Is Thirty Flights of Loving the best five-minute game since Gravity Bone?

If you’re interested in level design, theme parks and casinos are great teachers.

Brendon Chung’s commentary mode in Thirty Flights of Loving includes comments like the above quote, a slower look at some of the game’s dizzying edits, and even deleted scenes, such as an earlier incarnation of Anita’s sharpshooter skill that didn’t fit the character. That picture up there tells you all you need to know about Anita, except for the part about her being a confectioner. Don’t worry, it all makes as much sense as it needs to.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Yay. I loved Gravity Bone so much, I was actually disappointed when I found out about Flotilla. I wanted more Gravity Bone, dammit! And now it's here.

Gravity Bone is really something special. I'm not much of a Flotilla fan, and I haven't yet tried AZS, but a Gravity Bone sequel sounds sublime.

I really, really want a full-length version of Flotilla, it's just a mix of all the things I love. Combat Mission, Homeworld, Master of Orion II. We should clone Chung about 50 times over, and just give him (well, them) all our money. Why haven't we done that already?

Why is Flotilla not "full-lenght"? I always thought it was a very elegant game that needed nothing more.

I have to ask, Tom...if it's not a game, why refer to it as such in the title?

Because "cinematic poem about adventure, love, and betrayal" is too long for the headline!

Thirty Flights of Loving is not better than Gravity Bone. I mean really, how can anything be better than the last 90 seconds of Gravity Bone? But I think it's more inventive and ambitious than its predecessor (if not as powerful, except for a single magnificent split-second sensation), and I absolutely adore every single aspect of both games.

I'm torn between bright-eyed wishing for more such games more often and just savouring the rare occasions on which something this brilliant and totally out of the blue comes along. I think this is why these two games - Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving - are so special: there's simply nothing else out there like them...

... But if you know of something else like them, please do share! :)

Well put, Mr. Walt. Out of curiosity, what's the split-second sensation you're talking about? A specific moment in the game?

Fair enough!

Yep. I didn't want to mention it initially ('cause spoilers and all) but I figure anyone who's interested has already done it by now.

It's that moment right before "The End" where you're in the car escaping the airport, then flash to being on the back of the bike being driven by Anita on the way to the wedding reception. Those cuts from a near death experience flashback to seemingly crashing head on into a truck to being thrown into the credits gallery was a huge "Oh shit!" moment for me. I was just stunned and blown away by how well it was done. I think it was still being able to control my perspective that made it really effective and powerful, which is just enough to feel like I'm playing the game, even though I had basically no control whatsoever. The whole game just had a wonderful sense of immediacy to it.

Bah, I'm gushing now. *ahem* Thirty Flights of Loving is a quite good game. Yes... Quite good indeed...

Maybe the term was poorly chosen, but it obviously refers to the actual time you can spend with the game. I've done several playthroughs as well, and I loved that, but I still keep thinking of the game it could be if it was fleshed out more, both in the "story" and in the actual mechanics. For all its charms, it's still a small game.

OK, having played it now, I'm ever so slightly disappointed. I still like it a lot, but I definitely preferred Gravity Bone. Maybe I'm looking at GB with rose tinted spectacles, but for all its mechanical simplicity, it made sense that it was presented as a game. There was a greater degree of interactivity and problem solving, and it was in some sense toying with games and their tropes and your expectations as a gamer. Whereas with Thirty Flights of Loving, I'm not sure it wouldn't have worked just as well, if not better, as an animated short film. The only thing that would probably have not worked so well is the broken stairs bit.

Time to necro this thread.

Finally got round to playing Thirty Flights of Loving and Gravity Bone last night. Well, I say ‘got round to’, more like ‘remembered to play’. I did Thirty Flights first, not knowing which order they came in, and was caught off guard by it all; it’s so lean and snappy. So many cool bits: the bold cut to the title screen, the introductions to the characters, being able to pick up a gun and ammo and never actually use them (I’ve wanted a game to do this for a long time now), the floating dancers at the wedding reception, the ‘escape’ sequence and the black and pink cop hold-up, the overall sense of place. I then played it again reading the developer’s commentary. Fascinating stuff that left me chewing over the chronology of the events, trying to piece the bits together. (Tom mentioned the Bernoulli principle in his Steep review which I only read a couple of days ago, and it was the first time I’d heard of it, and here I am, a day later, playing a game that weirdly explains it at the end! I’m still trying to work out the significance of it actually…) I also greatly admired the game for not trying to be a game, which is where I came unstuck with Gravity Bone.

The first mission, fine. Loved the tiny bug in the champagne flute. The second mission, oh god. Freezing and smashing not just one padlock per door, but two, then having to snap a photo of an (exploding?) bird while the door closed behind me each time–five times in a row–was just tedious. What’s worse, this was split up by a terrible and totally unnecessary platforming sequence. I died so many times (and I’ve usually no issues with first-person plaforming), and because I hadn’t saved the first time with no autosave in sight, I had to start again and do the doors and birds again. What irritated me more was that the vent to access the last two doors was outside a window and I had a hammer. Apparently hopping on to flagpoles made more sense. Speaking of sense: moments later I’d been shot multiple times and left for dead, then had to chase the shooter, still wielding a loaded gun, who–surprise!–shot me again when I caught her. Nice finale though.

I hate being crotchety about this kind of stuff but I’m realising that I’d rather have ‘no game’ than bad game, and I think Thirty Flights understands that. They’re both incredibly stylish and I love the confidence in their presentation and low-fi aesthetic.

Now I want to play Quadrilateral Cowboy and, kind of related, Jazzpunk and (deep breath) Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist. I have The Operative: No One Lives Forever too on my shelf, which I still haven’t played, and that looks a lot more attractive now…

@geggis I played Jazzpunk a while ago, and it’s quirky in the same way as Thirty Flights of Loving - and maybe this is splitting hairs - but if I had to characterize the games I’d say Jazzpunk is more of a conventional game with a great style and presentation, whereas Thirty Flights of Loving is a game where you have no idea what’s going on… at least that’s how I felt about em.

That’s not a putdown of Jazzpunk in any way though, and I would recommend the game, but it’s just that I am not sure I’d put it in the same league as Thirty Flights of Loving.

Ah yes, I thought as much, which is fine. I doubt many games will be like Thirty Flights and Gravity Bone to be honest. They’re utterly Blendo!

Did anybody notice that Anita has an artificial arm and leg for the heist? I’m guessing that’s from the bike crash. I’d love to know why she’s pointing a gun at you after the cut too.

Brendon Chung [on Gravity Bone]: Well, I knew how I wanted it to start and I knew how I wanted it to end, with falling off a building. Everything in the middle was made-up as I went along.

This explains a lot!