25 years old – not too young to be carefree, but not too old to be stable. Age 25 with difficulties, that’s what Florence is going through.

Florence is a mobile game, developed by Mountains (Australia) and Annapurna Interactive. The game won many awards, such as Best Phone Game (The Game Awards 2018), Best Game Design (Webby Awards 2019). The game also received positive reviews from critics for its art style, music, and storytelling.

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The game begins with the piano playing in harmony with the violin. The main menu opens with a picture of young “Florence Yeoh” on a yellow background and her hair blowing in the wind. Right from the first moment, the game has brought players a sense of lightness. Then when clicking on the words “Start”, we sink into the story of Florence. The story that maybe each of us has experienced once in life.

Florence’s graphics are hand-drawn, the lines are simple and meticulous, making the game become something very different between the colorful games on CH Play. It was as if someone had mistakenly placed a book in the Game section.

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Manuscript of a scene of Florence. All are hand-painted and scanned with Photoshop

The color in the game always changes according to the chapter intentionally. You will see scenes with only blue, gray – Florence’s tedious and tasteless times. When she met Krish, the game became colorful. That is the color of happiness. The love between two young people turned their lives from the black-and-white scenes into brightly colored films.

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When not using language to tell stories, color plays a very important role

Music is the most amaze thing that makes me impress in this game. The harmonious instrumental music, resounding from the piano and the violin join with the storyline, making Florence a masterpiece. In the game, music takes the form of miracles, bringing Florence to Krish. According to the development group of “Mountains”, the piano symbolizes Florence, the violin represents Krish. As with colors, the soundtrack changes according to the plot. Sometimes it is gentle, sometimes it is funky fun, and sometimes it is deeply sad,…

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The music transformed into a miracle, adding light to the dull, gloomy life of the girl

Florence includes mini-games for players to interact and guide the story. These mini-games are mostly interactive activities in daily life. As the conversation between the two main characters, players need to arrange the pieces to form a dialog. This is also one of the mini-games that contains many metaphors. The more comfortable the conversation between Florence and Krishna, the easier it was to organize the dialog. When the two of them argued, the lines were sharp. It symbolized that they used words to hurt each other, words like knives stabbing at each other.

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The dialog became sharp when the two of them argue

In addition, there are many other mini-games in the game such as brushing teeth, arranging objects of Krish in the house, adjusting the ruler to see clearly the scene … All are small interactive games, but leave an impression with players because of their creativity.

The whole game is like a work of art, every point has its meaning. Florence and Krish are two culturally different people: Florence is Chinese-Australia, Krish is Indian. The intention of the development team is to make many players find themselves somewhere in the game. Florence is the name chosen by Ken Wong – the father of this game and the author of Monument Valley – because it is considered an “outdated name” given by Chinese parents when they immigrate to Australia. That is also very suitable for her life: almost not communicating with anyone.

Following Florence, we went through 20 chapters with many emotions. We have seen a young Florence with a boring life, a beautiful but fragile first love, a journey to find herself. We have found ourselves in this game. Each chapter, every detail touches the player’s heart, that is the success of this game.

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20 chapters contain many emotions: happiness and suffering, joy and sadness

Ken Wong and the development team wanted a game that didn’t involve violence and made players focus on their feelings instead of trying to achieve something. And the Florence game did it, even did it well. In less than an hour, players go from one emotion level to another. From tasteless to interesting, from happiness to regret. When the game came to an end, it was like closing the page, the emotions still lingered. Florence ended but the reader opened up his thoughts. All of which reminds me of a classic sentence:

“We have everything in the future but not each other”

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