Storm

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Storm
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Storm
Puzzle
PC, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade
Review based on Xbox Live Arcade version
Publisher: IndiePub Games
Developer: Eko Software
Release Date: June 14th, 2013
Storm was developed by Eko Software, and is an interesting little Puzzle game. In this title, you use the elements to move around the seeds of a tree in order for another one to grow. It’s a very simple concept that found its way onto the digital stores of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, as well as was made available for the PC. But, does this little budget title from the independent developer, published through IndiePub Games, stand as a fun and fulfilling budget title, or is this challenge better left in the wind?

As stated, the concept for this title is simple, but the methods become a little complex at times. You need to use the elements like rain, wind, and lightning to push the seed to its destination. You can use lightning to make the seed jump a crevace, or use wind to make it glide over it momentarily. You can get it trapped in a bubble and use wind to push it to a higher cliff as well. The only real downer to this is the lack of consistancy when you get to a part of the stage you simply cannot use nature to get out of, which happens right off the bat in an early Spring season stage, and instead have to use the reset button to get the seed back to the previous tree so you can reach the next objective point on the other side of where you start. This is a circumstance you do have to face from time to time, which just seems like cheap level design in the long run. Thankfully it isn’t something that happens too often, which allows the other levels to push the need for various problem solving efforts to reach the goal.

The audio is very subtle, being a light and whimsicle soundtrack that comes off more like white noise at times to help you concentrate on the task at hand. The sound effects, however, are a little louder, but still end up soft. Rain sounds like it’s falling from the sky or running down a hill, and wind is a very light blowing one might hear upon venturing outside on a generally windy day. Of course the much more abrupt elements, such as the aforementioned lightning, are rather sudden, but still a bit soft against the beautiful visual tapestry of hand painted natural landscapes that pop out nicely. Neither of these really take advantage of the console or PC capabilities of today, but that’s the point, allowing the game to focus more on the intricacies and discovery of methods to make sure the seed you’re moving around ends up birthing a new tree.

The controls respond pretty well, sometimes having a slight delay that can hinder your work, but some of them can be expected. You need to take some natural occurances into consideration, such as the speed of wind and how it would reach the destination you select while it comes from off screen. You also need to consider obstructions such as ledges, that make it so certain elements won’t move the seed the way you hope or want. You also have to act fast at times, making you avoid obstacles with the power of nature, or just getting your seed somewhere before it falls or the path closes off, but you also need to take into consideration how long it takes in order for the elements to impact everything the way you want them to.

In addition to the rather short main campaign, you can go back and replay all the stages again in Spirit mode. This time, instead of trying to plant the seed and move on, you now have to grab as many white orbs (spirits) as possible in the process. These stages become unlocked as you progress through the main campaign, as well as add a few more achievements for completionists, and people generally looking to extend the life of their game purchases. There’s nothing all that new in this mode, so if the Single Player campaign was enough, there’s really nothing more to come back to. In addition to this, it’s unclear if the title will have DLC in the future, but this is a game that seems perfect for throwing some additional stages out there, but only for a modest price. This could also tackle more than just common laws of nature, maybe even taking Storm out of traditional lands and limitations to perhaps explore theories or even astral plains instead of simple landscapes.

In the end, Storm is a pretty basic Puzzle game, but it’s one that tries to do something different, and succeeds in many ways. However, it does have its downfalls. Some stages can be really complex with hidden objectives or goals you won’t even notice at first, causing you to examine everything before you can even consider proceeding. On top of that, you aren’t always shown where you’re supposed to go, and thankfully Youtube has some video walkthroughs available or I’d still be stuck on the fourth stage trying to get the seed into the hole that the arrow seemed to be pointing to. After a short time with this game, chances are you’ll walk away for a bit to relax your mind, as some stages really become tedious to get through, or rely on breaking the concept of using the environment by forcing you to respawn at the last check point to continue. If you love problem solving and the option to have various solutions, then grab the Storm demo and give this unique little title a try.

Overall Score: 7.5/10
Storm
Storm
Digital review copy of this title provided by IndiePub Games.