Switch version tested
Review code provided
Blowfish Studios wants to bring fun and exciting experiences to the world through the medium of video games. Their 2018 release Storm Boy can be found on Steam, mobiles and current-gen consoles. It sits comfortably in the budget price range and today we delve a little deeper into the world created.
Storm Boy is based on the classic children’s book of the same name which was written by Colin Thiele in 1964. It follows the story of a young boy who rescues three baby pelicans and subsequently adopts them. A special bond is made with one, Mr. Percival, as boy and bird become partners in crime and faithful companions. It’s an interesting and heartfelt journey that, if it hits a chord, will have you invested from the off. The tales popularity continues to this day which is in part thanks to its translation to a number of modern formats. Storm Boy has even been developed into a feature film, unfortunately, it stars Jai Courtney but we’ll forgive them for that.
When deciding to purchase this ‘game’ it is vital that you consider what you are willing to take from it. Storm Boy is more interactive experience than what we have come to expect from a traditional video game, anyone wanting the next COD or FIFA are sadly out of luck. Fans of Firewatch, Journey and Drowning will feel right at home. The development team have a clear goal to deliver their vision of this classic book and thankfully it works on all levels. Of the little gameplay on offer everything that Storm Boy does is perfectly executed and can be split into two clear categories.
The main story beats are told by floating text entries that appear while controlling our protagonist as you traverse the beaches of South Australia and surrounding areas. It works just fine and the messages are clearly presented, although it would have been nice to have a decent voiceover as an alternative option elevating this already polished package to the next tier. The path is linear and doesn’t really allow for any deviation from what is being told but spliced into these segments are a number of mini-games. These are easily identifiable on screen as little bubbles appear at just the right moment. Mini-games range from drawing in the sand with a stick (sadly the child in me instantly drew a penis), collecting cockles (not another dick joke), playing a good ol’ game of throw ball all the way through to sand surfing. Each game is relatively simple and offers no real challenge yet act as a rest bite from the emotional storyline and cleverly gets you interacting with Mr Percival, adding meaning to the bond that is developing.
Visuals are pleasant, the art style matches something you would expect to come straight out of a children’s book. The character models and background environments are solid with the audio perfectly marrying the experience. It works well on the Switch screen and most definitely would be suited as a mobile experience.
Storm Boy is not your average game but a modern way of learning this classic story. It’s emotional and thought-provoking throughout as the relationship between boy and bird develops from beginning to end. The only real area of issue is that it is very short, lasting around 30mins. Whereas with other console versions you may well go back to get 100% of the trophies/achievements the fact that these are absent on the Nintendo Switch means there is little reason to return after a couple of playthroughs. If you are looking for something different then Storm Boy is highly recommended, with a box of tissues at the ready.
TBG Score: 7.5/10
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mobile, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 20/11/2018
No. of Players: 1
Publisher: Blowfish Studios
Download link: eShop