Game Critique 2: Flower
It is easy to argue that Flower does not have more than a primary game mode, due to its overly simplistic nature in both game mechanics and game interface. The main game mode has the player control the wind while collecting flower petals through a landscape styled environment, in order to open a portal and proceed to a new level.
The secret “credits” level does diversify this slightly however. Whereas the other levels have the player collect various petals, this interactive credits screen has the player collect petals that are also associated with the names of people who developed the game. The player will pass through these names and “collect” them, giving an alternative to the typically boring credits roll found in most games and movies.
By using the sixaxis (the PS3’s built in motion controls) to be the main input for the game brought the main challenge for the game. It forced the player to have a better sense of their own kinesthetics and is not the average way to control a game. Like Ico, there is not user interface, and any indicators (like how many petals the player collects) would be visually represented within the game world. Seeing this visual change in both the player’s character, and how the world would change based on which flower petals were collected, created the main incentive to continue further into the game.
Perhaps the only drawback with the minimalistic nature of the game, is that only so much could be done with the idea. There are six levels in total, with three of them being very similar, and leaves a longing for more risks to have been taken. The game’s aesthetic appeal is sublime, but creates a feeling like there should have been more worlds to explore. Like it was a technical demo of a mechanic that could be used in a larger scaled game.