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About the product
- Full HD at 1080p - Vibrant environments.
- Dynamically Adjusting Experience - Customize your game experience.
- Multiplayer mode - 1 to 4 players; same screen.
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flOw is a game about piloting an aquatic organism through a surreal biosphere where players consume other organisms, evolve, and dive into the abyss. With an embedded design of DDA (dynamic difficulty adjustment), players with differing skill levels can intuitively customize their game experience and enjoy the game at their own pace. You can play as one of 5 creatures, each in a unique environment. Lose yourself in the crisp “deep blue” in full HD at 1080p and 5.1 Surround Sound. Use the SIXAXIS wireless controller for an organic experience that will allow you to glide, flit, and flOw through the universe.
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The only gameplay difficulty I encountered was the nature of the game controls; it uses motion sensors instead of joysticks to navigate the creatures. It took awhile to get used to.
One of the features that I unexpectedly liked was its multiplayer option. My friend and I would play this game for hours.
flOw started as game designer Jenova Chen's MFA thesis in applying Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's flow theory to video games in making sure that the challenge is not greater than the abilities provided, and vice-versa. Depending on how you play, the difficulty will change.
The game takes place underwater. You are an organism that swims around and eats other creatures--some are tiny, and some are much larger than you. The more that you eat, the larger you become. You progress through the game by going down the various levels. It seems that, whether you eat nothing or everything, you will still be able to progress at your own pace, creating your own gaming experience (though the larger creatures won't let you pass easily). If other creatures eat away your health, you will not perish, but you will be transported to the previous level with the chance to regain your stamina by eating more so that you can go down and continue attacking. This gives a sense of accomplishment without making failure feel harsh enough to get discouraged, creating a relaxed environment. After you reach the bottom level, you will advance to a similar world using a different type of organism, and this continues for another few types.
The game can be calm and relaxing or it can be fast-paced and active, but since the only way to move is through SIXAXIS motion control (and the only other control is to push any button to move faster), it's easier to control with a slower approach, which is what I believe is intended here. The game is a remake of a Flash game, which can be played for free on thatgamecompany's website. If you're not sure if the nature of the game is for you, I recommend playing that first, but remember that the visuals and the soundtrack have been vastly improved in the HD remake for the PS3. So beautiful that it could almost be classified as interactive art, flOw will make a very welcome addition to your PlayStation Network library.
flOw has you controlling a fish/bacteria kind of creature as you guide it through different levels, eating other organisms and moving on to the next level. The more you eat, the more your creature changes form and gets bigger. If you get attacked, you lose your size and have to go back a little. Honestly, I didn't find this game fun at all, and I'm the kind of person who loved games like Seaman. I can find fun and entertainment in a lot of things that most people don't like, but not here. Yes, I can see how some people will like the game because of how different it is, but playing flOw is like watching a standard art film- you can call it art all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that it's boring. I never wanted to progress through the levels or even beat the game because of how basic everything was. Eat enemies, move on to next level, eat more enemies, go to next level, eat different portions of a big enemy to defeat it, move on to the next level. That's the game for you.
The whole thing's controlled with the Sixaxis, and it never felt accurate to me, even when using three different controllers. Super Rub a Dub, another game that just uses the motion control, is much more accurate, so it's not my controllers' faults. It seems like this was just a demo for the feature, and there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to use the analog stick.
Like I said, visually this game is peaceful. It's not anything that couldn't have been done on the ps2 or Xbox (in fact, it kind of reminds me of Electroplankton for DS), but the style is nice. There's not much to the soundtrack either since it's mostly ambiance and odd grunts here and there.
I haven't played Flower yet, but I've heard nothing but good things about that game, made by the same company who made flOw. It looks a lot more fun, that's for sure. But if you're looking for a good downloadable game on PSN, I can't recommend this at all, especially if you have to pay for it. I'm giving it an extra star just for having a couple of trophies, though I can't see myself willingly getting any more than I got on my first playthrough of the game. Try this out at a friend's house or something before giving up your money. If you want some good PSN games, go for PixelJunk Shooter, PixelJunk Monsters, The Last Guy, Critter Crunch or Super Street Fighter 2 HD Remix.
You eat organisms while trying to avoid getting eaten using Six Axis motion control--and as such it is highly recommended to play sitting straight up. That's it.
If anyone purchases this title thinking it's a "normal game" they will be sorely disappointed.
I wouldn't dare pay full price of $7.99. I was able to get this free from a promotion. Its a better screensaver than a game. This just isn't my cup of tea.
If your nerves get agitated very easily...do yourself a favor and skip this one.