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Game Review #138: Storm Boy: The Game (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: John B.

Developed By: Blowfish Studios Published By: Level 77 Category: Adventure, Other Release Date: 11.20.18

Price (at time of review): $5.99



Buy Storm Boy: The Game from the Nintendo eShop here.

I was playing Red Dead Redemption 2 the other day, trying to fill in the compendium. I’m missing a few birds, namely a pelican, so I was going to hunt one later in the day but first I had a new game to review. That game was Storm Boy: The Game for the Nintendo Switch, an adaptation of the children’s novel of the same name by Colin Thiele. It tells the story of Storm Boy and his beloved pet pelican. Now I don’t think I can bear to ever complete RDR2’s compendium because of it.



A Boy and His Pelican

I don’t think Storm Boy adapts the full story of the novel; I made my way through everything the game had to offer in less than half an hour, honestly. So it’s not a big time commitment. The gist of the story is this; Storm Boy and his father Hide-Away Tom (love these names, BTW) have moved close to the beach. One day while wandering unattended in the sand, Storm Boy finds three pelican chicks whose mother has been shot. He takes them home and nurtures them to adulthood. One day Hide-Away Tom tells his son that it’s time for the Pelicans to return to the wild. Storm Boy is sad to see his friends go, but he understands that his dad is right. A few days later, though, Mr. Percival (who was Storm Boy’s favorite) returns, and the pelican and the child become the best of friends.


Storm Boy and Mr. Percival spend the days playing in the sand and in the water. They rescue a ship that crashes on the rocks when Mr. Percival brings a rope out to the sailors during a storm. One hunting season, Mr. Percival decides he’s had enough of hunters shooting ducks. He begins to circle around the hunters’ hiding spots, warning the ducks to stay away. Finally, one hunter just up and shoots Mr. Percival for interfering. If this was RDR2, that man would have paid for his crimes with his life. Since Storm Boy is a children’s story, we have to settle for Hide-Away Tom explaining that some people are stupid and cruel. Don’t shoot pelicans, folks. They may be some kid’s only friend. For all its brevity and all the things from the novel I am sure the game left out while telling its story, I can see why Storm Boy has become a classic in its native Australia.



Minigames Aplenty

For the most part, Storm Boy’s gameplay consists of walking to the right while reading the text that pops up. Every few steps, though, you can initiate a minigame. There aren’t any points to accumulate and whether or not you even play the minigames doesn’t affect the story; they’re just some gentle activities to play around with. You can collect cockles, draw in the sand with a stick, sail a raft, explore under the water, surf on the sand, or play fetch with Mr. Percival. Like I said, the minigames have no objectives and offer no reward other than interactivity, but there was something strangely relaxing about many of them. With the exception of Mr. Percival’s murder, this is a great game to play with younger kids.


Sights and Sounds of the Coast

There isn’t anything technically impressive about Storm Boy’s graphics. It’s a decent-enough looking game, however. Its colorful, gentle art style is reminiscent of a children’s book. Some of the locales, specifically the underwater portions, are full of detail and color and look pretty amazing despite the simplistic graphical style. The music is soft and ponderous, mostly featuring minimalist piano tracks that perfectly encapsulate the bittersweet emotions of a childhood friendship doomed to tragedy.



RIP, Mr. Percival

Storm Boy features a timeless story of a boy and his rescue pelican. The gameplay is incredibly simple, but some of the minigames are engaging and relaxing despite the lack of depth. Playing catch and going swimming with Mr. Percival even does some minor work to build a little more emotional resonance between the player and the characters. The art direction is solid, if unspectacular, but the game’s length is so short it’s not like any flaw has sufficient time to stand out enough to be worth mentioning. I did find some enjoyment in Storm Boy, but I do feel that the game experience would be more special if shared with a younger child or if I had a prior attachment to the source material. Overall, though, as a game there just isn’t enough here to be fully satisfying.


Score: 6/10


Buy Storm Boy: The Game from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Stride PR

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