A Short, Quick Stroke of Genius

The pathway of life ebbs and flows in an infinite amount of ways, connecting and separating parallels that twist and turn our mortal paths in ways we couldn’t imagine. Where life-changing events could happen in a blink of an eye, some take a longer precedence and latch onto your daily routine. They can take form in a new job, a significant gift, or something as simple as a chance encounter with a complete stranger.

Florence Yoah was a victim of normality. A mid-20s woman that was destined to repeat the same routine ad nauseam: wake up, brush her teeth, crunch numbers at work, absorb her mother’s constant bickering, eat, sleep, repeat. It wasn’t a fulfilling career for the aspiring artist she had always wanted to be, but it was a future that was appropriately safe for where she was in life. On her way down a familiar busy street, a dead phone battery left Florence isolated from her musically-charged paradise, succumbed to the hustle and bustle of the real world.

A soft symphony of sound danced upon the street and into the soul of Florence, the notes pulled her into the air, lifting her spirit in ways she hadn’t felt in a long time. She followed the sound, mesmerized by its enchanting demeanor, until she reached the source of the beautiful blend of passion and talent, and met the man who would soon introduce their own blend of harmonious highs, and an dissonance of lows.

Florence plays through a stylized time line of the relationship between her and aspiring cello player, Krish Hermajani: each in a crossroad of adult life, chasing childhood dreams but succumbed to a more muted existence. Throughout the 45 minute story, Florence touches upon the subtle nuances of taking the leaps and bounds when befriending a complete stranger. Where Florence begins to quietly seek out Krish, tempted with the reward of his soulful playing, she finds herself sent on a literal crash course: colliding with him on her bike as he strolls through the city.

This unintentional encounter allows the two to meet properly, where Florence‘s interactive take on the awkwardness of small talk is shown via dialogue bubble puzzles. These interactive pieces nudge forward their story in a multitude of scenarios: swiping back and forth to brush Florence’s teeth, creating art from Florence’s past with carefully placed colorful shapes, to deciding which personal items to co-exist when the two eventually move in together. The actions are short and to the point, but give more personality to the situations they highlight.

While Florence‘s story may feel short on run time, it isn’t without its overflowing display of emotion and heart. Relationships are a journey that will always carry bumps in the road. Where the intricately placed puzzle pieces show the care needed when getting to know someone, the fast and brash puzzle pieces during an argument wholly portray the shortsightedness of trying to speak words faster than the other, regardless of the malicious intent that may be behind them.

These emotions throughout Krish’s and Florence’s years spent together combine themselves conjointly: Magnificence and imperfection. Elation and misery. Worthiness and emptiness. The soft, simplistic artistic direction allows these feelings to shine through every screen. To laugh with the clumsiness of a growing love, to drown in the crammed sorrow of an empty room, to relish in the genesis of a new morning, with the impending hours to unravel in ways untold.

Some stories don’t get a happy ending: where the ride to the sunset is a stop just missed. But take the time to examine each brushstroke of this beautifully crafted story of acceptance, grief, and revival: where even if the painting becomes muddled, cloudy, and dark, the lessons learned from each combined color can help pave the way towards a brighter picture.

One where the darkness can help unite the impending brilliance.

Reviewed on PC/Steam.

Playable on PC, Switch, Mac, iOS, & Android.