There are very few games that capture the feeling of being in love, being in true love, that blissful love which makes the whole world a better place. Florence, developed by Mountains, manages to do this perfectly, while also being good fun to play.
The mobile game tells the story of Florence Yeoh. At the beginning of the game, she is 25, not entirely satisfied with her job and has prolonged unpleasant phone calls with her mother. However, things start to change when she meets Krish, a talented cellist playing in a park. Over the course of the 40-minute game, we see their love blossom into what feels like a truly real relationship. It would be unsurprising to find out if the story is based on real people due to how believable the story is but perhaps is it so authentic because of its universal themes.
The gameplay has you interact with mini-game vignettes, like tapping on toast to eat it or dragging across the screen to reveal a drawing that Florence has made of Krish. They are all very simple and straightforward interactions, but this is not to the detriment of the game. It is satisfying to see the narrative outcomes of your small inputs and they keep you engaged throughout.
There is also a certain recurring mini-game that is used very well to help tell the story. When Florence and Krish first meet, you piece together a jigsaw to make a speech bubble. As the story continues and the more in love they are, the fewer jigsaw pieces are needed to complete the bubble. It is a nice subtle way of conveying the story through the gameplay. The game goes on to experiment with this particular mechanic in clever ways that often pack a real emotional punch when you play it.
The game is presented in gorgeous cartoon-like art in panels similar to a graphic novel. Colour is used in effective ways to reflect what is going on in the story; Florence’s world is covered in drab greys and light blues at the start of the game but when she meets Krish and begins to fall in love, big splashes of yellow, red, pink and turquoise start to seep into Florence’s life.
Florence’s soundtrack is also a pure joy to listen to. Melodies played on piano, cello and violin help create a gentle tone that fits well with the visuals. The instruments are layered and interwoven beautifully. Motifs are used to represent characters and even the emotions they are feeling to great effect. The music reflects the narrative well, but it also stands on its own as something to be enjoyed.
What is most impressive about Florence is how it so successfully brings all these elements together; the gameplay, visuals and music are all important to telling this tender tear-jerker. Each aspect serves a purpose in developing the characters and plot – even the gameplay, which is often not attempted in games. Mountains have created a focused experience that knows exactly what it wants to be, it does not falter in any way and is one of the best representations of love you will see in a game.