Monday, October 8, 2012

Flow (PS3)

I am currently in the process of playing Journey Collector's Edition, which I received as a gift, with the intent of reviewing it upon completion. It has occurred to me that of the 3 main games included in the package, I still had not yet played or reviewed Thatgamecompany's first game, Flow (stylized flOw), which I understand has been very well received. Thanks to the aforementioned collection, I decided it was about time I played their first game after putting it off for so long. And now, without further ado, here is my review of Flow.

In Flow, you control a microorganism within a vast array of water. As you advance deeper into your environment, you can extend the creature's length and size by eating smaller organisms floating around each level, or by killing larger forms of microscopic life and eating the smaller life that remains of them. Once you complete your journey through the water, you unlock a new organism so you start it over again.

Controlling your organism is very simple. Movement simply requires you to tilt your controller, while quite literally almost any button will give you a short boost. These boosts are limited, but you can acquire more by eating, and the visual effect of these boosts and how they work depends entirely on the organism. Due to the simplicity of the controls, anyone who is capable of holding a controller can start playing. In fact, the game encourages anyone nearby to, in its words, dive in. When playing with multiple people, the game can get somewhat competitive as you try to snag as much food as possible to grow your microscopic life.

The visuals of the game are simple, yet intriguing at the same time. There's something about it that sucks you in and makes you not want to leave, much like Thatgamecompany's later titles. There's beauty in this simplicity, to where I soon found myself thinking of the game as a work of art more than a game. These visuals are accompanied by an equally elegant soundtrack, which helps the immersion further. As you continue playing, you may find yourself thinking that, as the game says, life could be simple.

Flow may be simple, but its beauty comes from that simplicity. This game also serves as amazing example of art in the form of a game, and its something you want to keep admiring until you absorb every last detail. If you own a PS3, you owe it to yourself to play this game, whether through Journey Collector's Edition or direct download from PSN.

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