Great art, a catchy soundtrack, addictive gameplay and a very low price make SunFlowers a no-brainer for any Vita owner.
SunFlowers is a simple little puzzle game that plays out vertically on the Vita. As you take control of the Sun you have but one requirement to fulfill. Water seeds to grow flowers to collect for your garden. There’s over three hundred different flowers to collect across two different environments each of which containing five legendary flowers which only appear at night. SunFlowers capitalizes on simple and addictive gameplay while also setting itself at a sweet price point.
With the Sun you’ll shoot sunbeams through happy clouds in order to create droplets of water that will in-turn water the flowers. You can you use the touch screen or back touch to move the Sun from left to right and then simply tap the screen or the L/R buttons to shoot out sunbeams. My personal preference for how to play tended to vary depending on what position I was in. Sometimes it was easy to just lay down and use the touch screen completely while at other times it seemed better fit to use the back touch. Either way, one potential issue that arises when holding the Vita vertically is that it’s not exactly the most comfortable way to hold it and play at the same time. I had the luxury of being able to lay down and have the Vita just sitting in front of me but if you’re playing this game while you’re away from home that might not be an option.
Once a flower has fully grown they’ll be added to your garden and more seeds will sprout in new sections of the soil. The ultimate goal of SunFlowers is that you want to collect every type of flower in the game. Some of which you’ll need to play the game on higher difficulties just to get them to appear. Legendary flowers, of which there are five in each environment, will only appear during the bonus stages. In each bonus stage, which appears periodically throughout the game, the game switches to night and you take control of the Moon. Instead of needing to fire sunbeams through clouds you can simply drop moon water without the need of clouds. However you’ll need to avoid angry storm clouds which will send down a bolt of lightning and set a flower on fire. This also happens if your sunbeam misses a cloud and you’ll have just a few moments to quickly water that flower to before it burns to ash and you lose one of your three lives.
As you play through the game you’ll level up, go through each season, complete bonus stages and unlock new flowers. Periodically distractions might arise which will require you to shake your Vita to get leafs off the screen, wipe the screen to clear away fog and even shine a light directly onto the Vita to see the cloud types more clearly. Most of these serve as nice little distractions that will keep you from getting bored with any possible repetition in the game but the sections that require you to shine a light on the Vita seems potentially problematic. For me I didn’t have an issue with holding the Vita under a light source but I can see that being an issue in certain situations. That said despite the screen getting dark in that section I didn’t find it too difficult to see which clouds were happy and which were angry storm clouds.
Other than the default levels, the game also offers a “Tropical” themed world that introduces a few different gameplay mechanics, like a sand dune that puts your flowers in danger, but also introduces Pirate themed flowers. It certainly helps to make the game feel just slightly different while also introducing one hundred and sixty new flowers to unlock. I could new types of environments being offered as DLC in the future which, if they change up the gameplay in the same ways that tropical does, could be pretty cool.
Aside from the game part there’s also a “My Garden” section which essentially serves as a gallery for viewing the flowers that you’ve unlocked in the game. Each flower type has a description as well as a ranking to show how rare it is. You can send flowers to your friends via near or you can even combine two flowers types to make a new one. If you’re like me you’re going to want to see these gardens filled with every flower type which will certainly give you reason to continue to come back to the game.
I’ve really loved my time spent with SunFlowers and the only thing that really bothers me is the speed at which the game tends to move. There’s not really any indication given as to when you’ll reach the next level and eventually once you’ve reached levels into the twenties it seems like it just takes forever. That included with the fact that some of my single games lasted upwards of fifty minutes I kind of wish that the game moved a little faster to ensure shorter play-times. I wouldn’t usually mind how long each game lasts but the simple formula can wear thin over time and even on harder difficulties it can get a little boring after you’ve spent a lengthy amount of time on a game.
All of that said SunFlowers is still loads of fun. It’s simple and perfect for playing in short bursts. Just like The Game Atelier’s previous game The Flying Hamster, SunFlowers features beautiful 2D art with plenty of funny looking faces across flowers and clouds. While it might grow repetitive over time SunFlowers is perfect when you want to get just a game in or need something to waste time. Great art, a catchy soundtrack, addictive gameplay and a very low price make SunFlowers a no-brainer for any Vita owner.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Vita version of the game.
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Developer:The Game Atelier
Release Date:October 2012, September 2012