The Flower Shop, not to be mistaken with the sim time management game Flower Shop, is a visual novel with some simulation play on the side. Made by the same developer of Bionic Heart, the story about love, friendship and flowers is progressed with reading the dialogue among the anime characters. You are also in control of some of the conversation when given a choice. In addition to the “talk” in this game, you can direct the mood of each character with your decisions.
In this novel you are Steve, a young, spoiled college boy, finishing his finals after his first year of school and not doing well in his classes, but he is ecstatic about having the whole summer to laze around and see his girlfriend. This type of behavior is quite common among college boys. Not surprisingly his father is extremely angry and decides to send him to his brother’s farm to acquire some discipline. Once removed from the city and delivered to the farm in Fairbrook, California, Steve meets and engages with his Uncle Sam and the town girls.
In the midst of this visual novel, you play a dating and farming sim game. While developing relationships, Steve must weed, water, and keep the land free of insects. During this play you must work as fast as possible because the time is very short. You click on the plot of land you want to weed and then click on the clear button to remove the weeds. With growing the flowers on this patch of ground, you can earn money by selling the flowers. This will lead to an interaction with Susana the town florist and holistic expert on good health. There is a scheduler to plan weeks of activities for Steve. You must balance your schedule to raise your stats and spend time with the girls keeping their relationship gauges in the good rather than bad portions of the scales.
Having lived in California most of my life, I am pleased the game is based in that state. However, the scenery is very generic and I can’t pinpoint what big city Steve lived in or which university he attends. In addition, the small town in the demo is deserted until Steve enters an establishment inhabited only with girls. Also the buildings are all very tidy with nothing scattered casually around the room. For example, Uncle Sam’s kitchen is very modern and neat for an old farmhouse with only a man living there with his cat. I guess I’m being a little nitpicky but I think it would have drawn the reader into the story more with a few more details in the background.
The characters are all done well in the anime fashion, but like the Japanese soap operas have happy, sad (neutral) and angry looks to them. Even the beautiful girls get nasty facial features when they are unhappy with Steve. Perhaps later in the story there is a comedic relief and other young male individuals. It’s hard to say how the story develops because the demo is long and drawn out, setting the game up for future outcomes.
The Flower Shop is different from Bionic Heart where the action and drama opens immediately at the beginning. Since there is less action involved in this novel, I tend to focus in on the background more. I’m hoping the later chapters will bring around some vitality with action and comedy. There is a great scene with Steve driving down a dirt road and comes across a jogger. They should have had mud puddles and Steve splashes her with his truck then there would be conflict instead she is angry about his ogling.
The Flower Shop is more a melodrama than a suspense story and should be accepted as such. It appears this game is aimed towards young girls, but I think you should try it even if you do not fall in that category. The music is muted and appropriate, and the anime characters well done. The dialogue sometimes is funny with words like bummer interspersed. I do not remember the last time a college student used that word. With 9 different endings, depending upon your choices, it will bring about surprising stories in this dating and farming sim play in a visual novel. Will Steve go with his politically aspiring girlfriend Jill, Susana the florist, Clara the opportunist jogger or the voluptuous librarian Marian?
Features of The Flower Shop:
- Visual Novel
- Dating and Farming Sim
- 9 Different Endings in Your Control