Storm Boy was one of those titles I bought in a sale and subsequently dismissed in an ever-growing pile of digital tiles that fill my Nintendo Switch’s library.
First impressions were good, but the Storm Boy Switch game has been out for a little while now, so no urgency to produce a write-up.
That’s a good thing as that means there’s no rush and more time to soak everything up.
If you’re not familiar with the title, Storm Boy, by Blowfish Studios, is based on the 1964 children’s book of the same name, about a boy who befriends a pelican who he names Mr Percival.
The boy and the pelican share a delightful bond, and the game plays out as an interactive storybook with the text appearing across the screen as the narrative flourishes.
As long as you understand this concept, Storm Boy is a pleasant experience. If you’re expecting anything else, you’ll be disappointed.
Aimed primarily at a younger audience, mostly due to the simplicity of the gaming elements, this is a title you can put on for all ages to enjoy and experience, knowing full well it’s family-friendly.
That said, the story content is charming, and will chip away at most of stoniest of hearts.
If Storm Boy doesn’t work, you’re going straight to hell.
The controls are minimal; there are instructions throughout on what you’re supposed to do that you’re never in a state of confusion on what’s next.
It’s mostly intuitive and doesn’t involve any stress-induced situations, but do note that many of the mini-games you encounter are targeted to those learning their motor skills and your average gamer is going to get bored.
If it wasn’t for my children engaging with the game, I might have dismissed the title – not because it’s terrible, just because it wasn’t something that I had the desire to finish in one sitting.
That said, once I saw the interaction and how they were responding with it, Storm Boy became a family experience. A bit like playing We’re Going On A Bear Hunt or The Tiger Who Came To Tea.
Both games would benefit from a game version, methinks.
Hands down one of the best experiences in the game was a section where you could draw in the sand with a stick.
Considering the length of time it takes to complete the game (it’s a very edited version of the book, of course), we spent a reasonable amount of time drawing random pictures in the sand.
Notably my version of a pair of tits. Birds, of course.
There’s no points system or in-game achievement in Storm Boy; rather, it’s about the experience – the joy of reading a book taken to one step further, albeit a bit of a linear one in comparison to pretend play.
The player determines the pace, but this could be completed in half the time of a Pixar film at a relatively slow speed.
Text appears on-screen over the scenery as you move the boy across the shore. It’s a bit clunky at times, but you get used to it – especially as you have to stop what you’re doing to read it.
This ensures that you take your time to take in the ambience and somewhat escapism that these Australian shores provide.
On that note, this game is stunning.
With the transition from the book to the videogame, the gorgeous colour palette and character designs, to the animation of Mr Percival when in flight, Storm Boy is a loveable title for a younger audience.
But soppy grown-ups too.
Like any good book, children are happy to relive the experience again and again, and in some respects, Storm Boy is like that and will depend on your parenting stance and if you want them playing videogames.
I’m not a bird person at all, but this game one me over a bit, even if it was relatively short-lived.
Without a doubt, the visuals and audio are spot-on and create an experience that is as close to getting inside the book other than your imagination.
The controls make the game easily accessible to a broad audience – not just for younger gamers but perhaps significant others who don’t usually play games but want to be part of the fun.
This could be their introduction to the gaming world then in a couple of weeks, you’ll find them binging on The Witcher 3 or going through the complete sporting calendar in TT Isle of Man – Ride to the Edge 2.