The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that's OK. If you disagree with what we've chosen, let's try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…



I'm going to admit that I don't even know where to begin with Florence [$2.99], the debut title from Mountains Games. It's difficult to put into words. Florence is a game, sure, but it's also more of an interactive story. It tells the tale of Florence Yeoh, a twenty-something young woman dealing with the doldrums of everyday life until she meets her first love, which changes everything. The thing about first loves though is that they're rarely the last. And so it goes as you follow Florence on her journey experiencing life and discovering who she is.

So, ok. But so what? So is this a game or not? That's what's so fascinating to me. Florence could be a short animated movie, where you passively just sit back and watch it play out, and it would be great. The brilliance here is that it's NOT a passive experience on iOS, and that takes it from great to, well, brilliant. There's a lot of interaction happening throughout Florence, and it's almost entirely the simple, "micro game" variety but I can't overstate just how much that adds to the impact of the experience.

For example, when you're on your first date with your first love, the game represents the back and forth of each person's conversation as piecing together fragments of a speech bubble. In the early part of the date nerves are running high and Florence is feeling a little awkward, and the speech bubble pieces are more complex to put together. As the night goes on and both people become more comfortable with each other, the pieces become larger and much simpler shapes, until they're not pieces at all and instead are just one giant speech bubble.

This is such a fun way of mimicking what it's like to click with another person on a romantic (or even a non-romantic) level. Things can be tricky at first as you try to force words together to make a sentence and carry on a conversation and hopefully not embarrass yourself in the process. But as you grow closer to that person the words just sort of come out naturally. This is really just one example of how "gameplay" helps capture a feeling and flesh out the characters in Florence in such an interesting way that's just not always possible in books or film.

I should also add that there's almost NO text throughout the entire game. Amazingly, Florence is able to create real emotional connections and perfectly convey everything that's happening just by using the visuals, the tiny micro games you play, and by the absolutely phenomenal soundtrack. Seriously, don't even DARE play this without headphones or at least with your device's sound turned on. Just don't. It doesn't work without the full audio and visual experience. Florence is a very short ride too, clocking in between 30 minutes and an hour depending on how much you soak in each scene, so do yourself a favor and set aside some free time to fully absorb yourself into the game in one sitting. It's worth it.

Florence certainly won't be for everyone, but as someone who enjoys artsy games like this I can safely say that that 30 minutes or so will be sticking with me forever, and three bucks for the feelings it gave me while playing feels like I committed a robbery. When people talk about using video games as a medium to tell stories like books or films do, Florence feels like the perfect example of what can be possible. It reminded me in many ways of Simogo's amazing Device 6 [$3.99] in that it wouldn't be possible to tell the same story or provide the same type of experience in a book or a film, and the interactions with the touchscreen and the way the visuals move with your own movements and guide you through the game provide an experience unlike any other.

Know what you're going into with Florence, and our review is a good place to start for a little more info, but if this type of thing is up your alley then by all means dive in and enjoy this short but ultimately impactful interactive story.

Link to Forum Discussion: Florence (by Annapurna Interactive)

  • Cameron Mulder

    By far my favorite game in recent memory.

  • Alexis Gonzalez

    Am I the only blind person here or something? This game is TERRIBLE. I would nominate it for worst of the year. First the positives: yes, the illustrations are nice, yes the music is fine. But as a game, this game is BAAAAAAAAAAAAAADD!!!!!! I have played Toca Boca titles meant for kids that have more depth and difficulty. This game is basically one of those Flash games of the 90's where you just click here and there and see stuff happen. A demo, a cruel demo.

    Tell me exactly what aspect of this game is deserving of praise? Is it the number puzzles where you add 3+5 and 10+2 without any time restrain or challenge? Is it the matching puzzles where the cards are not bottom down and you can see literally the matching tiles? Is it the amazingly complex jigsaw puzzles of THREE FREAKIN PIECES EACH?! A children's puzzle has 24 pieces for god's sake.

    Every single """puzzle"""element on this game is uninspired, a second though and has no difficulty whatsoever. I spent the whole game assuming this was some sort of tutorial so I could learn the mechanics for a later time and suddenly the game was done.

    How about coloring pages where you cannot go out of the line? Or the puzzle where you put stuff out of a box into shelves ANY way you like it? I understand there are passive style games, and I love them. But for a title be considered a game it should have goals, purpose, challenge. I think of similar games, like Gorogoa, and putting this game side by side is an insult to it.

    This game had the potential for having a great story AND good gameplay. Harder jigsaws, or maybe more elaborate levels of Match-two (with idk, upside down cards?!). There could had been item finding, or maybe cooking mini games, or anything else interesting.

    The story was bland, predictable. They could had added some branching, the possibility of things going in different directions according to your actions. But no. This was a Flash game where you basically drag items into place so the story moves forward without you having any real interaction.

    I have never stopped to write an opinion on a review of a game before, but I spent $3 on a mediocre game, mediocrely planned. I purchased it eyes closed assuming the game would have the level of polish this publisher always has. But I was wrong, and I hope anyone reads and learns from my mistake.

    This game is bad. So bad. And calling it game of the week is an insult to gaming.

    • robotkirby

      Obviously, this game wasn’t for you, but that doesn’t make it bad. This game was an artistic telling of a story. And the reasoning behind the use of three piece puzzles isn’t without reasoning.

      Not every game is for everyone.
      This is more of an experience then a game. Sort of like Flower or Journey, or the upcoming game Sky.

      • Alexis Gonzalez

        This is not a good game. At best, it should be called an interactive story book. For a game to be good, regardless of taste or genre it has to have solid mechanics, solid gaming elements and this game has not. The art is good (not great), the music part is above average. I can even say the story part is decent. But the GAME part, simply is lacking.

        I can mention 'simple' games like Lifeline, Samorost or Hidden Folks that are passive, but feature strong storylines and solid execution. You mention Flower, another great example of a passive game perfectly executed.

        But is impossible to defend a GAME where the GAME aspect is so poor, uninspired and unchallenging to the brain. Take away the music and charm, and you will end up with a game about adding single digit numbers, dragging stuff from point a to b without any rules, and performing menial tasks with no end other than waiting for the Next Page button to appear. Tell me, what innovation this game brings?

        I sound bitter, don't I? 🙂

      • DanCJ

        I haven’t played this game, so I can’t comment on it, but it sounds like you have a very rigid view of what a game should provide. As with all forms of art, I don’t thing there is any single thing that a game need to have to be a good game.

        Some games are just a platform to present a story, or to provide music, or to provide a playground, or to provide some kind of immersive experience. Any one of these games could fail on any given criteria for measuring the the quality of games, but still be good in other ways.

    • Jared Nelson


    • Eli Hodapp

      This is brilliant satire.

      • bitbit

        I think it's a perfectly valid take. it's a completely linear experience and the interaction is so shallow, it feels perfunctory. the music is not amazing. the style and story isn't reaching for anything unique. as a package it's fine if you know what to expect I guess, but it has flaws, and it has en air of forced hype around it.

    • tpianca

      How dare you not like a game that was so hyped???

  • David Barajas

    Another instance of me seeing a lot of hype about a game but not liking it as much.