A love letter to gaming
$2.99 From Annapurna Interactive, florencegame.com Made for iPhone, iPad Needs iOS 10.0 or later
Florence is difficult to review. First, because in saying too much, it’d be easy to ruin the experience for those yet to play. Secondly, it’s hard to say whether this really is a game in a conventional sense. There are certainly game-like elements, but Florence is perhaps best thought of as an interactive storybook, charting a young woman’s first love.
Regardless, the title was created by the lead designer of Monument Valley, and so it’s not surprisingly peppered with clever touches, and full of heart. There’s no Escher-style architecture to manipulate here; instead, you get interactions that cleverly evoke the feel of everyday life. For example, Florence’s existence starts out mundane, and you early on help brush her teeth, lifelessly swiping about the screen. But later, you encounter a conversation between young lovers, and complete speech balloon jigsaw puzzles that have fewer pieces as the pair become more comfortable.
The main snag with Florence is it’s very short, and broadly devoid of replay value. There’s not enough “game” to make you want to go back to the puzzles, and the story’s brevity means it lacks the return power of a great book or movie. Still, as an experiment at the fringes of gaming and interactive stories, it’s worth a look — not least if you like the idea of delving into an intimate, sweet-natured story on your iPhone or iPad — especially one delivered in a unique way.
the bottom line. A beautifully realized tale that’s as fleeting as the moments it portrays.
Florence is full of sweet touches, such as her floating on air when she hears music she loves.