Reaching for Petals is a short, atmospheric, introspective, philosophical walking simulator. It follows the story of Kai and Renee, glimpsing small snippets of their lives as you walk through a forest and climb a mountain. The language is extremely poetic and flowery. I enjoyed the writing, but it certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste. The narrator has a soothing voice and excellent articulation and subtitles are also available. Whilst the story concept is moving, it’s relatively simple and requires you to be emotionally connected to it. Deep philosophically, the details given in the game are very sparse.
Visually appealing, graphics are good – very attractive and very detailed. There are some screenshots on my website; but the store page shows off the graphical detail very well and accurately. This really is the strength of the game.
The gameplay is virtually non existent – I would not mistake this for an “adventure” game. It is pure walking simulator and the walking pace, even at its fastest is snail-slow. It needs to be for the narration and music to work, as it’s heavily triggered by location, but it does get a bit tiring just pushing W for the entire game. There are a couple of interactive elements but not enough to make mention of (just walk up to something and interact with it to trigger the next scene). You can jump, but the “platforming” elements which are jumping over a few rocks and going up some stairs are sluggish and hard to control. I’m very glad there wasn’t more platforming, as in the final chapter one set of stairs took me 5 attempts as I kept slipping down no matter how hard I jammed space and that really damaged my immersion.
There are a couple of options for narration choice in between each chapter; but they are very simple and alter a small snippet of text you receive after, having no real bearing on the story.
Although it looks great – this fell flat for me on the whole, even as an experience rather than a game. The writing may have been poetic and philosophical and I enjoyed the narration, but it didn’t tie the story together or make me care about the world or the characters in it. Even the personal sequences felt slightly jarring, short and the choices unimportant. I have experienced love and loss and I understood the emotions that this game were attempting to invoke, but the slow walking speed and the clumsy movement detracted from feeling immersed in that.
It took me 62 minutes to complete. It’s a 7GB download and has a £6.99 price tag, so I’m heavily questioning the value of the game. If you fancy spending an hour walking through a lovely forest with some poetric voice-overs than this game may well be for you but even for lovers of the walking simulator genre, I think there are many better games out there. Perhaps heavily discounted I’d feel better about a recommendation; but as it is, I’m unconvinced.