Gameplay is divided into four seasons – spring, summer, autumn, and winter – with each of the 49 levels comprising one day in a season. Each season presents players with new challenges and gameplay mechanics, like dry grass that can be set on fire in summer and freezing seeds in winter. The varying seasons keeps things fresh, and I would complete a season just as I was starting to tire of its particular gimmick.
The physics are Storm’s driving force, and they work well for the most part. Wind blows the seed in different directions, rain floats the seed and creates currents, and lightning bounces the seed and can destroy rocks and logs. These elements can sometimes be imprecise though, and led to some frustration when water wouldn’t flow the direction I wanted it to or a boulder bounced the wrong way and blocked my progress. I had to accept that I was simply guiding my seed rather than controlling it, but giving up that control might be difficult for some gamers.
Other times, I’d beat levels by barely bouncing my seed over an obstacle, and I wasn’t sure if I had beaten the level the ‘right’ way, or just manipulated my way through it instead. Maybe that’s part of the beauty of Storm, accepting the flow of nature instead of needing to control everything directly, but when you’re as obsessive-compulsive about puzzles as I am, it can be frustrating to not know if you actually solved the puzzle.
Storm also offers an additional Spirits mode where your seed must collect spirits throughout each level, thus requiring you to stretch above and beyond the level’s main path. It’s a nice challenge that adds a bit of replay, but if you’ve already invested the time to beat the main game, collecting spirits doesn’t offer a ton of incentive to replay every level again.
I enjoyed Storm, and the soft art style and mellow music are a nice backdrop to relax to. It’s not a puzzler I’ll be going back to months down the road, but if you’re looking for a change of pace to fill 10 hours of your time, Storm is definitely worth a look.
Storm Xbox Live Arcade Review/ Eko Software, June 14, 2013
(This game was reviewed with a download code provided by the publisher)
(Cameron Gidari is a freelance writer and the author of Manhattan Before8 and Seattle Before8. Follow him on Twitter at @CGidari)