flOw

Yes…it’s supposed to be spelled that way…

Unless you’re entirely new to the world of browser-based Flash games then you’ve probably already heard of flOw, the game that started life as an MFA thesis, grew into a Flash phenomenon, and is now one of the quintessential classics in its genre.  Like the Nintendo Wii this is the sort of game that reaches out to gamers and non-gamers alike.  It isn’t something merely to be ‘played’ but something to be ‘experienced.’

The three person team responsible for flOw have nearly perfected the Casual genre with a blend of sound, visuals and intuitive gameplay that come together wonderfully.  Just grab the mouse and start your journey into the deep ocean depths.  In case it doesn’t occur to you right away holding down the mouse button propels your creature forward; letting go releases forward momentum. The rest you’ll discover, and will likely find much more pleasure discovering, on your own.  For instance, what happens when you eat the red organisms?  Or the blue ones?

Without a doubt one of the defining characteristics of flOw is the incredible sense of atmosphere, with its soft glowing lifeforms and soothing ambient music.  Even some of the more ‘active’ encounters never manage to feel hectic or pressing, thanks in large part to Austin Wintory’s superb score.  And as far as I know death is impossible (though you can be pushed back near the surface).  But don’t let that fool you, flOw isn’t an abstract ‘sandbox’ game either.  It keeps to traditional convention, having both an objective and a completion goal – should you choose to pursue it.  And all throughout questions abound such as: How deep does it go?  What’s down there?  What must I do once I get there?  Is there a secret to achieving the greatest evolution?

In case you don’t have regular internet access there’s an offline version available as well.  A small zip file can be downloaded from the main page and played on any computer with Adobe Flash.  I don’t mind saying that flOw is an embodiment of ‘art as game’ that is equally fun to play as it is to experience and appreciate for its artistic achievement.  Well done.

Designer: Jenova Chen & Nicholas Clark
Type: Original
Genre: Casual
Format: Browser (Flash) Game, Compression Pack
File Size: 11 MB
Control Scheme: Mouse
Portable: Yes
Version Played: 4.14.06

Visit the Official Homepage

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Published in: on April 3, 2009 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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