Sony swung by this week to show off some of their early 2009 titles. Among the slew of Playstation Network games being demoed was Flower. Does it live up to the growing hype?
I couldn’t wait to finally get my hands on this game after hearing nothing but glowing impressions from E3. What intrigued me the most going in was the thought of not having to worry about shooting enemies, dying, or even having to learn complicated controls beforehand. After playing the first three levels, though, it made me realize something.
This game is unlike anything I’ve ever played or seen before.
If you’ve been following this game at all, you’ll know the detractors have been out in full force. “This is not a game,” they’ll say, or maybe even going as far as calling it a "controllable screensaver" or *shock* a “non-game.” That’s ok. I’m not going to claim that Flower is anything more than what it really is.
At its core, it’s fairly simple. You need to fly around large grassy fields (as the wind) and collect petals from flowers before moving on to previously closed sections. That’s about it. Now, here are two reasons why you should remain interested.
For the most part, I can’t stand Sixaxis motion controls. They’re either tacked on or implemented poorly. But for Flower, the motion controls actually make the game better and feel more intuitive, so much so that I think using a stick to move would take away from the experience. Besides tilting the controller, the only other button you use is either one of the top 4 trigger buttons to make you go forward.
Screenshots or videos don’t do this game justice at all. You need to see this game in motion to fully understand and appreciate why it looks so damn good. When you zoom down through the grass and it sways back and fourth as you then fly up into the sky, it's all quite exhilarating.
While there wasn’t a great deal of variety between the levels, the Sony PR rep there said there would be more “environmental” adversaries and challenges to make the game a bit more difficult than the opening levels (and emphasized "a bit"). What concerns me the most about Flower is the price and the amount of content. It looks like there may only be six or seven levels total, so hopefully the game isn’t too short. There will be trophy support, too, but I wasn’t told what kind in terms of challenges.
With all the shooter and gun games coming out, it’s nice to finally just play a game and not have to feel so tense or alarmed. I’ll be interested to see how the mainstream audience responds to this.