Storm Boy (2018)
Developer: Blowfish Studios
Happy New Year! I'm excited to post my first review of 2021. I had the chance to spend much of my holidays playing games on my Switch, including Storm Boy. Storm Boy is another one of those Switch games that caught my eye during a sale and I picked it up without knowing too much about it. It's been sitting in my backlog up until this last winter break. Storm Boy is a short adventure game retelling of a children's book about a boy and his pelican friend. Storm Boy is a little lacking in its gameplay but succeeds in telling memorable short story.
The complete title for this game is Colin Thiele's Storm Boy - The Game, as Storm Boy is originally a children's book by Australian author Colin Thiele. The idea of a book adapted into a game seemed like such an interesting idea to me right away, which is part of what drew me to the game. Although you control the character through this game in a sort of 2.5D environment, the story is narrated much like a book would be, rather than using the typical dialogue format a game would use. Storm Boy tells the story of the titular young boy, who lives by the beach with his dad Hide-Away Tom. Storm Boy spends a lot of time outside, interacting with animals. One day, he stumbles upon a ruined nest with 3 baby pelicans. He nurses them back to health and they become Storm Boy's friends. His adventures with the pelicans and on the beach are told through optional mini-games you can do along the way. Most of these mini games are just entertaining, but don't ask you to do anything specific. For example, there's one where you're throwing fish into the 3 pelicans' mouths to feed them, but you don't need to feed all of them equally or any amount of times. You can just have a good time aiming and throwing right into their mouths. Throughout Storm Boy's journey there's a lot of fun adventures, but also sadness and loss. It was a heartfelt story that definitely moved me.
Storm Boy, at barely 30 minutes of playtime, turned out to be the shortest game I've ever reviewed on here - which is why this review will be a little shorter than usual, too. I'm still enjoy playing shorter games, but I'm less likely to review those games in the future because it tends to leave little for me to talk about. I rarely say this, because I do believe adults can enjoy media made for kids just fine, but this game does feel like it's a better fit for much younger audiences. The mini-games are quite simple, usually with no goal given or any sort of stakes. Storm Boy is an upgrade from reading a short children's story to playing a short children's story, which I think is really cool, but may just not be as entertaining for adults. Also, the controls in some of the mini-games were a little bit less intuitive and responsive than I would've liked them to be. Weirdly enough, one of the later mini-games was actually a lot more challenging than the other ones and did actually have a failstate.
Storm Boy's art style feels much like a 3D picture book. The environments, especially, are both very wild and very beautiful. There's one mini-game where Storm Boy takes a raft out into the ocean and goes for a dive underwater. You can swim and dive freely wherever you wish, exploring an underwater world. I found this to be the most well-done and captivating part of the game, and I enjoyed continuing to dive in different places just to see the very pretty underwater plants and animals. The music during this part as well, is serene and bubbly. There wasn't too much variation in the soundtrack for this game otherwise, but it mostly worked well in telling the story's up and downs.
I would love to see my more books adapted into games, not just books adapted into movies. I think it could be done for not only children's books, but popular teen and adult novels as well. Storm Boy is quite short, but it has mini games and chapters you can go back to freely once you complete the story. I would recommend this game to anyone who was young kids, or any fans of Colin Thiele's books. It was only fun for a little bit for me, but it did have a bittersweet story that will reach those who love animals and nature.
Storm Boy is available on PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, and Android.
Played on: Switch
Last Played: 12/7/2020
Playtime: 0.5 hr