Storm Boy: The Game is based on a children’s book that’s widely known in Australia but which has a story that’s going to be relatively new to people not born and raised there. Now out on nearly every system out there, from consoles to PC and even an Android version, we tested the game on a Playstation 4.
The original novella by Colin Thiele is from 1960, and revolves about Storm Boy and his injured bird friend Mr. Pelican, as well as his father – dubbed Mr. Hide-Away. Aimed at children, it’s a part of Australian culture that’s deeply ingrained in its literary culture – and this is the digital recreation of that story, developed by Blowfish Studios.
When you combine the facts that Storm Boy’s a novella and it’s coming out on mobile devices as well, it comes as no big surprise that this is a game that’s low on traditional gameplay and controls. Much of the game unfolds as a visual novel type retelling of the story, intermixed with short interactive parts. Everything’s easy to control, and although the PS4 version lacks a touch screen interface the experience translates well to simple gamepad controls.
This is important, because Storm Boy’s target audience is definitely the younger crowd – kids who aren’t able to sit through a 16 hour action adventure or have the skills to grasp complex control schemes. Kids who enjoy great little stories, and want to engage with them in an inactive manner. For this audience, Storm Boy: The Game is a complete success. Blowfish Studios makes the story come alive with a striking art style, wonderfully animated characters and subtle music.
The interactive parts of the game are all very casual in terms of the challenge and time pressure they present, which again fits great with younger gamers. The adventure that Storm Boy experiences is over in a flash though, as a playthrough won’t take you more than 30 minutes and some gamers could probably shave 10 minutes off that time if they wanted to – although you’re missing the point if you’re speedracing this one.
How short the game is, is probably its biggest drawback. This only really applies to older gamers though, who won’t be getting the most enjoyment out of Storm Boy to begin with. This is a game that’s aimed at younger gamers, who will gladly play and replay a game, cartoon or story over and over again. When you consider them, the budget asking price for Storm Boy (only 6 USD or EUR) only represents incredible value for money, making it easy to forget how short the game is.
With its sweet, emotional story and its lovingly crafted audiovisual presentation, Storm Boy: The Game is a great game to own for families with young kids. It’s very short, but if you enjoy the story then you’ll be glad to know that a full length feature film is coming out in just a few weeks as well. Until then, this is something heartwarming for kids to enjoy.