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Joystiq hands-on: flOw (PS3)

Ross Miller

FlOw was originally created by Jenova Chen to highlight his master's thesis on dynamic difficulty adjustment; the game is still available online as a free download for PC and Mac users. If you play the original, you know exactly what to expect: it's a glorified version of Snake, where the player moves through various levels and eats what it cans, causing your avatar to expand and elongate. Devouring your opposition is as simple as gliding over illuminated weak points on the foe.

Moving back and forth between levels is as simple as gliding over colored amoebas (red to go down a level, navy blue to go up). The best aspect of the game is its controls, which use only the PS3 controller's tilt sensor. We had trouble at first with the accuracy, but within a few minutes we were commanding our avatar effortlessly.

The game was designed so that you can set the difficulty. If you are stuck on a level, simply go back a few tiers, level up, and return. We can't imagine any reason to play this competitively, but we could see relaxing to flOw after a stressful day.

FlOw was running at 525p (480p) -- the graphics were akin to what we've seen the Nintendo Wii produce. We aren't sure if the title will available brick-and-mortar or as a download (or even packaged in the console's hard drive). If priced correctly, flOw could end up an essential title similar to what Geometry Wars represents for the Xbox 360 -- a small, casual game with mass appeal sold for pure profit.

See Also:

Joystiq interview: Jenova Chen

[Update 1: Decided to clarify Geometry Wars reference and defend my point on "essential title" in one fell swoop. Booyakasha!]

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