Based on Colin Thiele’s 1964 children’s book of the same name, Storm Boy takes place on the beaches of South Australia near the mouth of the Murray River, where the titular protagonist rescues orphaned pelican chicks, one of whom later becomes the child’s pet and faithful companion, Mr. Percival.
Bedtime can be a bit self-indulgent as a parent. When it comes to choosing a book for the nightly read, I often find myself picking my own favourites, rather than what the child might want. Whereas my 5 year old could more enjoy a Spiderman or Batman book, I’ll often choose something a bit more traditional; Where the Wild Things Are, or The Gruffalo for example. Nestled amongst these classic children tales you’d find beloved Australian story Storm Boy. Which, as fate would have it, is now a beautifully drawn video game. This has afforded me an opportunity for multi-tasking: 1) Play games to review for GamEir, and 2) Sit down with the boy and read classic children’s tales. Thank you Blowfish Studios!
Storm boy was released last week on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. So every platform then. The price point at time of writing is €4.99.
The game will see you take control of the main character, Storm Boy, as he’s known. A point here, it’s more accurate to describe Storm Boy as an interactive story, than a traditional video game. Don’t expect platform elements or even a fail state here, we’re purely being led through the narrative, gently controlling Storm Boy as he walks, runs, slides and swims along the South Australian coastline. Storm Boy was clearly a labour of love for the developer. Each character is attentively detailed, with the scenery being beautifully drawn. A standout scene sees Storm Boy trudging sullenly away from his father, head down, as the sun sets behind, with white tipped waves lapping gently on the shore. Sorrowful, and wonderful at the same time.
Characters in the game are at a minimum. There’s Mick, aka Storm Boy, Tom, aka Hideaway Tom, and a local Aboriginal, known as Fingerbone. There are also the 3 pelicans which we come across early in the story. They are Mr. Proud, Mr. Ponder, and Mr. Percival, of whom Mr. Percival is the only one that stays with Storm Boy. Set in a wildlife reserve on the Australian coast, Hideaway Tom and Strom Boy are reclusive characters. Tom has abandoned society since Storm Boys mother passed away, and Storm Boy is his own best friend. That is, of course, until Mr. Percival decides to stay with him. The pair form a deep bond, and this is played out in game. We get to play various mini-games with the pair, with the audience/player becoming as attached to them as they are to each other.
It’s not all whimsy and frolics, however. Drama ensues when a small boat crashes on rocks nearby, and a chance for some pelican heroism is played out nicely. You read that right, pelican heroism. There is also, of course, the stories ending. A moment definitely left unspoiled…
The Pelican Brief
Storm Boy is over nearly as quickly as it began. It’s a tale that best absorbed at a very slow pace. Take your time with each mini-game, walk softly through the sands, and cherish each day with Mr. Percival and co. Even at a leisurely pace, Storm Boy will take you no less than an hour to complete. It’s a game experience that’s best shared with the young ones in your life. Under 8’s would make the best audience, or grown-ups, with fond memories of the Colin Thiele book. Compounded to the games well-delivered narrative, the musical score is a delight; light and airy with the games fun sections, then switching softly to more despondent tones when the narrative shifts. It’s genuinely captivating and deserves special mention.
Storm Boy is out now, on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.