Platform: PS3
Genre: Action
Players: 1
ESRB: Everyone

thatgamecompany is pushing boundaries with each title. From flow to Flower to Journey, they’ve made the argument time and again for video games as art and as a medium for telling stories in the most unconventional of ways. Flower is a testament to this.

I’ll admit – establishing the “genre” for Flower took a trip over to IGN to see what they had, as Flower certainly defies all current conceptions. The player takes control of the wind and blows breezes carrying flower petals across other flowers to restore life to fields and structures using the controller’s gyroscope sensors. While it takes a little more skill, the experience can be akin to raking a zen garden on your office desk.

Flower is a gorgeous title. The world is full of vibrant colors and is really something to behold. The soundtrack is light and airy, and while spending too much time on a given level might bring it to your attention as a bit much sometimes, it’s usually a sweet and subtle cornerstone of the overall landscape and experience.

While the levels culminate to an overall goal in the end of restoring a broken-down city, a somewhat juxtaposed ending against a theme of restoring fields in the beginning, the game ultimately feels designed to sit down and play to relieve stress for short amounts of time. Each level only takes 10 or 15 minutes to complete, and the entire game could be topped in a little over an hour, but “beating” the game isn’t really the point here. It’s even possible to finish all the levels without the natural ping of a trophy. A hidden trophy for coming back after a week break seems to bolster the idea of playing, going to work for the week, and sitting down again next weekend to relax after 40 hours in a cubicle.

There’s not much else to Flower, and there doesn’t really need to be. Flower encapsulates all that it’s meant to be in the hour or so of total game time, and with a price point on the Playstation Store to match a quality stress ball, it’s a must-have piece of artwork hanging in your XMB.

Bottom Line: 8.5/10

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