It wasn’t too long ago that we featured Cloud by indie development group Thatgamecompany. This week we’ll be taking a look at flOw, developed as part of a thesis by Jenova Chen, co-founder of the aforementioned company.
Resembling Osmos but predating it by a few years, flOw has the player controlling an unspecified microscopic organism through a seemingly endless fluid. Your obviously liquid environment has depth, and navigating from one layer to another is an integral part of gameplay. Here, your organism encounters other lifeforms, some hostile and others not, and you are tasked with devouring them in order to grow and evolve.
Go deep enough in the fluid and you will encounter a particularly aggressive organism not unlike your own. Defeat it and be reborn as a different creature that will go through the cycle all over again. It all feels a bit like watching life slug it out under a microscope.
flOw employs an ultra-minimalist design in its graphics and sound, opting for simple lines and bloom effects to depict the organisms and barebones ambient music to set the surreal tone. It’s not actually possible to “die” in this game and the overall feel is quite tranquil. Some might even debate whether or not it truly can be considered a “game”, at least in the conventional sense.
Either way, it has to be experienced. You can play it in your browser here, or download an offline version for Windows and Mac, while PlayStation 3 users will be able to enjoy an enhanced version.