flOw
by Invictus


Basic Information:
Developer: ThatGameCompany
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
North American Release Date: February 22, 2007
European Release Date: March 13, 2007
Asian Release Date: May 11, 2007
Trophies: Yes


Overview
flOw is a rather artsy title that emerged from the primordial seas of the Playstation Store around three years ago. Despite its age and its small install base, flOw recently received a trophy patch in Europe and North America. It also enjoyed a short stint as a free of charge download on the Playstation store. While it's no longer free, we'll tell you if it's worth a purchase.

Gameplay
Like the rest of flOw, gameplay is rather simple: you consume other creatures and evolve your own.


Using the motion capabilities of the SIXAXIS controller, you guide your creature around as it attacks and eats more advanced lifeforms, as well as the simplistic, krill-like "food" creatures. it sounds boring, but the game is actually a blast and will eagerly have you playing through all five campaigns with all five playable creatures (six if you purchase the DLC).

Singleplayer
There's no story to flOw, but there are five distinct campaigns. You have to guide five different creatures (one per campaign) across many levels (represented by different ocean depths) with the goal of eating, growing and evolving.

The entire game can be completed within an hour and a half of playtime, although earning all trophies can take a bit longer. It's a short experience, but it can be lengthened if you play with friends...

Multiplayer
flOw offers four player co-op. Assuming you have four SIXAXIS or DUALSHOCK controllers (there's no online play), you can guide your creatures across the levels together. Any multiplayer is always fun, and despite the lack of defined objectives, the shared journey is fun.


However, I'm disappointed with the lack of new content. An extra, multiplayer-only campaign or additional creatures would be very fun and would shake up the monotony a bit; however, that isn't the case. You're getting the same experience by yourself or with friends.

Technically, there's nothing wrong with flOw's multiplayer component. The co-op is fun and performs without and glitches or bugs, but the lack of bonus content and online co-op don't win any extra points, either.

Technical
Technically, this is a phenomenal title. The graphics and visuals are rendered well and look crisp in full HD, and the sound is charming and poignant at some moments.

The controls are fluid and perform flawlessly, which is essential in a title that works solely with motion control. No lag or phantom movement was present.

The whole title pulls everything off effortlessly - no bugs, glitches, or framerate drops were to be found. For a game constructed on-then brand-new technology, that's impressive.

Trophies
flOw was recently patched with trophies, and the list offers just enough challenge to be interesting. Some requirements include getting past a campaign without dying, abstaining from eating any creatures or eating any food, as well as things like idling the game or eating all the creatures in the credits.


If you did manage to grab the game when it was free, you'll be upset, though. One of the trophies require the DLC, which can be purchased but isn't compatible with the free version. if you're aching for that 100%, you will have to "re"-purchase the game as well as it's DLC.

Gameplay: 8/10 Superb

Singleplayer: 8/10 Superb

Multiplayer: 7/10 Good

Technical: 9/10 Brilliant

Overall: 8/10 Superb

Technically, flOw is a remarkable title - the graphics and art direction are stunning (especially in HD), the sound is charming and plays well without being repetitive. Gameplay is a blast, and playing through a co-op campaign with friends is enjoyable, although the lack of additional content and online co-op are two issues that could have easily been fixed.

Although it's no longer free to do so, download flOw. With it's great polish, easy trophies, and relaxing mood, it's a fun title to play. And you can grab the game and it's DLC for less than $10, both of which will be ready to go fairly quickly, with minimal install and patch time.

All in all, it's a phenomenal deal and not one that any trophy hunter or art fan should miss.