Video Game Rentals Delivered

flOw (PSN)

David Yun (PSN Gamertag - Vawce) David Yun (PSN Gamertag - Vawce): (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-04-25 01:09:53

flOw (PSN) - Rank C, WTF? Award

Developer: ThatGameCompany
Publisher: SCEA
Date: 2/22/07

Also available for PSP and PC

Actually, that Rank C is just a weak guess. You can justify any grade you'd like to slap on this game. You can argue that it's a half-baked tech demo for tilt controls, and slap a FAIL on flOw with complete integrity. Or you could argue that its simple beauty transcends the offalness of videogames into the purity of true art. That's more than a bit pretentious (and a bad pun), but I could imagine a cogent argument for slapping awards on it.

flOw is controlled by tilting the controller to direct an amoeba-like organism into other tiny creatures. As you devour them, you grow bigger and more complex. Once you're sufficiently elaborate, festooned with tendrils and pseudopods, you descend to a deeper level where you attempt to feast on larger creatures, more capable of fighting back. And so on.

flOw is unarguably beautiful. If only it would play itself, I'd call it the greatest screen saver ever created. I just...the thing about it...well, there's just not much GAME here. It's twelve different kinds of cool, but there just isn't enough substance to be good. Or bad, for that matter. Except for the fiddly Sixaxis motion controls. Those are bad. Unless they were meant to intentionally emulate the random flailings of a protozoa. ARRGH. What is this thing? I mean, WTF? I do not advocate recreational drug use, but this might be the perfect game to zone out on while stoned.

flOw originated as a student project, and you can play the initial Flash version here. I have to admit, the hi-def graphics and audio track of the PlayStation 3 version do contribute a great deal to the experience. Also, the preciseness of the mouse makes it feel more "gamey", and less of an experimental arthouse experience. At $8, the PS3 version might be worth exploring, even if only as a curiosity. However, if you're looking for something more substantive, skip it and try out their much more structured (and excellent) followup Flower.

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