Kicking off this year’s Game of the Year countdown from Press Start is a game near and dear to many of our hearts. The homegrown Florence is a beautiful debut from Mountains, a craft game developer working out of the heart of The Arcade in Melbourne and already doing excellent things within the space of interactive storytelling.
Florence, available on iOS, is likely to be the shortest game on this countdown by a long chalk. Taking less than an hour to get through, it doesn’t have a great deal of replay value either. So you might ask, what’s so good about this game? It is particularly inventive in the ways it engages the player to advance Florence’s story and the way it perfectly encapsulates the everyday goings-on in the lives of young adults is remarkable.
In his review, Brodie said: “I haven’t been touched by a love story like this since reading Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor, a wonderful and affecting graphic novel. Fullbright is probably the only other developer that could claim to do love right with Gone Home, but Mountains can stand proudly alongside them. In a medium so fixated on hurting others, it’s refreshing to enjoy a slice of life story about the complexities of love, romance and life itself.”
He went on to give the game an 8 out of 10, which is in line with the game’s standing on Metacritic, where it averages a healthy score of 82.
Ewan chose Florence in his top ten and said:“To those who underestimate the narrative potential of games (or mobile games for that matter), thrust Florence into their hands. The beautiful, self-contained 30-minute narrative is an almost too real story of a young Melbournian discovering love but ultimately herself. In the absence of dialogue, ingenious gameplay mechanics express tone and emotion in a palpable fashion. It’s captivating and a hugely impressive achievement from a team of just five people at Mountains. Based in Melbourne themselves, they brilliantly capture and celebrate the city’s complex cultural makeup. We really are blessed to have such talented Australians so magnificently telling our stories on the international stage.”
Brodie chose Florence in his top ten and said: “I still think about this game from time to time and how it reminded me a lot of La La Land. Its real, grounded and almost unfair ending speaks to how life can be most of the time. We don’t live in a film and each and every one of us endures heartache, trials and obstacles that keep us from our dreams. This game is targeted at the young adults of the world though I think its message is relevant to all. If you have a spare half-hour up your sleeve, grab Florence and have a good ugly cry.”
Congratulations to Mountains for Florence as it kicks off our top ten games for the year.