There's an Achievement in Storm called 'Contemplation', which you get by doing nothing for 30 seconds. 'Lethargy' would be much more fitting a title. indiePub's latest is a gentle, painterly puzzler that will see out an evening or two, but it's just a little bit too gentle for its own good - and a little too willing to hang its claim to fame on some attractive but twee aesthetics.
The game casts you as a poor man's Mother Nature, and the idea is to buffet seeds across simple 2D environments to planting sites using various elemental powers (botanist's insight: in the real world, seeds have to make do with any old stretch of earth - apparently, the ones in videogames are over-entitled slackers). Seeds are also your means of gathering said powers, which are mapped to the face buttons and take a few seconds to recharge between uses.
The starting power is wind, which shakes seeds from branches and propels them over dry land. Water buoys objects up, allowing you to create floating log bridges, while lightning shatters rock formations and blasts seeds into the air. The game's sophistication lies with power combinations: seeds can be carried aloft in bubbles by filling sinkholes with water, for instance, then blown around with wind. Alas, the execution isn't as slick as it could be - it's occasionally hard to call the timing on the wind power, thanks partly to the artful fluffiness of the visual effects, and the slight imprecision of the object physics makes success a bit random.
Throughout it all, a droning, pseudo-mystical score bores you with its eagerness to compliment some moody picturesque backdrops, which are subject to dramatic lighting shifts depending on the power in play. Unlike, say, the beautiful Dust: An Elysian Tail, Storm comes across as rather dry and personality-less despite its obvious craftsmanship. The overall impression is positive, but you'd be hard-pressed to think of a highlight.
With around 50 levels to chew on, the game is substantial but no banquet, and the later levels don't really build on their predecessors in any mind-blowing ways. It's a welcome break from the frenzy elsewhere on Xbox Live, but it never threatens to become a fixture.
Buy Storm here for 800 MP.
Marginally more fun than Center Parcs
- Countrified visuals
- Solid puzzling thrills
- Lacks bite as a puzzler
- Art direction gets sickly