A love let­ter to gam­ing

Mac|Life - - CONTENTS - Craig Gran­nell

$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.

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