Bloom is a charming, third person platformer that has you touching flowers to make them blossom to get through the exit to each level. On the surface its a bright simple aesthetic that reminds me of Super Mario 64. Later levels blended grasslands into caves with snowy white tops felt like Minecraft in a good sort of way.
The game is simple, you collect flowers. Well you touch them to make them bloom. Once you’ve bloomed X amount of flowers, you can pass through the exit gate. Its a tranquil game about exploring and searching each level to find flowers. You don’t even need to find all the flowers to exit, just a minimum amount. These flowers are everywhere. Behind trees, at the top of peaks and you’ll have to jump up platforms and over gaps to get them all.
You’ve got a jump, run and an umbrella to swipe with. I can’t say attack, because the swipe makes a wind that affects things. The umbrella tames foxes, it sends elephants moving forward to unblock passages and make platforms. The swipe also sends moles tunneling forward. Its all a sort of light easy gameplay that shows effort, but won’t blow your mind. The simplicity adds to the charm of the game. When you start, there are characters with thought bubbles to help you with controls. Its easy enough without the help, but I think this is a game geared more toward children.
There’s also camera control with the mouse, but while the camera can move a full 360 degrees on the X axis, it can’t move on the Y axis to look up and down. Bloom has plenty of platforms. Looking up to see flowers high atop a ledge would help for sure. I’d also like to see some of the simplistic beauty like a cave full of flowers with a light shining down in the center. I wanted to look around up at everything. For better or worse, the camera also swings through walls too.
Bloom is a fairly easy and quick game, but its a sort of soothing, relaxing journey. The background music fits each theme whether its a mechanical music box for the grasslands or light Arabian music for the deserts. I keep talking about the charm of the game. The bright mid nineties art style certainly helps it. Seeing snowmen, playing with beach balls and other little details added to my enjoyment. The white glow in the distance was a good effect where other games just kind of cut off. Not a word gets said in Bloom, but the two brief cut scenes, give you a good sense of what’s going on.
You’ve got life in petal form. When you run out of petals, you fall over and need to restart the level. The process feels like it takes too long. Like he’s on the ground doing nothing for far too long. To replenish your energy, just make a flower bloom. Its just that easy. There aren’t that many enemies, just the foxes and moles that rush from one painted tunnel to another painted tunnel.
At the end of the game there’s a boss that has kidnapped someone. I’m not sure if its a love or a best friend. Its a nice touch of detail when I only expected just a basic game. Its a good boss battle with no explanation, so you’ll need to figure out what to do and after a lot of boss battles that have taken hours to figure out what to do let alone beat the boss, this was fun to play.
There are a few glitches here and there. I mentioned the camera going through the walls. When your character walks, little flowers sprout around him. Its a nice effect, but sometimes the flowers sprout in mid air. They sprout on rock, and in sand. The foxes will leave little holes that sprout thorn tentacles. These holes can sprout in mid air. The foxes can also land on the player’s head and then proceed to run around leaving holes in the air.
You’ll find several fences in the game, some that border the levels, others that are in the level itself. You can’t jump over the border fences even if they’re short. However, you can easily leap over the same type of fence in a level… that is unless its in what I call the maze fence. You can’t jump over maze fences. Its just a little short fence like the others. I’m sure because its a maze you’re not supposed to be able to leap over it. I would have preferred either a different type of fence for the border and the maze if not trees. Trees would make it feel cluster phobic. Its just a blank world outside of the border fences. I suppose to let you know there’s really nothing out there.
The run and walk animation with the umbrella looks crazy. Normal people would hold the umbrella up over their head, but when the character runs the umbrella flails wildly from left to right. There’s no glitch mind you, it just doesn’t look proper. While the flowers start out closed and then open as they bloom, I have a difficult time discerning at a distance between the two. They’re the same color and look relatively the same.
I would have liked to see full 360 controller support. I could move around, but couldn’t work the camera with my right thumb stick. It just feels like a game I want to play with a controller.
I had some fun with it despite its flaws. I’d like to play more of the game and its a great first step to a good game. It gave me enough sense to see the developers are competent enough to keep my interest.