Reaching for Petals Review: A Lovely Walking Sim with a Few Thorns
Reaching for Petals is a graphically stunning, story-driven experience that focuses on the key events in the life of a man and a woman in love. Developed by Blue Entropy Studios, this game has you unravel the memories of your own life in semi-interactable environments.
For the most part, this is a good game that does a marvelous job of conveying its methods. There are a few hang-ups, though, that keep it from being one of those great games that will be etched into the indie hall of fame.
The Beautiful Petals: Story and Aesthetic
As you might have discerned from the description above, Reaching for Petals' story is primarily told through memories. As you play through each memory, you face choices revolving around the most important events of your life. These memories offer small choices throughout, giving you the chance to react to the story as it unfolds.
This is an interesting mechanic that helps keep the story immersive, but there was one aspect of it that didn't sit well. Though a lot of the choices you can make are drastically different from one another, they seem to have no major impact on the overarching plot -- so there could have been some better execution there.
Outside of your memories, you must slowly explore a mysterious forest as well. While the trip through this forest, from one memory to the next, is often quite long, Reaching for Petals does an excellent job of filling the time. Beautiful landscapes, an engaging soundtrack, and the philosophical wonderings of the narrator use that interim time to impress upon you the importance of life and love.
The story is well written, but the narration is what really stands out. Each walk through the forest is largely dominated by the soothing voice of Dave Pettitt, and his excellent narration did a lot to make the game as enjoyable as it was.
The Wilting Petals: Length and Immersion
Unfortunately, Reaching for Petals did have a few problems -- the biggest of which is that it's far too short. After finishing the game in just under an hour, I found myself frustrated with the lack of content. I had fun seeing the story unfold, but it ended long before it should have. Adding an extra hour or two would have vastly improved the game by giving me more time to connect with everything.
Apart from that, there were only a few minor issues that ruined my immersion in the game and its beautifully constructed world. Sometimes, the music would finish, making the walk between memories eerily quiet. Other times, I would be walking through the forest and listening intently to the narrator, only to run into some problem with movement such as getting caught on the terrain or missing a small jump.
All in all, Reaching for Petals is an enjoyable experience, but there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about it. It fits solidly into the genre of "walking simulator" -- and if you're looking for a short game with a focus on poetic musings, then I would recommend it.
You can pick up Reaching for Petals for $9.49 on Steam.
[Note: A copy of the game was provided by the developer for this review.]