flOw (2007)

I will be frank here, I had never heard of Flow until I got it with my Journey game package, I read a little bit about it before starting and I thought, Gee whizz! I get to play as bacteria! But, curiosity got the better of me, so I installed the damn thing and started playing. Boy was I surprised, this sucker is actually pretty bloody good! In this enjoyable indie game, you control a small, multi segmented bacteria creature in what looks like the early primordial ooze from which we all originated from. There are 7 creatures you can play in total, that includes the credit snake, and the expansion creature you get with the expansion pack.
You control your creature by tilting the Sixaxis in any direction, while pushing any button on the controller will activate your creature’s special move, which depends on which type of creature you have. The whole game is viewed from a top down perspective and consist of two dimensional planes that are packed vertically upon one another. A blurry version of the next dimension can be seen in the background at all times, which comes in handy when you need to see what’s waiting to kill your arse. You are also surrounded by other aquatic organisms, both hostile and non hostile. Consuming any of the other organisms results in you becoming longer, bigger and bringing on your own evolution. Depending on which ones you eat, you also become more colourful too. However, trying to eat some of the other inhabitants can be a bit dangerous, as they will actively try and eat you too.
To advance to the next dimension, you need to eat the red coloured entity, to go back to the previous dimension, you need to eat the blue one. Each creature you play has to go through 16 layers to advance to the next organism, for the speed runners, you can just find the red entity as quick a possible and race through each layer. Did I also mention you can’t really die? If you are attacked by another creature, you lose parts of your body that you gained and go back to the previous plane. There are also no real menus or guidelines which will either annoy the hell out of you or please the pants off you, did I mention pausing the game doesn’t exactly pause the game? Oh yeah! I found this out the hard way. I paused the game and walked away for a bit, I came back to find out my creature had advanced two levels and was being attacked!
Overall, this was an entertaining game, it took me an hour to complete it, I do have to say the credits are the best part. You play as the credit snake and eat the names of all the people involved in the game. Well played! I give it a 7/10.
Play if you like: Bacteria, Indie games, organisms.

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