Reaching for Petals Review
I’ve always been a sucker for games like Firewatch and Gone Home. I love being able to explore to your heart’s content and try to piece together a story from the clues you find or have a story gradually unfold the further you progress through the game. I was excited to lose myself in Reaching for Petals, but after a very short amount of time I was finished and left wanting more.
With one of the only redeeming factors of walking-simulator games being their story/narration, Reaching for Petals does a good job at grabbing your attention from the very start with a narrator that sounds like honey trickling over gravel, and a breath-taking walk in the forest start to your adventure. You practically progress through the game on a rail, walking in a straight line and occasionally around a few corners to get back to that straight line. The game is split into four chapters and three memories, all of which tell you a story about how wonderful it is to fall in love and the pain of losing something you once loved; emotions which somehow managed to break through my jaded exterior.
These chapters and memories only lasted just over an hour for me. One lovely hour of sucking up all the brilliant exposition, the story, and the lovely, grizzled voice in my ear. After that I was hit with the end credits and was waiting for something more; another act, a different story. But no, it just sends you back to the title screen and lets you replay the exact same story again.
“Reaching for Petals does a good job at grabbing your attention from the very start with a narrator that sounds like honey trickling over gravel…”
Surprisingly, given the game’s short length, the story still manages to tug at a few heartstrings. The characters are introduced slowly, and you get to make a few decisions that don’t really alter the story in any way but are a nice way to fill in the blanks of their history together. The story itself, as told by the narrator, was a treat to listen to and picture in my head. Reaching for Petals’ soundtrack manages to fill the gaps in between the narration as well, and gradually builds up from a few piano keys to an entire orchestra, leaving you with no boring downtime.
There aren’t any areas to fully explore in each act, but the places you do explore all look fantastic and finally give me an excuse to have spent so much on my graphics card. That being said, the spectacles you’ll see throughout the story are definitely impressive, but once you get up close you see that it’s just the distance and the Unreal Engine’s lighting that makes it look so good. Some textures looked extremely outdated up close, but this never took anything away from the crux of the game; the story.
I was worried that Reaching for Petals would be the kind of game to overemphasize the poetry in their story and write something extremely pretentious in the hopes of it coming across as smart. Thankfully they do nothing of the sort and use the kinds of metaphors that really stick with you instead of just confuse you for a while.
I was honestly very surprised at how short the game was, and though I really enjoyed my time spent playing through Reaching for Petals, I find it difficult to recommend paying for something that won’t give you much more than an hour’s worth of gameplay with little to no replayability. I feel selfish asking for more of the same, but if Reaching for Petals carried on for a few more hours I’d be singing a completely different tune.
*** PC key provided by the publisher ***
- Brilliant narration
- Touching story
- A soundtrack that sets the tone perfectly
- Over very quickly
- No replayability
- Some textures look dated