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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Marvelous Entertainment/XSEED Games
Developed By: H.A.N.D.
Genre: Adventure
Players: 1
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

When you think of Suda51 (Suda Gōichi), you likely recall titles like Killer 7 for the Nintendo GameCube and No More Heroes for the Nintendo Wii. While most of his work was only released in Japan, Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture developed a nice cult following based off those two titles, which resulted in the team porting over the 2001 PlayStation 2 Japanese release of Flower, Sun and Rain for the Nintendo DS and the American audiences. Without being outdone by anyone, Flower, Sun and Rain uniquely blends puzzles and adventure into one, creating an “unpredictable and off the wall story” that won’t be easily forgotten.

The story within Flower, Sun and Rain follows a young man known as Sumio Mondo, who is a “Searcher” by profession. Unlike your typical officer with the police, Sumio is a freelance detective who gets to the bottom of any case brought to his attention… for the right amount of money of course. One day he gets a call from the manager over at Flower, Sun and Rain hotel for a job which will utilize Sumio’s skills. Without getting all the details surrounding the case, Sumio accepts the tasks, which results in an experience that he will not soon forget, nor the player themselves forget.

The events of Flower, Sun and Rain unfold on the island of Lospass, an isolated island playing home to the Flower, Sun and Rain hotel. As you start your investigation on the island, you will often find yourself being stopped dead in your tracks due to the issues and situations plaguing guests at the hotel. Upon solving whatever issues plagued the individual, the investigation continues as expected. This sequence of events seems simply enough, however if you know Suda, then you know that there is more to the experience than meets the eye. After helping solve the issues of the guests, Sumio continues his investigation only to find the plane he was searching for flying overhead and exploding. After the explosion, he wakes up in bed to do yet another day of investigating and problem solving.

When it comes to detectives, whether in a video game or in movies, there is always some form of female counterpart to help flesh out the story and the action sequences. For Sumio, he has Catherine. Catherine is his trusty silver briefcase which seems to be able to do it all. With the correct code and Catherine by his side, Sumio has no problems at all with cracking any safe, unlocking any door, or making a mean cappuccino. Upon successfully connecting, or “jacking” into a device, Sumio must input a code in order to gain access to said object. For those who don’t pay much attention to surroundings and situations as they play out, you will often go through the route of randomly guessing the codes, which can take several attempts before successfully figuring the code out. For others, they can find comfort within their trusty Lospass Island tourist guidebook, which Sumio receives once arriving. However it’s not as easy as you think, simply because you are only given two hints as to the location of the possible code within the guidebook. With either course of action, repetition and frustration can and will set in, ultimately taking a bit away from the overall appeal of the game.

Never getting the opportunity to play the original PS2 release of Flower, Sun and Rain, it’s hard to compare the visual presentations between the two titles. Though going off of the experience I had with the Nintendo DS version, it’s safe to say that the title isn’t one of the best looking games on the handheld. Character models and environments are rendered in 3D as in the PS2 version of the game; however it looks as if they weren’t touched up in order to take advantage of the power of the DS handheld. In regards to the audio, there are several catchy tracks that you will definitely groove to while playing the game. The voiceover work is a mixed bag, which works quite well with this “unique” gaming experience.

Flower, Sun and Rain is another shining example of Suda51’s capabilities of creating a gaming experience for those who don’t like to partake of the norm. I feel the title could have been a lot better if more time was invested into the project to fix some of the issues with the gameplay mechanics and the visual presentation. Despite the flaws, the experience still is very memorable for those who decide to invest some time and some detective work to solve the mystery surrounding Lospass Island.


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