Based on Colin Thiele’s 1964 children’s book of the same name, Storm Boy ventures onto Nintendo Switch, PS4 and every other gaming device you can think of this week. It’s a bold move, as some gamers were likely not around when the original story came out. That being said, the premise of the game exploring the relationship between a boy and his pet pelican is certainly intriguing enough for those of all ages to dive into.
Storm Boy is not necessarily a game in the traditional sense. The developers themselves bill it as an interactive retelling of Colin Thiele’s book, and the experience is akin to reading a book. As the gamer you’re never tested, with the game consisting of mild relaxing mini-games that accompany you on your tale of friendship, but the story takes centre stage first. Set on the beaches of South Australia, one day Storm Boy rescues 3 orphaned pelican chicks. One of them ends up becoming a close companion, called Mr Percival. The relationship builds between the two and you help them to take part in various activities, ranging from feeding the pelicans with fish, drawing in the sand, playing fetch, swimming and so on. The game gives you a choice with these too. You want to skip some? No problem. Only a couple are needed to progress, including the only mildly challenging thing in the whole game, which is when you aim to save some stranded sailors. You’re not supposed to be challenged however, as Storm Boy is more a contemplative experience.
The whole thing is lovely; the music, the story and the art all click beautifully. It’s put together really well, and it packs a surprisingly emotional punch too. The only problem is the game is really, really short. I’m not exaggerating, Storm Boy is around 15 minutes long. If you skip some of the mini-games you’ll be under 10 minutes. Because of this, it makes the asking price of £5.39 questionable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really enjoyable, truly lovely 15 minutes. But it’s up to you to decide whether £5 for 15 minutes is worth it. But in the game’s defence, a lot of us would happily throw down £4 on some fancy Starbucks Latte and not think twice. So maybe that money would be better used on an experience such as Storm Boy. It made me feel warm, fuzzy and reflective on life which it has to be said, is not bad going for 15 minutes.
Although I played this on Nintendo Switch, I’d probably recommend playing this on PS4 for the added incentive of trophies. It looks a very simple list, with a load of gold trophies to boot and even a Platinum trophy. This will increase your game time as well, so more bang for your buck. Regardless of whatever reason you choose to play it, Storm Boy is certainly worth your consideration. I really did love it, I just desperately wish it was longer.
Skip the Latte for a day and spend some time at the beach with Mr Percival, because Storm Boy is the definition of short and sweet.
Punk rating: 7/10