the experience, as your overall goal is to return the world to a more natural and beautiful state. The really nice perspective about the game is there is no narrative or written part of the story. The gamer is left to extrapolate what the game's story means to them. This experience is similar to an individual visiting a gallery to interpret a painting, sculpture, or other work of art.

The trophies are trivial at best, but provide an added layer of depth to those who want some replay value. In addition to the trophies you receive, the process of obtaining them provide some of the most memorable parts of the game. These trophy hunts will ask you to illuminate the ponds in the early evening to being blown through a gorgeous cave with hieroglyphs and iridescent pools of water. Players may stumble across these areas on their own, but only if trying to explore the vast environments of the game in their entirety or trophy hunting.

These moments really showcase the concept and experience the developer was aiming to achieve with the game. Even if you are unable to find these memorable spots, the gamer will be treated to a visual smorgasbord of colors and landscapes. As you bloom more flowers, you will see more lively and vibrant colors pulse through the environments. As each area is brought back to life with the blooming of flowers, you can fly to the top of the board and take in the sights as long as you want before moving on. There is also a function after completing the board that will show you various angles and breathtaking shots from the environment. It is a nice touch and really adds to the overall relaxing component of the game.

The game is so relaxing you may feel yourself slip into a subconscious state of relaxation achieved through meditation or in a day spa. You won't find yourself tense or aggravated as you die, but instead floating through the air in stunning environments to some of the most pristine music and audio in any game, resulting in pure ecstasy. I have actually put the game on and just let the music run while I work at home or late at nights. The overall score and sounds seem to be more at home in a day spa, massage session, or during a meditation sequence. It lends itself well to the overall tranquil nature of the game, and adds another layer of depth to the experience.

The biggest issue I have with the game is the lack of replay value and overall length of the game. Once you complete the game and get all the trophies, you will have sunk around six hours into the game. For the cost of the game and being a downloadable game from the PlayStation Network, it is hard to really argue this is a point to really devalue the game's overall execution since most full price games ($60USD) only offer ten to fifteen hours of play.

However, being a frugal and prudent value shopper this is a pretty big disappointment to me. I was sad to see the game end when it finally did, and found myself looking for more. I would like to see a full length game with this concept applied to it, and maybe this was the third and final step to seeing such an execution from the game's developers. When you couple the length with the lack of replay value - it really takes the game out of the top tier games available (either with a 9.0 or 90%+ score). The developers are gifted enough to have created the graphical and audio masterpiece that will stick with players and make this one of the most memorable gaming experiences of their lives, despite the diminutive interval of the game.

Despite the flaws, Flower is easily the most artistic game and biggest surprise of 2009 for me. When all is considered, Flower is an economical game that can be enjoyed by virtually anyone, from the hardcore gamers to children.