Storm (PSN [Reviewed], XBLA, PC)
Developer: EKO Software
Released: June 18, 2013
ESRB Rating: E – Everyone
* A copy of this game was provided for review.
Storm has been a most curious game. I first posted the trailers for the game two years ago when it was coming to PSN, and then it did hit PSN. But for some reason the game was pulled from the store without a reason. The game finally released in mid-June for PSN and XBLA. So what is Storm? Well, it is a “physics” based weather puzzle game.
Your goal in Storm is simple: use the elements to get a seed off a tree and into fertile ground to grow a new tree. The levels are played out over four seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter) each consisting of 12 days. Your progress depends on using different elements, and a combination of the elements, such as wind, rain, lightening, and so on.
Again, the goal is simple, but achieving it can be frustrating and depend a lot on luck. There’s no penalty for failing, but if you’re anything like me when playing this game you are going to have to constantly start a level over because the mechanics seem more luck driven than skill based. Sometimes my wind just wouldn’t blow a rain bubble, sometimes it would. Combining elements can be even trickier, and when you get to the parts where you have to use lightening to destroy parts of the environment and then have to timing on top of luck to make a jump somewhere it can get even more frustrating.
That’s not to say the game is bad, because it is actually kind of fun and challenging for a puzzle game. I have largely enjoyed my time spent playing the game, but it has just been such a slow go for me personally because a game that looks calming and zen-like is one I simply refuse to play once frustration starts setting in. And it has set in a lot for me.
It’s not because the puzzles are hard, because they really aren’t that bad. The frustration doesn’t come from wondering how the hell you’re supposed to get that seed over there, but more like “why the hell won’t it make that jump.” And jumping is caused by hitting the seed with lightening; I don’t really understand the logic in that but it has definitely been the most frustration inducing element to use for me.
I still haven’t completed the game; and I don’t like to review games without having beaten them first. However, this one is going to take a while, and not because it’s long (there’s like 48/49 levels), and if I get frustrated with it then I’m pretty sure some others will too. It will happen, eventually, but this game is fun in short bursts.
If you have $10 to spend on a video game, you can certainly do worse than Storm. But you could also do a lot better for the same price. I’d recommend waiting until this one inevitably gets a PSN/PS+ sale sometime down the road.