Hi there Time Wasters!
This week I’m afraid to inform you that I was unfortunately a little let down by the game I played. Not because it was a horrible stab to my gamer’s heart, no, it was just because I expected a bit more and it wasn’t delivered to me. Guess I ruined the end of this review in the first few sentences, huh? Not really, because if you look at the score up there on the right you’ll see that this is still a decent enough game. Which means that now I just have to explain why. So hold on tight, it’s time to reveal both the good and the bad of Storm.
When the concept was pitched to me about a game that let me control the elements of nature immediately I thought that this had to be a puzzle game, and I was right. With the elements of air, water and lightning, admittedly I was a little underwhelmed at my tiny arsenal, but I soon got used to the different take on elemental powers and got the ball (or seed in this case) rolling farther along into the game.
With water to raise logs and make bubbles, air to blow your seed around and make tornados, and lightning to jump obstacles and destroy things, I got into the flow of the game pretty easily. However, even with this fun array of nature’s talents, I quickly noticed several quirks about the game that got under my skin straight away. Even in early levels the faults of relying on a physics engine to do work for you was eating away at my patience level as my seed liked to get stuck on obstacles when it wasn’t rolling quite fast enough through no fault of my own.
Counteracting the possibility of failed physics is lacking in quite a few places in this game actually, and this, of course, leads to wasted time (not in a good way, mind you) and frustration. But this is the problem with a lot of games that involve puzzles that rely on physics engines: sometimes you need precision to win, other times you just need luck, but either way leaves the game feeling unforgiving if not just plain unfair, and that last really isn’t good if it’s true. Fortunately though, for Storm, precision manages to outweigh the luck factor.
This being the case, Storm is not impossible. Frustrating at times, yes, but not impossible. There are a few things in the mechanics that I felt could have been better for the flow of the game (like being able to move the wind a little more freely), but they work. Although, I will be the first to say that as simple as the controls are, there should be space enough inside the game for a single screen of instructions to explain them. Having to go to an outside file to see what five buttons do doesn’t set me off on the right foot when I want to just dive right in and start playing.
And while we’re on the topic of aesthetics, there are a couple of things I want to point out about the graphics. Don’t get me wrong, they’re really nice to look at, but interactive things blend in with background elements. For example: rocks that can be destroyed look just like those you can’t and the element of water is almost invisible on the level as it tends to blend right in. A little more differentiation between interactive and stationary game elements would have helped things.
But even with these minor inconveniences, Storm is still a functional game with challenging puzzles, beautiful scenery and an atmospheric ambience. So if you’re looking to play a game full of puzzles where you solve problems by flooding crevices and blowing up cliff sides with lightning, then have at it and I hope you have fun.
Storm winds up with a 2.5 GiN Gems out of 5.