Storm (XBLA) Review

storm
What we liked:
+ Soothing puzzle gameplay
+ Unique mechanic
What we didn't like:
- Later levels are cumbersome
- Leaderboards are barren
Good
DEVELOPER: IndiePub   |   PUBLISHER: Namco Bandai Games   |   RELEASE: 06/14/2013

Review
If you solve a puzzle in the forest…

Crafting an interesting puzzle game is always a challenge. How can one craft something that is both original, and engaging at the same time? Developer IndiePub is hoping their latest game, Storm, will answer that question. Unlike other titles in the genre, Storm offers up a new take on the traditional puzzle gameplay.

The premise behind Storm is simple. Trees produce seeds, which I had to somehow transfer to fertile ground. Each level offers up a series of elements to move said seed such as wind, rain and lightning. Every element has its own unique mechanic, and the levels offer up a set amount of each that players can use before recharging. It all comes together nicely in the beginning.

Directing the seed with wind is the simplest mechanic. Holding down the A button as well as a direction let me choose which way to push the seed. Rain adds new dynamics by adding current and flow if more than one storm is produced. Combining these elements is what creates the challenge, though I never felt stuck on any one level. There are no time limits in the core game, meaning I was free to take my time and figure out the solution.

In addition to the main game mode, there are also timed and free roam modes that post to leaderboards. Sadly, taking a snapshot of said leaderboards showcases how few people are actually playing the game.

Elements are the key to Storm, and the further I got into the game, the more I appreciated its subtleties. Unfortunately, once larger elements are introduced, things become more cumbersome than I would have preferred. Controlling tornadoes is a chore. The later seasons in the experience really drag down an otherwise superb beginning. Still with nearly 50 levels to complete, the amount of content that isn’t frustrating is more than worth the price of admission.

Storm is a unique game in a tired genre. I enjoyed the soothing presentation and laid back approach to the genre. For those that enjoy unique puzzle games I recommend at least giving the demo a whirl. I really enjoyed the complex design towards the end, even if some of the elements were hard to deal with. Storm is a soothing puzzle game that teases the brain just enough without getting frustrating, and that is a win in my book.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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