- Released: 2018
- Played on: Android
- Also available on: iOS
- Time to get into: 10 Minutes
- Time to complete: 45 Minutes
- Multiplayer: No
I will keep this review nice and short to match the game I’m writing about: Florence. It’s an enchanting mobile game that tells a story very effectively in around 45 minutes. Told through cut scenes and various puzzles, you walk though a period in the life of Florence Yeoh and her relationship with someone she meets: Krish. Whilst there’s isn’t really any challenge to the game it does a few ingenious things I’ve not come across before in games and it thus worth experiencing for anyone who loves narrative games.
What I liked about it
In literal terms, most of your time in Florence is spent pressing and swiping on your phone screen – nothing new or difficult there. What pulls you into Florence’s world is how well the developer, Mountains, has matched up these presses and swipes with the activities, events and feelings that Florence is going through. These range from the obvious – swipe back and forth to brush your teeth – to new and creative mechanics like completing simple jigsaw puzzles in order to say the right things on a first date. I don’t think there are any missed steps here – the harmony between your inputs and your character’s experience is always intuitive and always just right. My favourite part of Florence was something I’ve not seen before in games; there’s a point when, in order to move on, you have to not play the game! And that (lack of) input fits perfectly with what Florence is going through. Time and time again I found myself smiling at the way the game manages to describe Florence’s emotions with subtlety and flair.
What I didn’t like about it
There’s not much to specifically not like about Florence. The ending is slightly rushed. As a result I wasn’t quite ready for it and was left with some frustration about the way the story goes. It’s insistence on taking you back to a menu screen in between each chapter seemed odd too and pulled me out of the story too much. Otherwise the only things I would mention as drawbacks are really to do with how it is set up. It is altogether too short – whilst I’m glad it didn’t outstay it’s welcome I arrived at the end just as I was really enjoying playing. Lastly, there will be those put off by the lack of challenging game play. I’m not entirely of that opinion at all, but I do think there is more room in these sort of ‘interactive novel’ games for a higher degree of difficulty. It’s not necessary for what Florence is trying to be, but it holds the game back from real greatness.
For all it’s simplicity, there are parts of Florence the like of which I’ve not found in a game ever before and that alone makes it worth playing. You’ll also find a charming and intuitive game that puts a smile on your face. If only it lasted a bit longer!