Thursday, November 21, 2013

Flower On The Go Is Still A Great Experience

Quick Note: Flower for Vita is a fantastic port with a tiny control problem that may lead to less immersion in the game world. That being said, it’s still amazing. Buy it.

Sony has made a name for itself by rallying the support of the independent gaming community. Though today they lead a giant mismatched army of crafty creations, five years ago the company was still dipping its toe into the pool of indie gaming. Around 2009 could be considered the turning point, andthatgame company’s release of Flower for PS3 would be the spark that started the fire. With the launch of the PS4 well underway, it makes sense to port such a highly regarded, easy to play game to the new power house. But let’s not forget the handheld port, which can hold a candle to it’s console brethren.

For the few of you who have yet to play this artistic triumph, Flower lets you control the wind as you whip around gorgeous landscapes blooming flowers and growing a giant serpent-like body of flower petals. It’s simple execution, with no dialog and almost no written words, makes this game an easy pick up for any person, regardless of his/her skill at playing video games. And that’s thanks to the controls.

The Vita version, much like the console iterations, uses the accelerometer of the system to move through the levels. Players tilt up and down, left and right to angle and hold down any button to move. On the PS3, this control scheme was so thoughtless it allowed you to dive in deep into the game without realizing you were actually playing the game. However, due to the fact that the player has to look at the Vita screen while tilting the system, it can get a little cumbersome trying to fly around, and it takes away from the experience over all.

The port does contain some interesting touch controls, in which the player uses two thumbs on either side of the touch screen to move and bank while holding the back touch pad to move forward, and they work fairly well, but all the controls seem to invoke is the underlying question: “Why not just map controls to the thumbsticks?”

Despite this minor setback, Flower on the Vita is still an amazing game. The visuals are gorgeous, especially as your floral trail grows larger and you move through the six gorgeous levels. I did notice a few jagged petal models, specifically when you only have one or two petals in your wind stream, but the game looks amazing despite this. Let’s not forget the amazing score that grows as you quickly gather petals. This is a game that hands-down must be played with headphones to truly appreciate it. As an added bonus, the game even has it’s own trophy list for all you trophy hunters out there.

Overall, the Vita version of Flower is a success. Would you play the Vita version over the console iterations? Probably not. But if you want a great game that is relaxing, artistic and playable on the go, you can’t really go wrong with Flower. If you own it on PS3 or PS4 already, it’s free! If not, $7 for a great game is not too much to ask for.

8.5 out of 10

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