It is difficult to believe that there may still be a PS3 owner, or a gamer out there who hasn’t yet heard of thatgamecompany’s Flower. The game was showered with awards and recognition since its release in 2008, most recently winning a BAFTA award for Artistic Achievement in 2010. It is also one of my personal favorites and one of these games I’d recommend to anyone without any second thoughts.

Much like other titles of the studio, Flower is an unusual title, often categorized as ambient gaming experience. It is a genre I have been very fond of for quite a while – an interactive entertainment type where player’s immersion and emotions take precedence over the score, reflexes or button mashing. It is a game that lets you relax and enjoy yourself in front of the console – a commodity much valued at the end of a busy day.


The game places the player in the role of the wind guiding the flower petals through the meadows. Passing by the flowers spread around the environment makes them blossom and give away a spare petal to the player-controlled group, creating ever-growing vortex of colors and shapes. Blossoming all the right flowers opens up further areas for exploration and unlocks hidden secrets.

There is no score, no HUD, no text messages, no voiceover – just the sound of the wind and delicate tones of the music and sound effects. Smart use of light, color and sound makes sure that the player never really gets lost in the experience and the path onwards is always clearly marked in a subtle, non-intrusive way.


The controls couldn’t possibly be simpler. Using Playstation Sixaxis motion recognition, the player can tilt and turn the controller to direct the wind. All the buttons serve exactly the same purpose – pressing any of them creates stronger breeze, allowing quicker movement. (Personally I found the L2 and R2 buttons to work best, since they permit a better pressure controls than ones on the face of the controller.)

Executing more complex maneuvers such as tight turns and quick velocity changes may appear challenging at first, but within minutes anyone should be able to master the controls and guide their flowers like a world-class pilot.

Flowers, petals, simple controls, no score; at this point many core gamers may think “oh, it is one of these games for girls and noobs”. I was surprised to see how many hardcore players, normally grinding away in titles like Modern Warfare, Starcraft or Counter-Strike got glued to the sofa with this game. It is really difficult to put away and often a simple “let me show you this little game” resulted in my friends playing through the entire length of the game in one sitting (and that includes a beautiful, interactive credits sequence).

I did not mind though. Watching someone else play Flower is nearly as enjoyable as playing it yourself. It’s all thanks to the amazing visuals and the emotions Flower evokes in the player.


Without spoiling too much of the story (yes, Flower does have a narrative skillfully woven into the six chapters) I can guarantee to anyone that you will be surprised, if not shocked by how much of an emotional roller-coaster this game becomes in the second half. It truly takes skill, craft and a lot of talent to make a player get so attached to what in fact is a bunch of polygons on the screen of a TV.

“A bunch” though, could be a serious understatement. While I do not have the technical details on the game’s engine, at any given moment it is able to render thousands (perhaps millions) of blades of grass on the screen, all perfectly lit, animated and interactive. It’s hard not to marvel at the sheer technical achievement this game is – and the fact that the technology is put to a great use through the creative and art direction – only makes it better.


Flower is that one-of-a-kind game – a title every Playstation 3 owner should see. It’s a game, it’s an experience, it’s a piece of interactive art. Even if flowers and nature are not really your kind of thing, I strongly recommend giving Flower a try. You may be surprised by how deep and enjoyable your experience will be.

Maybe, even, when planning your next weekend you may end up deciding to go out of the city for a day and enjoy some time laying on the grass and staring at the sky.

Flower: Trailer (click to play)


Flower by thatgamecompany:

The game is available exclusively for Playstation 3 and can be purchased over the PSN.

Flower is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
©2008 Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
Developed by thatgamecompany.