Have you ever wanted to grow flowers but were too concerned with getting your hands dirty and raising the cost of your water bill? Well, now you don’t have to worry as Sunflowers for the PS Vita lets you do just that! You control the sun and the water, and the best part of it all is that the flowers plant their seeds all by themselves! You can actually touch the soil if you want but since it’s a video game, you won’t have to worry about getting dirty at all. Perfect! Well, if you like monotony.
Sunflowers is a very simplistic puzzle game that while charming at first, becomes mind-numbingly dull after an hour or so. The game has you holding the Vita sideways, controlling the sun by sliding your finger to the left or right, and then shooting rays of sunlight into passing clouds to produce rain drops that fall on one of seven plots of soil. You start off with a solitary seed resting in the center plot. Once you water it, it begins to sprout. As you continue to shed raindrops on it (and they get bigger if they pass through more clouds), it grows more and more, and then produces two seeds that fall to each side. If a plot is unoccupied, it plants itself. If not, it bounces off occupied seeds or flowers until it finds its own plot or goes off screen. That’s how combos are established.
There are hazards to the game, though. If you miss a rain cloud, your sun rays will ignite your precious flowers. Later on, the game will introduce thunder clouds that will dispense lightning bolts if you hit them that will produce the same results. You can put your smoking flora out with rain drops, but if you burn them again before that happens, then you lose a life. Losing three means game over, but you can gain extra lives if you can manage to play long enough without killing anymore flowers.
The game also introduces other obstacles as you play through the levels. In Classic Mode, there are winter stages which freeze your flowers requiring a dose of sunlight to thaw them out. In Tropical Mode, there might be a flood, causing spouts of water that need to be dried out with sunlight. A couple make use of the Vita’s features as well. The sun might set in the background, taking away light and darkening the action requiring you to expose the Vita’s camera to a light source. Fall weather may blow leaves on your flowers that can be dispersed with a vigorous shake of the system. It’s novel at first, but it becomes obnoxious after a while and the instances are only brought on quicker when you vamp up the difficulty.
There’s a bonus meter in the left hand corner of the screen that builds up as you play. When full, you enter the Bonus Stage where day becomes night and the moon takes over for the sun, dispensing moon drops instead of rain. Rain clouds also bow out to thunder clouds, and you can continue to play in this mode until you accidentally strike a flower with lightning. It’s very, very easy to do this in this mode, which is a consistent problem with the game later on. There are no indications of when a thunder cloud will come into play resulting in frustrating moments where you lose lives as you’re generating showers on the ends of the screen. It’s not that big of a deal, since you have chances to put the fires out before you hit them again, but dealing damage when it isn’t your fault is still disappointing.
Both Classic and Tropical modes feature 165 flowers to collect. Many of these flowers are the same but with different colors. Every flower you grow in the main game gets added to your garden. The harder the difficulty, the better the odds of you scoring a rare flower. When you’re in your garden, you can crossbreed flowers to potentially produce ones that you do not already have. You can also gift flowers if you want to other friends who have the game. It’s a nice little distraction from the main game, but it doesn’t hold your attention for long.
For a game entitled Sunflowers, the graphics do live up to the name. They are very bright, cheerful and crisp thanks to the Vita’s HD display. When the seasons change, the transition is gradual and seamless. Special effects are kept very simple, but they are effective nonetheless. Seeing your flowers smoking after you accidentally hit them with sun rays makes you feel awful. Watching raindrops get bigger through each passing cloud brings home a sigh of relief as it pelts your pyroed plants. The art direction is also pretty charming and whimsical. The sun has a range of different emotions and there are a wide variety of anthropomorphic flowers that appear, including pirate-styled flowers in Tropical Mode.
As for the audio, the standout feature is the music. The main theme of the game is a rendition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and the music changes accordingly when the seasons do. It does begin to wear thin, though, after playing for an hour and moving along 40+ levels. There are a few sound effects from the shots of sun rays to the boings of seeds bouncing across plots, but it would have been nice to hear more realistic rainfall.
Sunflowers retails for $3.99 US but even at that price, it’s hard to justify paying that much for what can essentially be found for 99 cents on a mobile phone marketplace. The game has vibrant visuals and 330 different plants to collect, but it doesn’t save the game from being such a repetitive bore. You see just about everything the game has to offer gameplay wise in the first hour or so, and then your finger will be tired of constantly tapping on the screen. Whether you want to collect more flowers is dependent on how much punishment your fingertip can take. As it stands, you bought a Vita for more substantial games, and Sunflowers needs to grow a lot more before it’s worth cultivating.
Vibrant visuals | 330 flowers to collect with the ability to cross-breed ones you don't have
Grows monotonous very quickly | No real strategic elements for being a puzzle game | Gimmicky use of Vita's features
Born and raised in Denver, CO in 1979, I've been playing games since I was old enough to hold a controller. I was weened on Atari, then Nintendo and Sega, and currently own just about every console and handheld made. I'm an avid hip hop fan and I love to read books. Favorite authors include Dean Koontz, Stephen Hunter, and Christopher Moore. I'm also an avid movie watcher and I try to collect as many Blu-Rays as I can.
About Default Prime
Default Prime is an independent video game website that is dedicated to bringing you the latest news, reviews, editorials, features, and video content on a daily basis. We like to keep things relaxed enjoy chatting and hanging out with our readers.
Have you ever wanted to grow flowers but were too concerned with getting your hands dirty and raising the cost of your water bill? Well, now you don't have to worry as Sunflowers for the PS Vita lets you do just that! You control the sun and the water, and the best part of it all is that the flowers plant their seeds all by themselves! You can actu