Of all the interactive stories I played, Florence is by far the most emotional one. This is a story that speaks of love, which is a rarity in the gaming world, but hopefully not for long. Developed by the Australian studio Mountains, Florence was released on Valentine’s Day this year for iOS and Android phones. The game costs around $3 but this is a well worth investment since once you finish the 40ish-minute gameplay, you will feel touched and amazed at the emotional imprint the game left.
Florence Yeoh is 25 years old Australian who leads an uneventful life at the beginning of the game. She Wakes up, goes to work and has an overbearing mother with whom she argues all the time. She works in accounting and her everyday life seems to be the same with her snoozing her alarm to the very last moment and going through social media while commuting to work.
One day, while walking the street, her battery dies and she can’t listen to the music on her phone. Right about then, she hears an enchanting melody and is immediately drawn to the source. That is how she met Krish Hemrajani, a cellist playing in the streets with a dream to become a professional one day.
Florence and Krish start falling in love and you get to be involved in that through the game. Their relationship starts and develops before your eyes and over the duration of several chapters. I could call this game a love story, but that wouldn’t be truthful. Although love is the main motif in Florence, it actually more of a glimpse at someone’s personal detail and something that some of us had felt personally as well.
Florence and Krish start living together and go through all the things that such couples do – they argue and learn to accept the other one’s differences. However, as it tends to happen in real life, couples drift apart and stop being in love anymore. And this is the true power of Florence, in the emotional buildup we witness and participate in throughout this short game.
Although I felt shaken up in the end, that I really wondered why the developers didn’t create a story with a happy ending, the fact is that now, after some time has passed, I think they made the right call. Florence does this to us because this is an honest and brave game to tell such an ordinary and yet moving story. And even though you participate in it by solving mini-games and puzzles, you are more of a spectator than someone who can influence the fate of the protagonists.
If you want to feel your soul touched, then Florence is a perfect way to get an emotional boost and remember how much love is important in our lives, even if it doesn’t last forever. After all, we are all richer for the people we encounter in our life, and that is exactly what happened to Florence. Who knows, maybe we will get to see another chapter in this woman’s life. I know I would like that very much, and so will you once you meet her at this one moment in her life.