E3 2013 Preview: Flower For Playstation Vita
Flower, the serene motion controlled gaming experience from Thatgamecompany, is blowing off of the PS3 and onto the Vita. We got a chance to try out this almost meditative portable experience, this year at E3 2013.
For those of you who don’t know what Flower is, it’s basically an abstract game. You play as a gust of wind, blowing around the world picking up flower petals from every flower you come across. As you do this, an otherwise barren and dreary landscape starts coming alive. Wastelands bloom with grass and trees and the beauty of nature is restored to a world that you can only assume was long destroyed by mankind. Yes, it’s a bit of a hippy dippy eco-friendly message, but it’s still a blast to play.
The big new features in the Vita version of Flower are its two control schemes. The first control scheme is much like the original PS3 six-axis control scheme. Your gust of wind is controlled via tilting the PS Vita in different directions. Of course, Thatgamecompany also thought ahead about the people who don’t want to jiggle and shake their Vita in every direction while sitting on the bus, and included a secondary control scheme as well.
This control scheme utilizes the Vita’s touch surfaces, but not as you would expect. You have to put your thumbs on either side of the touch screen, and you move your gust of wind by sliding your thumbs up and down the screen itself. You are essentially controlling the wind much like you would control an RC car, turning by sliding one thumb higher than another, and pulling full 180s by sliding one thumb up and one thumb down. You can also increase your gust’s speed by pressing on the back touchpad.
The secondary control scheme is decent, but it seems a bit misplaced. It’s basically a twin stick control scheme, on a console that has dual analog sticks, that doesn’t use those analog sticks. There’s no reason this exact control scheme couldn’t have been done with the Vita’s built in controls. As it stands, these controls work well enough but still screw up sometimes in a way they just wouldn’t if you were able to use the analog sticks.
Otherwise, the game is the exact Flower that you remember for the PS3. It’s peaceful, calm, serene, and a perfect distraction on a long plane or bus ride. It was one of the highest rated indie games on the PS3 and is a fine addition to the Vita’s library. Be on the lookout for Flower on the Vita when it releases later this year.