Game: ONCE IN FLOWERLAKE
Genre: Adventure, Indie, Simulation
System: Steam (Windows)
Developers | Publishers: Mikhail Neznamov
Controller Support: Partial
Price: US $4.99 | UK £3.99 | EU € 3,99
Release Date: November 17th, 2021
Review code used, with many thanks to Mikhail Neznamov.
Once in Flowerlake is an adventure simulation game from developer Mikhail Neznamov. Flowerlake is the second game Mikhail has developed, the first game being Hexurb which I reviewed earlier in the year.
The Nameless Man
Once in Flowerlake is a short story in a sci-fi setting with a top-down view. It tells the story of a nameless man lost in routine in the middle of a cold world and soulless machines. You control the nameless man, or 67303 as he is called in the game, a man with no name but a number. The nameless man woke up in a capsule in the middle of a snowy environment.
It is a cold, dangerous place he finds himself in. Luckily he comes across a cabin to keep warm by the fire. He has a bed, a stove and a computer in the cabin and a job of taking care of four weird machines out in the snow. However, he doesn’t know why he is here or does the job he must do day after day.
Out in the Cold
So each day, he leaves his warm cabin to trudge slowly through the deep snow. The man’s movement is very slow, it represents real life as walking through deep snow is hard work. He can run in spurts for a short time, but the nameless man does get tired fast, and you can feel the slog of the man’s efforts to get through the snow.
The mystery of why the nameless man is taking care of the machines deepens when he discovers an electric fence guarded by flying orbs that shoot at him if he gets too close. Later he rescues a woman, and the pair of them try to find out what is going on.
Once in Flowerlake story gives of feeling’s of hopelessness as the man is stuck in the cold desolate wilderness and a monotonous routine of working and not knowing why.
The story is intriguing and as you play the game, you’ll have many questions about why he is in this cold place and the orbs. It pushes you to see the game’s conclusion and to know the answers to your questions.
Since the game centres around the snowy environment, I understand the need for snow and the whiteness of the game’s appearance. However, at times it felt like I needed a pair of snow blindness goggles to wear as I struggled to find the character on the screen. He blends into the snow as there aren’t enough darker tones in the environment to make him stand out. In addition, the man’s thoughts and speech appear on the white screen, again making it hard to read unless your nose is against the screen.
Not seeing the main character did hinder my gameplay at times and slightly dampened my enthusiasm to play the game. But like the nameless man, I persevered and completed the game. Once in Flowerlake is not a long game, taking about an hour and a half to two hours to finish, depending on how lost you get in the snow. The atmosphere music and sound effects all add to the story of a desolate cold world and feelings of loneliness.
Once in Flowerlake is a game to pass a few hours with. It may be on the short side as to playtime but the price point reflects this. I do think the game could have some dark tones added to it so the main character can be seen a little more clearly and adjust the text so it can be read without the player having to climb into the screen. There are a few twists and turns in the plot that keep you hooked to push on to see its conclusion.
Final Verdict: I Like It