You should play Florence!

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Florence is the first game from Mountains, the new studio headed by Ken Wong. Ken is the designer of the fantastic Monument Valley, so I was very interested to see what this new project was all about.

Florence is more of a playable graphic novel than a traditional video game. It follows the extended love affair of Florence, a young girl and her unnamed partner. Starting from their first meeting until there ultimate parting, the story is a familiar one. The art style is simple and charming. There's not a lot of unnecessary animation or effects which gives space to appreciate the interactions.

And it's the interactions in Florence that are most amazing. There is no written dialog in Florence, but each critical moment in the story is offered as an interaction that is a thoughtfully crafted metaphor for the moment. You can "feel" conversations getting more comfortable, or more pointed, or more stressful without the need for dialog. There are whimsical moments such as when Florence and her partner move in together and must integrate their belongings into a their small apartment. There are some particularly gut wrenching parts where you truly feel the futility of trying to put the pieces of a broken relationship back together. Every one of the dozens of interactions feels like a special treasure. Carefully considered and crafted just for you.

It reminded me of the excellent graphic novel Soppy by Phillipa Rice (if you like Florence, then you should get Soppy!), but with the greater agency that only interactive can offer. It's nice and short (takes less than an hour to complete) and hooks pretty quickly. So it's a great thing for folks to try who may not "get" what all the hubbub is about when it comes to interactive stories. Definitely check it out!

Kevin BrunerComment