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SunFlowers Review – Just What the PS Vita Needed

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Regular readers of SonyRumors will note a story about how $50 PlayStation Vita games might be hurting the powerful PSP successor. While I certainly believe that there is room for AAA titles like Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, and Assassin’s Creed, the PS Vita also needs a good selection of unique and low cost games to help it capture the casual and price conscious consumers.

Our SunFlowers review looks at the $3.99 downloadable title to see if its just what the PS Vita needs to help it balance its game catalogue. Check out the full review after the break.

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Developed by Game Atelier, the small studio behind the same title for iOS (iPhone, iPad), SunFlowers lets players take control of the sun which needs to shine down its rays on passing clouds in order to water the water thirsty plans. Unlike most games, players have to hold the Vita in vertical mode and solely utilize touschscreen controls much like you would on any smartphone or tablet. Once launched, players have the ability to choose between two different islands, the difficulty settings, and they’re ready to play. SunFlowers also offers very fast load times, making it a very easy game to pickup and play while waiting inline or at the buss stop without having to wait for company logos, warning screens, and different menu options to load before you can have some fun. From the minute the game loads, you’ll also notice the use of bright colors throughout the menus and gameplay. In fact, SunFlowers might be the most charming and colorful game on the PlayStation Vita.

What makes SunFlowers so compelling is in its simplicity. Your goal is to guide the sun from right to left and push down its ray to pierce through the clouds and produce rain in order to feed the plans on the ground. Multiple shots of rays through the cloud will produce more rain drops while rays that don’t pass through a cloud can burn your water thirsty plants. The game rewards players who are able to line up two clouds with a shot of the suns ray while produces even bigger rain drops.

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The game features lots of different flowers which each require a different amount of water in order to be fully developed. Once in full bloom, the flower disappears and throws around more seeds that again need to be nurtured till full bloom. While accidental shots of rays can hamper a flowers growth and even set it on fire which will result in its death, players will also have to watch out for thunderstorm clouds which if struck with the suns ray can produce lightning and also zap your plants.

Still, don’t get too comfortable with this game mode as SunFlowers also features bonus stages after a certain amount of points are accumulated. During the bonus stage, the game changes from daytime to  night time where you instead control the moon. Unlike the normal mode, you must instead shine down moon light rays to your flowers and avoid hitting the clouds which is a fun change of pace. The only issue with the bonus stages lies in how they’re handled. Instead of the game pausing for a moment to enter the bonus stage to prepare players for a change in tactics, the game instead within a second transitions to night and begins the bonus stage. While not a problem on its own, many times I’ve found myself still tapping the sun in order to hit the passing by clouds for raindrops. With such a quick transition, 7/10 times, I’ve found myself still tapping the screen for rays which in night mode are not suppose to hit the clouds, resulting in most bonus stages just lasting a few seconds.

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Besides that, the game rewards players for combos and features a ton of different plants (more than 320!) that they can nurture and later view in their garden. As I mentioned earlier, the game also offers two different levels, a traditional landscape and a more exotic pirate infested island which features tides, pirate ships, and your flowers dressed in some fantastical pirate outfits. From the beginning, it seems like developer Game Atelier had one thing in mind, simplicity and that’s exactly what they’ve delivered. Though the game features no multi-player capabilities or storyline, SunFlowers excels at what it was meant to do, help you burn off a few minutes of time while having a good time. Only problem is, I’ve seldom been able to stop at just a few minutes!

TECHNICAL PRESENTATION

AUDIO – One slight problem I have with SunFlowers is its repetitive and generic music. While cute at first, it can start to wear you crazy after long sessions. It also doesn’t help that the track is the only song found in the entire game. However, it’s hard to fault the developers as games with a lower price don’t general garner an epic score that can be found on AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed III.

GRAPHICS – As I mentioned above, one of the most captivating things about SunFlowers is its color palate. Unlike most traditional games which depict a gritty world, SunFlowers dares to shine with colors which are accentuated with the Vita’s gorgeous OLED screen. Sure the game might not be a 3D adventure like Uncharted: Golden Abyss but this is one 2D game that utilizes all the Vita has to offer.

PROS 

+ Fast boot time
+ Colorful graphics
+ Simple, yet addictive gameplay

CONS 

– Repetitive music

FINAL THOUGHTS

SunFlowers is a wonderful downloadable title from the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation Vita which features a challenging and fun arcade experience. With easy to pick up controls, beautiful graphics, and challenging gameplay, SunFlowers delivers what some AAA titles on the Vita have been unable to provide. Priced at just $3.99, casual and hard core gamers cannot miss out on this gem. If you’re still on the fence after our SunFlowers review, keep in mind that you can download a free demo from PSN.

About The Author:

Our newest contributor, Sohrab is a long time member of the tech community, having worked as a Creative at Apple Inc. for several years. He’s since left the company and started his own Apple Certified consulting firm, Bebi Tech Consulting. He’s also the creator of SonyRumors.net, a website dedicated to building a community around Sony.

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Posted on December 21, 2012, in Game Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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