Monday, December 23, 2013

Flow (Vita)

Around the time I got Journey Collector’s Edition, I reviewed the game Flow off of that collection, since I had not played it beforehand, and I called it art in video game form. Recently, Flow has also been ported to the PlayStation 4 and Vita systems, joining Flower as a Thatgamecompany game available for the new home console. When I found out about Flow’s recent porting, I became curious about how the game would work with the Vita’s controls, so I decided to check it out. After having played the Vita version of the game, I can safely tell you that the game is still worth the investment.

As with my review of Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault for Vita, anything I have said about Flow that is not related to graphics or controls can be found my original review of the PS3 version; also like Full Frontal Assault for Vita, keep in mind that this review is based solely on the single-player experience (the game disabled Network functions when I played). Now that that’s out of the way, I would like to explain how the experience differs between PS3 and Vita, if applicable.

The graphics of the Vita port of Flow are very impressive, especially for a handheld device, though this may have to do with the game’s art style. In any case, I’m impressed by how smoothly the game flows (no pun intended), with very seamless movement and no noticeable lag. The game looks just as good as ever, which shows evidence that great care was taken with this port’s visuals. As for the controls, there obviously had to be some modifications made to fit with the Vita’s layout. To move, you have to take advantage of the system’s gyroscope function, which makes sense since the PS3 version used the console’s SIXAXIS controls for movement. Controlling your organism with the gyroscope takes a little getting used to at first, but you quickly get the hang of it and the game becomes enjoyable to play through. As with the PS3 version, you can use practically any button you want to gain a short boost, but now there’s the added capability of using both shoulder buttons (at once) to help stabilize movement, which works fairly well.

The Vita version of Flow is a very well-made port of a great indie title and I highly recommend downloading it, whether you have or have not already played and enjoyed a previous version of the game. The gyroscope-enabled motion controls take a little getting used to, but overall it is a very solid product that is very much worth your time and money. It may cost $6 to download, but it will work with the PS3 and PS4 in addition to the Vita, so you will definitely be able to get more mileage out of your purchase if you have at least one of the aforementioned consoles. If you only have the Vita on hand, it’s still worth the purchase anyway.

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