Falling For Someone? You HAVE to Play Florence, the Mobile Game About Falling in Love

Most video games use the medium to explore fantastic ideas and stories that could never take place in real life.

The upcoming Florence is the opposite. It's a game that explores the realities of first love through tiny playable moments in a woman's life, and I've never played anything quite like it.

The game, quite appropriately, releases on iOS devices on Valentine's Day, but the developers let me play a test build of its lovely first chapters.

It revolves around 25-year-old Florence Yeoh. She works in an office, and as the game begins, her life starts to feel pretty tedious. The game reveals this by having the player guide Florence through her day.

Florence Yeah, 25 years old, is woken up by her alarm

(Florence via Annapurna Interactive)

As a player, I snoozed the alarm clock for Florence. I swiped left and right on the screen to brush her teeth in the morning and at night, and I decided whether she'd heart or reblog her friends' images as she scrolled through her social feeds. At work, I matched numbers to help Florence fill in a spreadsheet, and once she got home, I selected sushi rolls for Florence to eat for dinner. While these mundane actions in themselves weren't tiresome to me as a player, I could see how they could become so if they were to be repeated day in and day out.

Florence brushing her teeth

(Florence via Annapurna Interactive)

As Florence went on a walk the next morning, the game had me scroll once again through the photos in Florence's feed, when her phone battery died suddenly. As Florence took out her earbuds, she heard the sweet, faint sound of cello music. Big, colorful music notes appeared on the screen, and as I pressed them, the music grew louder and grander. Soon, Florence started floating off the ground, captivated by the sound, until she was practically flying. When she finally spotted the handsome cellist creating the music, it was clear that she had immediately developed a crush—and I felt I had played some small part in the magic.

The next day, Florence spotted him while riding his bike. He appeared as a blur in the background, and I had to use two meters resembling radio tuners to scroll until he came into clear focus. The next thing I knew, Florence had crashed her bike. I dialed through the tuners yet again, but this time to make sense of Florence's dazed and dizzying view following her accident.

Florence: Florence dizzy after her bike crash

(Florence via Annapurna Interactive)

A few of these followed revealing the details of the collision, and as the last image became clear, the cellist came into view. In the wake of a small disaster, Florence and the musician, Krish, became friends and exchanged numbers.

The next scene detailed their first date. As Krish and Florence spoke, I had to populate Florence's speech bubbles by filling them with the right puzzle pieces.

Florence: Florence and Krish talk over a meal, puzzle pieces

(Florence via Annapurna Interactive)

As the night went on and the conversation continued, the fewer and larger the puzzle pieces became, as if talking to Krish became more and more effortless with Florence over time. Finally, Florence's speech bubble needed to be filled with just a single piece, culminating in their first kiss.

Florence and Krish share a kiss

(Florence via Annapurna Interactive)

Here, the game skipped ahead by six months. Florence and Krish's relationship had gotten more serious, and Krish was moving into Florence's place. As I opened the boxes full of Krish's stuff, it quickly became apparent that there wasn't enough room for all of Florence's things as well as Krish's. At first, I only had to make one sacrifice, putting a pair of Florence's bunny slippers into storage so Krish could display all of his shoes, but things got more complicated when it came to counter space in the kitchen and displaying their knick-knacks in the living room.

This scene was interesting because it was so open-ended. I could be selfish on Florence's behalf, keeping all of her things out to only make room for a couple of Krish's items, or selfless and let him totally invade the space. I eventually opted for something in between, carefully regarding the importance and sentimentality of each item, even if I didn't believe it would have much, if any, impact on the rest of the game. I hadn't ever encountered this kind of predicament in a video game, and the moment stuck with me.

Florence: Florence and Krish sit on a couch in their apartment

(Florence via Annapurna Interactive)

But the preview's last chapter was perhaps the most interesting. As Krish and Florence go shopping for groceries, they get into an argument. This segment repeated the familiar format of filling in conversation bubbles with puzzle pieces. However, as the conversation continued, they changed from puzzle piece shapes to sharp, jagged words. Eventually, filling in Florence's bubble became a race with Krish. It was like I was trying to make her arguments faster and better to win the argument, and I felt compelled to win even though I didn't know the specifics of the fight. It was a powerful, affecting moment, and I felt a little better when the two made up at the end of the chapter.

I'm very curious to see how the rest of the game unfolds and what else is in store for the game's couple. Even without finishing the game, I'm left with a lasting impression and a powerful message about love and all of its ups and downs. The game beautifully touches on all aspects of what it means to be in love, and it managed to get me, the player, extremely invested by simply taking part in it.

In addition to being quite charming to play, it also has a lovely score—I particularly love the cello scene— and simple yet beautifully evocative animations. I predict it's going to be a hit.



You can watch a trailer for Florence below and pre-order the full version of Florence in the app store now for $2.99.


If you love games that are all about the story, click HERE for our review of the haunting yet beautiful What Remains of Edith Finch.