Florence | Touch and Go

SLJ's reviewer called Florence, an intriguing app for teens, "A realistic and emotional portrayal of how relationships and dreams can flourish, wither, and rise from the ashes."

Over time we have featured a number of story apps for teens, including several by the Australian developer Slap Happy Larry (The Artifacts, Midnight Feast, and Hilda Bewildered), but lately these productions seem far and few between. Lucky for us Annapurna Games has recently issued Florence. Andrea Lipinski reviews it below.  

  

Florence (Annapurna Games, LLC, iOS, $2.99; Gr 8 Up) is a young woman whose life is on hold. Players' first interactions with this 25-year-old involve mundane activities such as liking images that were shared with her through social media, observing the frustrating phone calls she has with her mother, and inputting figures into her work computer. Then, one day, as Florence is walking along her phone battery dies; she takes out her earbuds and hears haunting music, which draws her, floating, down the street. The music is coming from the cello played by a young man named Krish. She later hears him playing again as she is biking, and distracted, crashes her bicycle, precipitating an encounter with the cellist, who runs to her aid. The two begin spending time together traveling the city sharing favorite spots, eating out, and visiting Krish's family. Eventually, they fall in love. The story follows their relationship through its ups (encouraging each other in their creative pursuits) and downs (arguments in blank, but colorful, speech bubbles), while also zeroing in on Florence as she remembers her artistic aspirations.

The interactive elements of this story are intriguing. The story moves forward as viewers touch different objects on the screen, such as musical notes, or complete activities such as focusing the images when Florence is dazed by her accident (more difficult than it sounds); tackling pieces of a conversational puzzle; and putting some of Florence's items in storage when Krish moves into her apartment. The musical elements, especially the pieces played by Krish, are so moving that they are likely to inspire players to find out if the soundtrack is available to download separately (luckily, it is!). VERDICT A realistic and emotional portrayal of how relationships and dreams can flourish, wither, and rise from the ashes.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal's dedicated app webpage

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