The Flower Collectors review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Mi’pu’mi Games
Developer: Mi’pu’mi Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

The Flower Collectors is a noir-tinged mystery that stars anthropomorphized animals.

You?d think that would make the game stand out for me, but somehow it?s not even the first time I?ve written a sentence along those lines in recent memory. Earlier this year I reviewed Chicken Police, and last year I wrote about Blacksad. That makes The Flower Collectors the third game I?ve played that fits into this highly specific subgenre.

Impressively, it?s also the third such game I?ve played that, despite a few flaws here and there, is pretty enjoyable. In The Flower Collectors? case, this may be because it borrows from one of the greatest movies of all time, Rear Window, and tells its entire story from the perspective of the main character?s balcony.

It?s a gimmick that comes with a specific set of limitations, but it also sets the stage for a pretty solid noir-tinged mystery. Playing as Jorge, a retired cop in a wheelchair, you set out to solve a murder that takes place in the courtyard outside your apartment in 1970s Barcelona. As the story unfolds, you befriend a journalist — a cat named Melinda — and with your camera and binoculars you piece together exactly what happened. It all takes place over the span of a few days, and, like any good mystery, it?s a tightly woven tale that doles out its secrets at just the right pace, before coming together for a pretty satisfying conclusion.

The Flower Collectors isn?t perfect, though. Some of its issues are related to its performance. The characters move in incredibly odd ways, for example — rather than turning like normal people (er, animal-people hybrids), the kind of glide around until they have room to walk. They also wildly over-emote, whether it?s stomping their feet in anger as they attack someone, or stomping their feet in happiness as they laugh. Given how much the game asks you to pick up on small details, having such big emotions seems a little at odds with the rest of the game?s tone.

I?ll also note that, in terms of performance, there were a few parts where the next steps of the story just didn?t seem to unlock, and I was forced to quit the game and start from the last checkpoint. I never lost much, but it was always annoying. Similarly, the game is incredibly dark; I was forced to turn my Switch?s brightness up to the highest setting to see what was happening, and even then it still felt a little difficult to see everything.

Lastly, I?ll also note that, despite the very good story, The Flower Collectors isn?t particularly subtle. It attempts to graft modern-day politics onto post-Franco Spain, and it all feels very heavy-handed. The characters may be great as plot devices, but as people — outside of Jorge — they all feel incredibly one-dimensional.

But in a game as short as this, that?s generally focused on moving the story along to the next beat, that sort of thing is easy to overlook. If it were substantially longer, I suspect that The Flower Collectors might have felt a little pat or contrived. At this length, however, it works just fine, and it makes The Flower Collectors one of the better mystery games I?ve played in awhile.

Mi’pu’mi Games provided us with a Flower Collectors Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+