It’s not easy to develop a puzzle game that works well on consoles. In fact, there was a time where puzzle games were seen as having relatively little appeal outside of the PC market. Fortunately, the success of games like flOw, Flower, and Braid on consoles has completely debunked that theory. Storm, developed by EKO Software and published by indiePub, was expected by many to be something resembling a fusion of the latter two titles. Unfortunately, the great concept behind this game is sometimes hindered by poor execution.
For example, striking a patch of dry brush with lightning will cause it to catch fire. You can then use wind to spread the fire to other parts of the environment to clear obstacles. Similarly, creating a rainstorm over an air vent will produce bubbles that can be used to help your seed float to a new destination. Later, you can even create a tornado with the use of wind that will allow you to carry and toss the seed to higher platforms.
That’s why it’s so terribly frustrating that several levels in the game rely not on your problem solving abilities, but on what can only be called luck. Many times I found myself armed with the knowledge of how to complete a level, but hindered by the seed getting stuck on some unseen element of the scenery. That’s fine the first few times; you can reset the seed to its last tree “checkpoint” and try again. But after a dozen tries falling prey to the same random hiccups, I can’t help but think the problem lies with the game and not with me.
These added frustrations are in direct contrast to Storm’s relatively relaxing environments. Although it’s obvious that this isn’t a AAA title, the graphics and soundtrack work together to create a setting that is beautiful and atmospheric, and the sound effects for the weather elements are excellent. There’s even some replay value here; Free Mode is a time trial that lets you compete against yourself and others, and Spirit Mode adds collectable spirits to each level that you must collect within a given time limit.