When I finished downloading and installing Flower, I scrolled through my PlayStation 3's Xross Media Bar, hoping for a trailer-like preview of what I was in for. Instead of seeing a gameplay montage, I was greeted by a still picture of a grassy plain with one yellow flower sticking out from the grass. Above the plain, a trail of differently-colored flower petals outlined the swirling wind. Accompanying this serene landscape was some of the most relaxing and simply beautiful guitar music I have ever heard. If a game's Xross Media Bar representation grabs your attention long enough to stall you from actually playing the game itself, that's usually a very good sign.
Flower's aesthetic brilliance cannot be defined by any word in the English language. The only word that even comes close to describing the game's outstanding production values is "transcendent." Every sense of that word applies; if someone had the crazy idea of translating an Emerson or Thoreau poem into videogame format, Flower would be the result. Every time you restore life to an area, the rippling animation of spreading color is otherworldly. When you skim your trail of flower petals along the ground, the grass parts in a perfect V. When you hang a U-turn after collecting hundreds of petals, the sight of the petal trail you have created is a dazzling sight to behold. When all of the visual elements converge into a whole, they make the world of Flower a surrealistically beautiful place.
The quality of Flower's sound design matches that of its visual counterpart. At the beginning of each level, you are treated to the sound of the world around you. I never really appreciated the sound of the wind in a game until I played Flower. Every time you pick up a flower petal, a musical note of some sort plays. As you soar around the levels picking up more petals, the music becomes richer and more pleasing to the ears. The score is outstanding, and it acts as a perfect complement to what you're seeing on-screen. Whether it makes use of the piano or the violin, Flower's soundtrack definitely knows what is pleasing to human senses. This is a game you should definitely play in Dolby Surround if you have the capabilities.