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Flower Review

  • First Released Feb 12, 2009
  • Reviewed Nov 13, 2013
  • PS4

Colors of the wind.

I've heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I cannot conceive of the beholder that wouldn't appreciate the beauty of Flower. Apart from its merits as a game, Flower is breathtaking, perching you atop a flowing breeze so that you may spread the vibrant colors of nature across the land. On the PlayStation 4, Flower is as lovely as ever thanks to a higher resolution, which allows the vividness to shine. Yet Flower's significance is tied not just to its visual elegance, but also to its use of music and motion to carry you across pastoral lands on a powerful emotional arc.

In Flower, you ride the wind. You enter the first level to see a single hovering flower petal; you press a button to surge forward and carry the petal with you, and tilt the controller to steer, as if you're the pilot of a blissful breeze. As you rush through the grass and natural growth, you pass through clusters of flowers, each bud blooming and adding a petal to the ever-growing bouquet that sails through the air. Each time you glide through a batch of flowers, petals emit notes that complement the bucolic soundtrack. In this way, you aren't just a player but a musical collaborator, composing your own countermelody as you rush ahead. Flowers are arranged in rows, circles, and other patterns, and following those patterns enhances the musical effect by allowing each tone to flow into the next.

This is the kind of experience some dismiss for not being a game, much as they might dismiss Journey, Gone Home, or Proteus. There is no score to achieve and no time limit obstructing progress. While there are levels that allow you some destructive powers and require you to maneuver with some care, there is no combat and no death. Reaching the end of each level is your ultimate goal, but the dividend is not place on a leaderboard; rather, your gift is the joy of watching gentle foliage radiate across the land after collecting the prescribed petals. Playing Flower is its own reward, following its narrative journey from easy existence, to conflict, to harmonious resolution. Developer thatgamecompany carefully crafted Flower's tempo so that its lowest emotional point would be followed by an enormous sense of uplift.

Like a snowy mountain ridge or a tranquil river valley, Flower invites introspection and inner calm.

There is always darkness before dawn.
There is always darkness before dawn.

You could reduce the journey's message to a simple environmentalist one, but Flower doesn't argue that humanity is at war with Mother Nature, instead suggests that the two can coexist. Two opposing forces collide, then merge, and that story emerges purely through gameplay and level design, putting an end to any doubt that Flower is less a game than any other systems-driven experience. The power, however, comes not from accomplishing tasks but in the very act of moving and existing. In this sense, you can see how Flower, originally released on the PlayStation 3 in 2009, planted the seeds that led to the developer's follow-up, Journey. Like Flower, Journey leads you to an emotional nadir before thrusting you into a glorious awakening, and like Journey, Flower herds you back into its levels' confines if you try to venture outside of them, though it does so with some awkwardness, in contrast to Journey's subtle nudges.

Just as you might improperly dismiss Flower as "not a game," you might also improperly dismiss it for its brevity: You could easily finish in an hour, and that hour progresses at a relaxed pace, lulling you into security rather than pumping adrenaline into your nerves. But value is more than a simple price-to-minutes ratio, and I'd sooner revisit Flower's serenity than countless 50-hour grindfests. Like a snowy mountain ridge or a tranquil river valley, Flower invites introspection and inner calm, and that kind of interactive experience is almost as rare now as it was when I first surfed these winds.

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    The Good
    Beautiful visuals inspire serenity
    Leads you through a clear and uplifting emotional arc
    Excellent sound design makes you a musical collaborator
    The Bad
    About GameSpot's Reviews
    Other Platform Reviews for flower

    About the Author

    Kevin has enjoyed each of thatgamecompany's peaceful games, and Journey is one of his favorite games of the entire console generation. He played the PlayStation 4 version of Flower twice for the purposes of this review.
    69 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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    GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

    Avatar image for np3trop

    It was interesting for about half an hour, then I put it down.

    Avatar image for easykillzgaming

    Flower is an explosion of brightness. The game is vibrant in colors that apeal to all the senses. At first i did not want to play this game, now im glad i did. Despite what some people say it is really enjoyable. The controls are not like most games being that you have to use the control with all of its motion features. This game is fun to play but can be a pain to navigate because of the motion. The object is to collect flowers and unlock beautiful scenery as you go. This game is truly made just to show off the graphics of the next gen consoles.

    For more gameplay and reviews check EKG on facebook and youtube!

    Avatar image for grommmmmm

    This might possibly be the gayest - in the old sense of the word - game I've ever seen, and I am digging it. Though I can't see myself paying premium for a game that you can complete in an hour, I appreciate what they're trying to do here. I'd really like to see games move away from the formulaic hi-stakes/lo-risk template, towards more experimental reconceptions of gaming. I understand war and crime simulators are going to be more interesting to gaming's core demographic, but that would seem all the more reason to explore new markets. I'd really be interested in a next-gen insect simulation game, where e.g. you're a bee, going about your beesiness. Video games are this age's LSD, and it would be a shame to limit the kinds of trips you can take to the standard Pentagon-sponsored combat simulators.

    Avatar image for Rheinmetal

    It looks exactly the same with the PS3 version. Are we sure they put the right video?

    Avatar image for CatAtomic999

    You can easily devour Flower in an hour, if you aren't too dour and your house doesn't lose power in a surprise storm shower.

    Avatar image for dedodada

    @CatAtomic999 aren't you just ridiculous?

    Avatar image for miriPlays

    "In Flower, you ride the wind..."

    Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? You clearly don't know who you're talking to so let me clue you in: I don't ride the wind, I AM the wind. A flower gets caught in a breeze and loses its petals and you think that of me? No, I AM THE ONE WHO BLOWS.

    Avatar image for HesamB

    @miriPlays Loved Breaking Bad :)

    Avatar image for Naylord

    I really wanted a better comparison between the two versions of the game. I own this on PS3 and I wanted to know weather the upgrade is something that I should add to my list of reasons to get a ps4.

    Avatar image for sadface1234

    @Naylord no I would not make flower a deciding factor in buying a PS4...

    Avatar image for chyng85

    Is it for girls?

    Avatar image for lostn

    Hey Gamespot, the PS4 is not running it in a higher resolution. The PS3 also supported 1080p btw.

    Are there any visual differences at all?

    Avatar image for GreenvaleXYZ

    Proteus kicks ass. Flower and Journey ARE ass. There--three reviews.

    Avatar image for dedodada

    @GreenvaleXYZ you EAT ass

    Avatar image for Bigshotricky

    How can this be consider a launch title when it's just a port from the ps3. If I want to play flower guess what? I have a ps3 to do so.

    Avatar image for Minders

    First game I played on PS3, will be first I play on PS4

    Avatar image for elroytate

    I don't want to start a huge debate, but if it's an eight, why are there no negatives about it? The consistency needs a little work on these reviews

    Avatar image for Chaos_Dante_456

    @elroytate Maybeit didn't feel like a 10. lsck of "bad" doesn't mean a game is automatically a 10

    Avatar image for Crowgasm888

    Good review, as usual (Kevin). Nice game - hardly revolutionary. My daughter (8) loved it and the family would generally sit happily entranced by the attractive visuals and mellow ambiance. Non-gamers found it interesting, albeit briefly. Recommended for a change of pace.

    Looks the same as the PS3 version, however. We wouldn't want to think that PS4 games (or X1) are just re-released with new branding and a lick of spit, would we?

    Avatar image for MondasM

    i seriously cannot understand people criticising without even knowing what they are criticising, well i guess not so many people played games from "that game company"... :)

    Avatar image for Ahiru-San

    is this an HD remake? or like a sequel?

    Flower is one of the reasons I kept my PS3, really. one of my favorite games of all times, and everyone around here knows I'm a huge xbox fan…

    this is one of the games I get my wife to play and she hates videogames… definitely gonna grab this!

    Avatar image for koolkat14

    @Ahiru-San More of a HD remake. It got a visual upgrade and the frame rate has been increased as well. At least that's what I assumed from the video review.

    Avatar image for Mommas_b_o_y

    Okay, I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this review. kz 7, but this 8. It looks soooo boring, but he gives it points for being environmentally friendly? Did they change the date of april fool's to november? Thanks for the laughs. I'm going to show this to everyone. It's comedy gold

    Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

    @Mommas_b_o_y If you want everyone to laugh (at you) then go for it.
    This game achieves what it wants to achieve. You don't judge a shooter for it's platform and RPG element, do you? So what do you expect from this one?

    Guess that is the kind of thinking you can expect from somebody who judged a book for its cover.

    Avatar image for hammoud

    @Warlord_Irochi @Mommas_b_o_y I'm usually open to new ideas and creativity and while this game is different, and beautiful, it really is boring. It's really nice at first but gets old in about 5 minutes. Also, like the reviewer said, it's only an hour long. I don't know. I feel like an 8 is just too much for this. Killzone is also beautiful, lasts A LOT longer, and has more gameplay than just, literally, moving around. I'm not saying Killzone should get a 10, but getting scored lower than this is just ridiculous.

    I agree that games should be reviewed based on what they've set out to be, but to a certain extent. I mean I could make the best game ever about paint drying

    Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi

    @hammoud Reviews are separated depending on game genre and it's purpose. I get your point but, in this case, this game does not try to be more than that; a visual experience that is one hour long and that you may come back someday (Kinda like Journey is some way) Not to mention this came will cause different reactions on people: some will find it a fulfilling experience and others will feel bored by it. Depends on the person.

    So I get your point of view. But when it comes to reviews it's better not to compare the ones from different genres, specially in this website, where every review is actually a personal opinion from the reviewer (That is what Gamespot says, not me :) )

    Cheers man!

    Avatar image for toffifee

    I loved Flower. I tried to get other people to play it, but they looked at me like I was high.

    Avatar image for StellOverdrive

    And we're looking at you the same way.

    Avatar image for toffifee

    @StellOverdrive Hahaha. Maybe something to try. Or at least to play drunk. Really slow-crawling drunk.

    Avatar image for zyxahn

    Makes me chuckle hearing grown men talk about this game. Screw Killzone I'm playing Flower. =P

    Avatar image for Diegoctba

    A game about a flower....the indies never cease to amaze me, maybe they create next time a cockroach to be the main character, oh wait, we already have it.

    Stop ruining the industry!

    Avatar image for s2i2p2i2o

    @Diegoctba Yeah, away with creativity and new ideas! **** off! We want a new generic FPS with MORE EXPLOSIONS! Stop ruining the industry by giving us things besides mindless killing and bullets flying through the air!

    Avatar image for Leboyo56

    Crap...I got Flower through the Journey Collector's Edition, so it isn't registered as bought on the store, meaning no free Vita or PS4 versions for me :(

    Avatar image for djames12345

    imma end up smackin my head on the t.v if i play this high

    Avatar image for devilzzzwin

    So how high do you have to get in order to enjoy this game ?

    Avatar image for steve4123456789

    @devilzzzwin Not at all? This isn't cal of duty.

    Avatar image for KeviNOlighT

    Oh, so awesome.

    Avatar image for Bgrngod

    @breathnac I just went to the Sony store and it looks like you're right since it looks like I now have access to the Vita version even though I bought the PS3 version loooong ago. I can't find the PS4 version when searching, but I suspect it will be treated the same.

    That's pretty rad. I hate rebuying shit.

    Avatar image for mypetmonkey

    Best game on PS4.... PS4, Smashin it!

    Avatar image for anirin

    This looks like an ideal hangover game

    Avatar image for alef321

    this looked delicious

    Avatar image for Bgrngod

    So if I already bought it on PS3, I have to re-buy it for PS4.. right?

    Avatar image for breathnac

    @Bgrngod nope

    Avatar image for the13stuff

    What's the price on this one?

    Avatar image for c_rakestraw

    @the13stuff Eight dollars, I think? That's what it was when it launched on PS3. Don't think the price has increased since then.

    Avatar image for Horndawgie

    I played it when it came out. It is a really great game for what it is, but for a $400 PS4 launch, this game this is one of the best? A 4 year old PSN game? Sad. Greatness delayed.

    Avatar image for jflkdjs

    Awesome review. Thanks Kevin :)

    Avatar image for daikkenaurora12

    @Kevin-V @PETERAKO So nothing was bad about the game?

    Avatar image for Bgrngod

    @daikkenaurora12 Essentially, that is correct. There may have been things not-great about it, but that doesn't make them bad.

    Scoring is not a binary.

    Avatar image for Jshoelace

    "But value is more than a simple price-to-minutes ratio, and I'd sooner revisit Flower's serenity than countless 50-hour grindfests."

    This is a perfect summary and how I feel about both Flower and Journey

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    flower More Info

  • First Released Feb 12, 2009
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • PlayStation 3
    • + 2 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • PlayStation Vita
    Guide a petal through a dream world and experience an emotional journey in Flower.
    Average Rating1563 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate flower
    Developed by:
    Annapurna Interactive, ThatGameCompany, Bluepoint Games
    Published by:
    Annapurna Interactive, SCEE, SCE Australia, SCEA, SCEI
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    No Descriptors