The Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook review: Budding ambition
Get your head out of a winter state of mind. It’s now summer in Fairbrook. This time around, we’re looking at a male protagonist named Steve. In The Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook, Steve’s girlfriend, Jill, leaves him and due to poor grades, his dad sends him from Los Angeles to the Fairbrook suburbs to learn blue-collar life from his uncle.
While in the country, Steve’s eye catches three women who all know his uncle. With a fresh break up, is it time to move on, or try to repair what has been broken back home? All of these are options; if you so desire you can have Steve un-burn the bridge with his ex. Your new love interests include city loving health-enthusiast Clara, poet-librarian Marian, and flower shop-purist Susana.
As a visual novel, you’ll make choices what to do with your week. Each activity raises a certain stat forcing you to balance your time deciding girl to visit, which stat to improve, which activity to pursue, and how hard you want to farm. For Jill, you stay at home and call her. Certain events will occur once you get a stat high enough or after another event,. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t explain how to trigger these events, leaving you in the dark most the time.
With each girl and your Uncle, you have a relationship bar which can go up or down depending on dialogue choices you make. To win the affection of a woman, you need to max out this bar and have a certain stat high – this isn't mentioned anywhere, so you'll have to figure it out yourself. For example, Clara loves everything about LA, so by talking to your ex back home, you increase your knowledge about the happenings back home. If you advance Susana’s story far enough, you have the option to send flowers to any of the four women for an extra boost.
The individual story of each woman is unique from one another. Each involves Steve adapting to his new lifestyle in Fairbrook through the aid of the women. Through them helping you, you help them with a problem of their own forming an endearing relationship in the process. Will you reject the teaching of your uncle or adapt to rural life? There are multiple endings; ranging from a ending with the woman of your choice to always alone.
The game caters great to replayability. You can fly through or even skip entire dialogues you’ve seen before in other playthroughs, getting you right to the week planning and conversations. In no time you’ll be chatting up the multiple women. My suggestion is to make a save game right at the start of where Steve picks his week plan the first time. Then make other saves from that one so when you restart you skip over all the intro jazz.
Now, on the farm, Steve is given his own plot of land to clear, raise crops, and maintain. You make money by selling crops which you can use to buy more / different seeds to raise more crops. The thing is, this money is ONLY used to buy seeds… so there really isn’t a point. It’s a mini game that doesn’t affect the game at all. You can get any ending in the game without farming at all. So like, yeah, you can farm – it’s a thing in the game.
All in all, if you’re a fan of visual novel games, want a short one, and want to pay the proper price for a short game – pick up The Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook on Steam. There are achievements, Steam cards, and everything you could want. The guesswork required when it comes to skills, the order of events, and the purpose of farming were aspects I would have liked to see fleshed out more. It’s available now, so get out there and make Steve’s life better.