Is Storm Boy a game? Yes and no… you should compare it with a short novel that you can buy in a bookshop, only difference is that you read and interact with it. Game elements come from nine (very) short mini games and walking left or right. While Storm Boy isn’t for everyone, it still remains something I wish to see more on Xbox One. Not to mention that I want a damn pelican pet for myself now!
What is good?
- Emotional story: The original story comes from author Thiele Colin, an Australian writer known best for children stories. This”game” lets you explore his story about a young boy and an unusual friend Mr Percival, a pet pelican. I’m honestly a gamer that is easily emotional, for example what happens with Lee in Walking Dead, a lot of the scenes in Life is Strange or Emma’s death in Metal Gear. Storm Boy managed to release some deep emotions inside me too, as it shows how monstrous humanity can, and always will be. Right after finishing I searched for the novel at my work (I work in a library) to learn more about this wonderful story.
- Fast and easy 1000 Gamerscore: (No score influence) It took me around twenty minutes to get almost all Achievements, only one was still unlocked for me because I didn’t went deep enough while diving. I’m not the guy that plays for Achievements so I was surprised to see that I unlocked them all so fast. It tells you something about the length too, sadly enough.
- Dreamy visuals: Storm Boy doesn’t look like the your average game, it has his own style that I highly appreciated. Making sure that the important things stand out and that the texts are perfectly readable.
- Relaxing music: The game has some very calming music that manages to reach the right emotions at the right times. Swimming in the ocean or exploring some beautiful seashore sights, all is accommodated with excellent music.
- Gaps in story: because the story is told in a fast and short way the message is really powerful, sadly it comes with a negative rushy side too. I’m not saying that the developer Blowfish Studios was lazy but it had a lot more potential. The story is freaking awesome, the execution is good but could be so much more …
What is bad?
- Incredibly short: Twenty minutes. While I had an entertaining time while playing and the game is around €5 it still lacks content or replay value. I was rather disappointed to see the ending in such a fast way, they had so much potential that I might be even more sad about that than the story-ending from the game.
- I understand the concept, still lacks gameplay: Before you throw the cockles that you collect in the game towards my head, I know that Storm Boy is an interactive novel. I’m fully aware that it means that you can expect limited gameplay but to my regret it is really pushing the limit for it to be called “interactive” The nine mini games never have any real task or result in the story, almost all of them can be skipped if you want too. What remains is just guiding the analogue stick to the right side, the dev could have added some platforming parts, more meaningful mini games, playing as the pelican or anything in that regard.
Storm Boy: the game | Score: 60/100
What a story. It has never happened that I searched for a book because I played a game. So I’m sure Blowfish Studios Storm Boy will result in an increase in book sales! We can’t ignore the giant elephant in the room, the very short playtime but I enjoyed it and I hope more experiences like this will surface on Xbox.