Review: Flower, Sun, and Rain (DS)June 25th, 2009 | Written by Danreb Victorio | Topic: Nintendo DS, Reviews
Developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and Marvelous Entertainment, the same development team that brought gamers Killer 7 and No More Heroes, Flower, Sun, and Rain, was released for the PlayStation 2 that relied on its originality to create a unique experience. While the game was totally original, it didn’t exactly get rave reviews in Japan. Now that the development team has made quite a name for itself, it’s giving Flower, Sun, and Rain a second chance on the DS this time, and it’s not much better.
Flower, Sun, and Rain puts players in the shoes of Sumio Mondo, a self-proclaimed “searcher.” To keep things simple, this guy is a whiz at finding stuff. He receives an invitation from the Flower, Sun, and Rain Resort to help stop a terrorist attack. Unfortunately for him, because of a series compromising events prevents him from doing so, and it in turn makes the story as deep as it gets.
But while the story is deep, the gameplay is very vanilla. The game isn’t your typical DS graphic novel, instead it plays like a watered down PC detective’s game from the late 80’s, where you’ll be walking around blocky areas, picking up stuff along the way and solving generic puzzles. When approaching objects or people of significance, players will have to sit through rows upon rows of text and dialogue before finally taking part in a touch-screen minigame. Oftentimes the game will require you to “jack-in” a person’s head by screwing into that person’s eyeball with the help of your trusty electronic suitcase, “Catherine.” Why Catherine? Simply because it would be worse for it to be named Bob. At least… that’s what the game says.
As bizarre as all of it is, the game’s puzzles themselves are even more pointless. For the screw minigame previously mentioned, you’d have to choose between a variety of shapes that’ll fit properly in each person’s head. Unfortunately, there’s no method of telling which one is the right one, except for using trial and error. In fact, almost all the puzzles in the game require you to use some fort of trial and error, making the puzzles seem uninspired. If there’s anything brilliant about these puzzles, it’s the thought provoking numbers of your birthday. The first puzzle in the game requires you to input the date of your birthday followed by the month (numerically), and if it matches what’s in your DS’ Internal Memory, then you’ve got the puzzle solved. Eventually, the game will require you to do all sorts of crazy things with these digits, such as state them backwards, upside-down, and a whole lot of other zany things.
While the game can be praised for its unique narrative and premise, even in the days of the PS2, the game was considered to be ugly. While the visuals have remained largely unchanged with this DS port, it still looks ugly. Sure, the decrease in resolution has the visuals a lot more crisp, but now it’s so crisp that everything looks blocky. So not only does the game play like an ‘80’s Macintosh/Windows knockoff, it looks like one.
The best thing about the game is its soundtrack. To be quite honest, it’s actually addictive. Of course, with some good comes some bad. As stated earlier, there are a lot of dialogue sequences in the game, and since there’s no actual speech in the game, there’s just mindless buzzing in its place. The good soundtrack and the horrid sound effects cancel each other out, making the sound in this game quite indifferent.
Right off the bat, there’s really nothing marvelous about Flower, Sun, and Rain. If there’s any reason to play this game, it’s to see how the developers were before the releases of games like Killer 7 and No More Heroes. Either way you look at it, while the game isn’t bad, there’s nothing impressive or particularly enjoyable, so it’s best to just skip it entirely.