This is a story of Florence, a lovely young girl living in Melbourne, Australia. Her life was stuck in an endless loop of work and social networks. One day, she came across a melody and everything suddenly changed afterward.
As I was looking through the Metacritic review page, coincidentally, the image of Florence caught my eye. Amidst colorful game pictures of big brands, the poster of Florence alone appeared as a cover of a teen story. With a score of 90 on the Metacritic, it seems that Florence has won the hearts of both critics and the public.
Florence is not a new face in the gaming community since it was launched in 2018 in iOS and Android versions. But until now, on Valentine’s Day 2020, Florence started to become more popular with the public when it released the PC version. The game myriad prestigious awards, including the Best Mobile Game of The Game Awards, GDC Awards, and BAFTAs. An important monument behind Florence’s success is Annapurna Interactive, the familiar face of the Indie game community with works such as The Artful Escape, Ashen, and Telling Lies.
Florence is made in the style of comic books or storybook style aesthetic with hand-drawn art. Inspired by ‘slice of life’ graphic novels and webcomics, each frame of the game is beautiful and relatable to players.
The story is told from the perspective of Florence, a lovely young girl living in Melbourne, Australia. The game begins with the boring and tedious life of Florence when she always threw herself in the soulless accounting job. Her life is stuck in an endless loop of work and social networks. Not only that, but she also suffered endless nagging words from her fastidious mother. The whole world of Florence seems to be filled with gloomy colors. Then, suddenly her life changed as one day, she turned off the phone and let her heart follow the music she casually heard on the street. Accidental steps lead her to the cellist Krish. Since that point, players will experience every step of Florence and Krish’s relationship through their emotional love story from the very first moments, dating, supporting each other to growing apart.
It can be said that, besides music, colors play an extremely important role in the game. Her world is divided into two main colors: deep sad gray and bright colors. When Florence is happy, Florence is laughing, Florence is happy, the game scenes are bright with vivid colors. However, when the mood of Florence is down, it seems that no other colors of the world are available than the sad gray.
It is still slightly noticeable that music is also an important piece of the game. Mixed cello and piano vary according to the character’s emotion and stages in Florence’s life. Gorgeous orchestrated soundtrack intertwine and mingle with one another as the action unfolds. According to the producer, the music substitute for dialogue throughout the game, with the cello follows Krish while the piano is a signature of Florence. Just so you know, this wonderful game soundtrack was composed by Kevin Penkin, the musician of famous melodies in “Made in Abyss”.
Florence is a perfect combination of gameplay and storytelling. The storytelling is special and very absorbent. The game is virtually voiced, but the player can still easily grasp each scene. The gameplay is a collection of many different minigames which allows players to interact with objects, select dialogue as a gentle puzzle game, and then see the inner evolution of an adult girl from the beginning of a relationship until the love goes to a dead end.
The playing time in Florence is not too long that only takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Nevertheless, whoever finishes the game will also remark that this is less than a game and more an experience. This is a love story, about losing and finding yourself, a hope for a bright future. It is a happy story that takes sad turns. The sweet and happy or broken moments of the character can touch the player’s heart. It can be said that everyone can find themselves somewhere in Florence. Sometimes we have to lose something precious in order to gain something priceless.