Flower, Sun and Rain for the DS is a strange little game. There’s a whole lot of bad, but there’s also some good making up for part of it. Let’s start with the flaws…
The graphics are iffy, with cheap-looking 3D character models who should all get funded by the Ministry of Silly Walks, but that can easily be explained (and thus partially dismissed) by the fact that it’s a port from a relatively early Playstation 2 game (2001).
Gameplay is tedious, with lots and lots of walking from A to B and back (covering the same corridors hundreds of times), and all puzzles are extremely similar in nature, no variation whatsoever.
The story - while very intriguing at first - is not only weird but it doesn’t even get an adequate wrap-up. In fact it all turns out to be unexplained nonsense. The weird opening movies (part FMV, part 3D) don’t make any sense whatsoever, and finishing the game doesn’t help at fixing that. Basically, if you’re looking for some kind of closure, this is not the game you want to play. Although apparently, if you’re familiar with the developer’s earlier title “The Silver Case”, there’s a lot of references to that one, and even a few recurring characters, so maybe you’d get the bigger picture if you played both games. Unfortunately this was all lost on me, and so my game ended as a convoluted mess…
But, with all that criticism out of the way, the game does have a few strong points. The story structure is interesting at first: more or less reliving the same day over and over again makes for an amusing opening to each chapter. Plus it’s intriguing, you want to find out WHY you’re reliving the same day. And the constant repetition of your “morning ritual” practically turns into a running gag that gets funnier every time you see it.
The game developer is also aware of the flaws in his game and constantly mocks them. This I consider a big plus, for it means that half of the tedious parts were intended that way. The distance you constantly have to travel gets mocked often and even most of the longer dialogues get mocked beforehand. Your character constantly asks if “this is going to be one of those long stories he’ll have to sit through” when expecting a longer dialogue, and he seems aware that you’re playing a game, even going so far as to actually say that “there’s a lot of exposition in this script”.
I kind of liked these touches. They make you overlook most of the flaws until you reach the unsatisfying end.
All in all, Flower, Sun and Rain is still little more than an average game, but at least it has some self-aware humour going for it to try and outweigh its weaker elements.
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Time Played: 10-20 hours