Flower, the latest attempt to bludgeon the phrase "games are art" into our heads with a crowbar got released today.
If you ever had to interpret poems in school, then you know what's coming. Usually you found yourself reading 20-30 lines that rhymed bit and had some rhythm. Very short, but all the more painful since you were coerced into constructing meaningful interpretation. Often written by a 18th century snob in a drunken opium haze, those poems were mostly written to impress ladies whose lack in quality education made them susceptible to obfuscated language.
As you can imagine, my relationship to teachers suffered from having such points of view when it came to poetry. To this day I have to contain myself not to run to the nearest poetry slam, kick some sad sob off the stage and scream at the audience: "Are you too dumb to see through this farce?" One half would instantly applaud me, while the other half, of course, is just there for the beer and the women. So the chances of someone telling me just that as a snobbish remark, generally keeps me from partycrashing poetry slams.
You might wonder where this is going with Flower. Well, Flower is just like a poem and it is going to received the same way my poetry slam performance would be received. To some it is a graphic demo mixed with a casual flight simulator. That might not sound like much, but if it was a Mortal Kombat licence and you had to shred the armies of Shang Tsung, by mutilating them with your propeller plane flying just above the ground, you would instantly get the message. Meaning that the gameplay itself is nothing to be worried about. It is fine, no complicated puzzles, just fly around and breeze gently trough every flower you come across. Controls are simple, yet gimmicky. Push one button to accelerate, tilt the controller to fly around. Nothing can go wrong.
The question remaining is, whether you are part of the poetry crowd. People desperately trying to attach meaning to 'seemingly' random things. If you are, then this game is for you. Still, it is the same basic flight simulator. But in a haze of overzealous interpretation you now transgress your being into impersonating the hopes and dreams of a potted plant in a nondescript metropolitan wasteland. In her dreamwold, the flower sends out a petal on the wind to turn the bleak landscape back into a paradise again. Each level ends with the plant reawakening in the drab reality of being a potted plant and opening up for the first light of another grey day. In a twist of events, the player finds the world of the room slightly transformed by the power of a dreaming flower upon completion of a level. A triumph of hopes and dreams over the forces of reality. Classic poetry in the making, or was it Silent Hill: The Room?
Certainly rating Flower on the idea of being a basic flight simulator is not a good idea. Whether you like Flower or not, depends on whether you buy into the packaging or not. It is a very relaxed, very easy going game for people in a mellow mood. It is not a game designed to push you into an adrenaline rush until you you have foam spouting from your moth. This is the good life, the laid back experience, something you may want to consider when you are stressed out and try to calm yourself with something other than fish-tank screen-savers and chimney-fire DVDs. In that regard Flower is perfect and hits the mark for not trying to stress out the player more than he already was when turning on his PS3. The game is reasonably cheap, so you will not regret picking it up provided you are in the right mindset. I do not regret buying this game and I must sound crackpot insane by now. Well, time to calm down with some more Flower.