SunFlowers by The Game Atelier is an arcade-style game for the PS Vita that features a sun…and flowers. Hence the name of the game. I took it for a drive to see if I could shed some light on whether I have a green thumb…or a deadly one.
SunFlowers features a very basic idea whereby you control the sun in an effort to make flowers grow. To do so, you fire rays of sunlight downward. Hitting the flowers directly with sunlight will burn them, so you’re rather advised to blast your deadly UVs at the passing clouds. Happy little clouds, I may add. Each ray of sunshine that hits a cloud becomes a drop of water, and the flowers receive these drops with alarming joviality, so much so that upon growing enough, they explode into seedlings that scatter themselves to either side, bouncing around until they find purchase in a fertile patch of ground. Not all the clouds are happy little clouds: some of them wear a scowl, and will drop bolts of lightning should you try to engage. You might want to keep back from these misogynistic buggers. That, in a nutshell, is the gameplay behind SunFlowers. There’s no plot, because when you’re the sun, you don’t need no steenking plot. You play purely for score, and for the pleasure of unlocking new flowers to enjoy in your virtual garden.
I didn’t mention the garden? I apologize for that. The garden contains one of every single flower that you’ve managed to grow during the course of your game, and if you’re looking to fill out your garden, you’re going to playing a while, because there are 165 different flowers of varying species ranging from happy tulips to scowling roses to cheeky dandelions to dramatic
geraniums gerania geranium flowers. If that weren’t enough, there are actually two gardens, with 165 flowers in each garden. More than enough happy flowers to make even the hardest hay-fevered heart blossom. The flowers are each given a rarity rating, and of course, the rarer the flower, the higher the level that you’ll have to play to gain it. The garden also features “Labee the Bee”, who can take any two flowers in your garden, and splice them into a new flower. You’ll lose one of each of the original two flowers, but you might gain something you’ve not been able to bloom yet during gameplay. From what I could tell, the new flower you get is mostly random, although there is a definite method to some of the randomness.
SunFlowers is a fairly sedate and tame game; it’s far more suited to younger players than your average 35-year old gamer. The gameplay is not going to challenge any hardcore players, although this kind of game is a treat for gamers with a collectivist mindset. The Game Atelier has done wonders with the graphics; it’s friendly, happy, and insanely cute to the point of being twee. And I don’t use the word “twee” lightly. There’s very little not to like about SunFlowers, other than the lack of variety. There’s nothing really bad to say about it—but then there’s not much I can say about it that could put it above other casual games. It’s definitely for that end of the market, if you count yourself there.
Overall, for the price, it’s definitely worth it, and more so if you’re a PS Vita owner with budding gamers growing like weeds around your legs. My own little budding gamers loved the look and simplicity of SunFlowers, and keep hijacking my PS Vita to play it. I personally found limited appeal in the gameplay itself, and had far more fun mucking about in the gardens, trying to fill out my roster of flowers. Don’t judge: it’s more fun than you’d think. Let’s put it this way, if there were DLC offering more gardens and more flower varieties, I’d definitely think about picking it up. As it is, it’s not a bad game, but it could use a little more challenge to appeal to a wider gaming audience.
Final Score: 6 happy little prawns out of 10
Developer: The Game Atelier
Platform: PS Vita
Age Rating: 3+