If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing thatgamecompany’s Flower on PlayStation 3, you missed out on a creative, evocative experiment that’s unlike anything else. I fell in love with its calming music, stress-free exploration, and incredible aesthetic in 2009.
On Vita, it’s the serene bliss of Flower suffers from notable problems for the first time. Imprecise motion controls, and touch controls that take time to learn, occasionally contribute frustration to an otherwise zen experience. If you already own it on PS3 or PlayStation 4, it’s yours for free on Vita — but it’s the worst way to experience this amazing game.
Flower is a bit bewildering, conceptually, but its clean systems make it accessible and understandable despite the lack of explicit explanation. Levels begin with you controlling the force of the wind, guiding a single petal through fields of flowers. Breezing through grass and over hills brings dim, dark places to life, and each flower you touch blossoms, earning you another petal. By the end of a stage, your lonely starting petal is the centerpiece of a majestic floral trail, sailing through the sky of a gorgeous place you’ve helped create. Vibrance and change is an inspiring form of visual feedback — colorful plant life represents progress, success, and the mark you’ve made in these incredible spaces. Every time I play through its 90 minute story, Flower leaves me with the same strong lasting impression I felt the first time. You are not just an explorer here: You are a creator.