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Snap Judgment – Flower (PS4)

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Flower (PS4)

Flower has been out for quite some time, originally available on PS3 back in February 2009.  It wasn’t on my radar until I played its successor, Journey (also by Thatgamcompany), however.  By the time I was aware of it, a PS4 version of the game had been announced, so I decided to wait it out to experience what I expected would be the highest quality version of the game.

And boy, is it ever a visual and auditory stunner — perhaps not as strong as Journey, but damn close.  Unsurprisingly, given the developer’s pedigree, this is an experience game, focused much less on gameplay itself.

Speaking of, you essentially play a single flower petal at the beginning of each stage, and your sole purpose is to fly around and through other unbloomed flowers, activating them.  In doing so, you gather more and more petals to eventually create a gigantic multicolored train, and every flower you hit chimes a note as if you’re composing music as you go.  This unlocks different things in each stage and ultimately leads you to completing them.

This is where I struggled a bit with Flower, however.  Whereas Journey controlled much like any other third-person oriented game, Flower feels much more like an arcade racing game inasmuch as you actually control the pitch and yaw by tilting the Dualshock 4, and then you accelerate by holding down whichever button you choose.  (Since the face buttons are no longer pressure sensitive as they were on previous Dualshock controllers, I opted for the triggers.)  For some, I’m sure the racing comparison is a favorable one, but I’m rather terrible at those kinds of games.

Because Flower gives you nothing insofar as instruction, I was convinced I needed to bloom every single flower I could find, which often led me to careening around haphazardly, often turning around to grab ones I missed.  This led to frustration in what should otherwise be a very zen-like experience.

But overall, Flower is pretty spectacular.  In its presentation, you’ll begin to understand the core philosophy behind what Thatgamecompany is trying to say about nature’s relationship to the manmade world.  This title left me considering a lot of things by the time I reached its spectacular conclusion, which is one of my very favorite aspects of indie games and why I’m so excited for this new generation.

A worthy experience, my control problems aside, especially with the increased beauty and atmosphere that the PS4 enables.  Better still, this title is cross-buy, meaning that since I bought it once, I can now play it on the PS3 in my room, PS4 in my living room, or PS Vita on the go, which is a damn good deal.  And I know I’ll want to play it again and again.  B+

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Written by Michael

20 November 2013 at 1:02 am

Posted in Games

Tagged with , , , ,