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Nintendo DS Game Review

Flower, Sun and Rain


Format: Nintendo DS
Rising Star Games
RRP: £29.99
5 060102 951223
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 14 November 2008

Solve the riddle of the seemingly endless mystery that Sumio Mondo's life has become since arriving on the island of Lospass. At the Flower, Sun and Rain Hotel he encounters an intriguing adventure. Can you unlock the clues and discover what is going on?...

Flower, Sun and Rain is a murder mystery adventure very much in the vein of Groundhog Day. You play a detective charged with locating and defusing a bomb by solving puzzles that spawn a wealth of bizarre outcomes. Solving the mystery of what is happening to him and his surroundings is necessary before he eventually goes insane.

Originally released on the Sony PlayStation 2, Flower, Sun and Rain was never available outside of Japan and has been high on wish lists of Suda51 fan since Killer7 was unleashed on the western market in 2005.

The game is a little bizarre, and you're never sure what's real and what's a dream. Why do you keep witnessing a plane crash; why do you keep waking up in your hotel room every morning and then falling over; why is your quest to get down to the lobby always blocked; and why is a pink crocodile wandering around the hotel?

The basic idea sounds great - a murder mystery where you must unlock the clues to find out what on earth is going on. However the game play leaves a little to be desired. A lot of the game involves you wandering around and chatting with people - but, if you don't do everything in the precise order, other options won't be open to you. For example If you work out that you need to chat with a certain person, you can't just go to their room, or chat with them if you see them in the hotel. You'll have to wait until, say, the hotel manager tells you to go and speak to them. This makes the game a little too annoying and stops you from feeling as if you are in control of your character. After a while it just feels like you'd be better off going from room to room and interacting with every object and person you meet.

For example, at the start of the game I spent an age trying to access the hotel gates. It was only when I wandered around the car park again that I spotted someone, and they helped me out.

Every now and then you'll come to a section where you need to use your trusty computer in order to hook up to some other equipment. First you have to chose one of your leads and randomly hook them up until one of them works (which is fun, if a little pointless) and then you will be asked to insert a numerical code. These can usually be found in the hotel's guidebook which you carry around with you. For example, if you are planning on hooking up to something that is owned by a character you know is a photographer, then it's a safe bet that if you look in the guide for something about photography then the number will be hidden away on those pages. This element of the game is quite fun, but can be a bit of a pain after a while.

While this is an entertaining mystery game, a little more care with the presentation would have gone a long way to making this much more entertaining. The graphics make the game feel a little dated, and the mindless wandering around doesn't help to make this feel like a game you can play for too long without becoming frustrated.


Pete Boomer

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