February 6, 2020

Flower, Sun and Rain is not a mediocre game, a good game, or a bad game. I don't think this
game really exists within the confines of rating systems.

As a game, it's one that is deliberately miserable in a way that might make somebody decry it as
flat-out bad for entirely understandable reasons; intentionally bad is still bad. The writing and tone
is Suda's first foray into more overtly surreal - The Silver Case got weird, but the presentation
and tone was generally gritty and grounded, but FSR has dancing pink crocodiles, time loops,
clones and holograms, and a man whose name is fucking Mondo.

This writing and tone is where the game truly shines, however. As a standalone game it starts
out odd and turns entirely incomprehensible by the final act, serving as a further exploration of
The Silver Case's themes and world. After TSC's message and central theme of "kill the past,"
FSR explores somebody unwilling to confront their past, trapped in a repetitious rut. Despite this
depressing thesis and a story filled with hitmen, murder, terrorism, and bad coffee, the game's
presentation is lighthearted. It's genuinely hilarious for most of its dialogue, and while the DS
sound chip murdered the comfy renditions of classical music that make up the vast majority of
its OST, the PS2 soundtrack can be easily found on YouTube (while you're there check out the
PS2 opening, the visuals are the same but the song is infinitely better).

As much as this review talks about its good elements - writing, presentation, and the music for
the version you aren't going to play, I also cannot overstate the bad elements. The game's
central loop is endlessly walking through the same environments, and the camera and general
movement is just atriocious for this. See here for the most egregious example I came across,
but the majority of the game isn't much better.

There is a pedometer that gives you certain upgrades the further you walk, but this is a cruel joke
in and of itself - a dash is unlocked at 75,000 steps. I beat the game with around 12,000. The true
purpose of the pedometer is to underscore how much walking and walking and walking there is.
This game starts out funny, turns miserable, turns funny again, and then becomes miserable,
endlessly cycling until the credits roll and it resolves into a bad memory you wouldn't forget for
the world.