Flower – thatgamecompany returns to the PSN!

By: Xander

On: February 13th, 2009


Phew, finally finished ‘I wanna be the guy’! Hah, that took a whil-

Wait, it’s WHAT year now?! Well, time does fly when you’re in a sado-masochistic relationship with a video-game! Luckily I’m finished just in time for the release of Flower.

From the creators of Cloud and Flow, this is certainly an original title. It’s quite difficult to draw comparisons without either referencing TGC’s own works or the even more esoteric PSN experience Linger in Shadows. This aside, part of the enjoyment of the title definitely comes from playing the game yourself, and certainly that’s where Flower trumps its demo-scene partner. There’s a lot more interactivity involved in Flower, the rough explanation of which is that you control a petal in the countryside by utilising the motion controls of the Six-Axis controller to invoke the wind. The ‘goal’ is blow through flowers dotted around the landscape to encourage them to blossom and add their petals to your own ever-growing collection.

Its a very simple game, aided by a simple control scheme where-in every single button on the controller calls forth the wind. The motion controls are amazingly responsive, so much so that really the only thing that stops you from maneuvering your blossom-storm in fantastical formations is that your wrist might just twist itself off. Both a lack of urgency in your objectives, combined with the responsive controls provides an unparrelled relaxation experience, though that isn’t to say your role is an entirely passive one. Each environment adds slight complexities to the activity, as well as new aesthetic delights.


It’s honestly hard to explain how fantastic this game looks in motion, and the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’re involved in the creation of the mise-en-scene is almost painfully gratifying. Whilst the spreading of beauty across occasionally barren landscapes does sound very Okami-ish, what really makes Flower special is your own emotional engagement in the scenarios. You are the one who brings life to the landscape, and so anything that happens after that fact feels like being back at play-school and having your sand castle kicked back in your own face. In Okami it feels like you’re doing a favour to the world, but in Flower everything is a matter of self. There are no other people in the game to identify with, which instead means you find yourself identifying with more abstract notions of yourself. It is quite simply, your nature.

Flower is available now on the PSN for $10/£6.29, and there’s a playable trial available if you at least happen to have access to a PS3. It’s a wonderful game, and I don’t want to say that it deserves to be played. Rather, it’s something you deserve yourselves, what with the Credit Cruch/Economic Disaster/Business Hyperbole going on, there’s just no escapism that’s quite like it!

TIGdb: Entry for fl0wer

  • http://www.adamatomic.com/ Adam Atomic

    I think flower is a big step up over fl0w in terms of presentation and emotional impact and in terms of interaction and gameplay. Playing it made me feel happy.

  • Owlet

    It does look quite beautiful, and the last thing i said looked beautiful (in the gaming world anyway) was half-life 2.

    This looks like the kinda game you play to unwind, and actually UNWIND and be calm. Not DOA beach ball unwind, that’s something horrifically different. Wish i had a ps3 now!

  • AuthenticKaizen

    after watching both trailers i have to say that it would be cool when this title would also come to the pc..
    but unfortunately ps3 exclusive…

  • toastie

    Played through it last night and I think it’s quite amazing.

  • Troy RULES

    Bro, IWBTG took me like two days to beat. Granted, they were during the last two days of high school so that’s all I was doing on my laptop, BUT STILL.

  • Cobalt

    Okami?! I hated that game. Okay, I didn’t hate it, I was just very disappointed. I started playing it thinking, “This is going to be an awesome game.” After doing the same thing again and again, I almost stopped playing. But I didn’t, and I kept playing until I ‘beat’ it. I guess there are supposed to be two final bosses which are hours apart. It’s a very beautiful game, but it’s extremely repetitive. Restore an area, draw on plants, fight monkey creatures, rinse and repeat. Other games mix things up to keep the game fresh. I think the game is overrated. Maybe I’m sounding a bit too hedonistic, but it just couldn’t keep my interest. I stopped playing and I can’t muster the will to continue.

  • Rayza Black

    Bah, I lack a ps3. What a bummer.

  • Ezuku

    Agreed, console exclusive stuff makes me a sad panda

  • http://lumberingdream.com/ !CE-9

    Flower is the most beautiful thing since Sacrifice, to me that is.

    Rayza Black & Ezuku: it’s a club now.

  • Ezuku

    Oooh, I love sacrifice. Such a shame that game (and company) died.

  • http://iterationgames.com jph

    Yes I very much enjoyed that,. although I thought around half way through that is was going to be too short for my money,. however the game gets more interesting adding elements each phase and the city level on its own was worth the price,. the game is short, about the length of a film,. I’d say fair for the $10 price as I am sure to play with it a bunch more, for reasons other than getting to the end.

    The game is quite an achivevment, being unique in most regards; art style, gameplay, and design are all quite impressive. Congrats on a fine achivment to the makers.

  • http://www.idlecode.net d3sphil

    I’ve been waiting for Flower for a while. Never was a fan of fl0w, but after downloading this and playing through it, all I can say is it is amazing.

    The game is stunningly gorgeous in every way. And the progression of gameplay was a great surprise. As stated above me,the city level is quite wonderful. Make’s me happy I have a PS3 (other than for LBP).

    Seriously, just try to play the game. Not for everybody. But if you like it, you might just love it.

    As for the length, I have no complaints. I think I spent 2 hours playing through the game (without unlocking everything). So that’s 2 hours for 10 dollars. Prince of Persia (another awesome game) took me around 12-15 hours to beat. So that’s 15 hours for 60 dollars. So Flower is about 5 dollars per hour while Prince of Persia was 4 dollars per hour. So, all in all, I think the value is there. Plus, Flower is such a work of art, I don’t mind paying that “extra” dollar per hour.

  • Quanrian

    This is one those games that actually makes me want a PS3, heck I don’t even ‘know’ anyone in person who owns one to play it on theirs… This and Little Big Planet made me ‘think’ about getting a PS3… Than 360 got Community Games and I stopped caring about the random innovative releases the PS3 would get.

    Back on topic though, I think it’s wonderful they actually expanded from what I saw originally. Initially it didn’t really impress me and I was very underwhelmed because it seemed… well… pointless. Hearing that they actually incorporated progression however does make me at least intrigued.

    I like fl0w alright, but it too had a sort of shallow experience, that made it drift more towards arthouse game than real game. I think this dev team will always be more arthouse than structured. It’s nice to see them breaking a bit out of the arthouse mold though, I actually do like a challenge in my games and when they remove that, it definitely makes me, a Sad Panda.

  • UltimateWalrus

    My Sound Design teacher was the composer for this game! Vincent Diamante!! :D

    This game is really fun (even pretty intense sometimes). I think it may have the best realtime grass effect that mankind has ever managed to produce. Plus, it is the only PS3 game that correctly uses the Sixaxis controller — you can even do loop-de-loops, if you want.

  • PHeMoX

    +1 for the sad pandas here.

    *Playing it made me feel happy.*

    And that’s quite an achievement? ;)

    No, just messing, seriously I like this new take on how games should work and have an emotional impact, I am sure TGC will come up with even more of these games. Apparently it works.

    I do hope they don’t forget to make their games a bit more challenging.

    I haven’t played flOwer yet, so shoot me if it’s just me being biased, but apparently reviewers think it’s ‘too easy’??

  • Xander

    Calling it ‘too easy’ seems to indicate that the game was intending to be challenging and failed.

    It really has no challenge. It isn’t really a ‘game’ in that sense, rather it just uses the medium for interactivity purposes. I’m pretty sure there’s no way to lose it.

  • Gutter

    Bought and finished the game, and it’s damn easy. I’m not even sure if you can die, as I got hit once or twice in the whole length of the game. I think that you die if you don’t have any petals left, but there are tons of them.

    So yeah, it’s easy.

    It’s beautiful of course, and very creative, but if Linger In Shadow is an “interactive art game” in the Playstation store, Flower should be as well.

    Playing Flower feels like watching a really good short movie, but to be a “game” it should be at least twice as long and a lot more difficult/challenging.

  • PHeMoX

    *Playing Flower feels like watching a really good short movie, but to be a “game” it should be at least twice as long and a lot more difficult/challenging.*

    I guess that settles it then. Mmm, it’s confusing though. A game like flOwer in my opinion still could very much use a proper and challenging gameplay.

    Being an ‘art game’ isn’t really much of an excuse to me. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be able to like this game though. I am going to try the demo for sure.

  • Mike

    I’m with Gutter. This game^Wdemo does nothing an animation couldn’t do just as well or better.

    The first level was beautiful and open, albeit linear, and I wanted more of the same but less linear. Instead the levels became duller and more closed in. They made less use of the pretty grass effect, which is the main thing Flower has going for it.

    There was ample scope for introducing some simple gameplay mechanic using some interaction between the flowers, the wind and the machinery. At times it almost felt like a simple puzzle game but they forgot the puzzes. But ultimately there was no gameplay.

    The message I took away from the game is that pretty things are better than ugly things. If I have missed something deeper, please enlighten me.

    What I dislike about it is the feeling that they made it into a game because it would make more money than it would as an animation.

    I think TGC has a lot going for it but they are in desperate need of a proper game designer to run things and make sure their next project actually is, and should be, a game.