Florence Yeoh feels a little... stuck. Her life is an endless routine of work, sleep, and spending too much time on social media. Then one day, she meets a cello player named Krish who changes everything about how she sees the world and herself.
Florence is one of the most beautiful and intimate pieces of art you can play on your phone right now. It'll undoubtedly be one of the year's best games and an experience I'll be thinking about for a long time to come.
Florence Yeoh is 25 years old and lives a mundane life filled with a boring morning to night ritual. Her morning commute is flicking through peoples more interesting lives on social media; her job has her flicking through company dollars to balance them. She's on autopilot, not even daydreaming about anything more exciting -- she's simply existing, like a lot of us are.
One day while walking down a street her phone goes flat, and thus her soundtrack for the day buzzing her out of the world around her along with it falls silent. But she picks up the notes of a cello being played beautiful and wanders along to find the source. Her life collides with the cellist, Krish, and the two hit it off. The first date evolves to second, and so forth until they move in many months later.
Krish fills the grey of Florence's life and inspires her to take up her once lost aspirations of being an artist. Florence, in turn, pushes Krish to aim higher to succeed with his music.
Florence's story is a short one: you can finish it in under an hour. But the tightness of the storytelling and the way in which you experience it is one of the reasons it works so well emotionally. Florence plays out like an interactive comic, combined with a WarioWare game. But here the mini-games have more resonance with what's happening emotionally and in the story, rather than being things added to make this feel more like a game than just a comic. They start mundane to empathise Florence's life -- like brushing her teeth -- but evolves to puzzles while having a conversation with Krish. But as your relationship with Krish grows, the puzzles get simpler, not harder. The gameplay provides a backbone to the emotional layers of each moment.
I want you to play Florence, but I don't want to spoil any of my favourite moments of the gameplay working smartly with the story. Just trust me.
Both visually and audibly Florence is stunning craft from Melbourne developer, Mountains. Combining beautiful moving art with a wonderful original score from Kevin Penkin to create an experience that is necessary of headphones and a quiet corner to yourself for the time to play, appreciate, and gorge on each frame.
Florence is a normal love story told in the unique medium that is video games, allowing for a more personal experience. It will resonate with those that have fallen in love before, experienced relationships, like the one, portrayed and can appreciate the little details of each moment and chapter. Like in La La Land -- here's to all the dreamers.
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Platforms: iOS (reviewed on iPhone X) Android (coming soon)