Rachel Naidich Florence Critical Play

I played Florence, which is a mobile game about a woman named Florence who falls in love with a man named Krish. The game follows their relationship from the beginning through the end and the aftermath. The story is interestingly told purely through visuals and music and without any text. There are simple interactive elements throughout the game, such as putting together puzzle pieces to formulate Florence’s speech bubbles and tapping on musical notes when Florence hears Krish’s beautiful cello music playing outside.

Without words, the game relied heavily on the mechanics of the game and the music to convey emotion. For example, the speech bubble mechanic helped me better understand Florence’s feelings when communicating with Krish. When their relationship was easy going, I had as much time as I needed to put the blue speech bubble pieces together, and Krish would wait until I was done to respond. When their relationships was strained, the speech bubble pieces turned red and Krish was spewing out his own red speech bubbles without waiting, making me feel stressed about putting the pieces together quickly to compete with him. This communicated to me how overwhelmed Florence felt in these moments and that these conflict felt like a competition to say as many hurtful things as possible.

While many of the interactive elements helped deepen my understanding of the story, I also felt like these elements were not challenging and did not make me more invested in the story. Some of the elements did not help me deepen my understanding, and some felt more like busy-work that I would have rather skipped through. For example, there is a scene where Krish and Florence are pan frying dinner together, and you have to tap on the pan to help them cook. This was not challenging, and it also didn’t really give me any information on the relationship, but it did take up my time.



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