It’s not quite Journey (yet), but you can do a lot worse for chill-out gaming than Flower, thatgamecompany’s first big artsy hit. Originally exclusive to the Playstation 3 many moons ago, it’s out now on PC, and available on most of the big stores – yes, even Epic’s. Players steer a tumbling swirl of flower petals around an obstacle course of hills, wind turbines and the occasional bit of industrial badness. By touching other flowers and causing circles of them to bloom, the world gets brighter, the petal-storm gets bigger and the music swells louder. See the launch trailer swirl by below.
Flower has the unusual honour of being a capital A ‘Art’ game. It’s official – the Smithsonian American Art Museum says so. I was never quite so taken with it, but I must say that this new version looks lovely, and should control a little better than what I played back in the day on PS3. The original version of the game was one of the few to use the controller’s tilt sensors to steer. It wasn’t terrible, but I’d honestly be more relaxed just moving a stick. It’s a very gentle game – a showcase of sights and sounds with minimal challenge, up until the final stretch where it’s easier to trip up.
It’s testament to Flower’s art direction that it still looks absolutely lovely now, a full decade after release – this also pushes the system requirements down to an old i3 with an old laptop GPU. Thatgamecompany sadly missed the 10th anniversary of its February 12th release date, ten years ago, but valentines day seems every bit as valid. Perhaps you could give a single, digital flower as a gift to a special someone, if the option to deliver a bouquet by hand isn’t an option. It’s a pleasant surprise either way. It’ll likely get lost in the mad swirl of releases today and tomorrow, but maybe that’s okay – it’ll just float away on the wind.