Storm Boy bills itself as an interactive retelling of a classic Australian children’s novel, however that may be a bit of a stretch. While there is some very, very basic interaction here, the majority of the fifteen minute run-time sees you holding right on the D-Pad and reading excerpts from the novel that flash up on-screen as you move.
The story is quite sweet (from what I gather, the novel is somewhat well-known down under), a tale of a child developing friendships with some pelicans he recused as babies, wit one in particular becoming a close friend for the journey. While I haven’t read the source material, the story feels as though there are big gaps throughout, reading more like cliff-notes of the book.
Each scene is about a minute long, and within are one or two ‘playable’ sequences. All can be left almost immediately to continue the story, and as such are so throwaway and quiet frankly dull, that there is no reason to stick with them for more than a few seconds. One early example has you digging for cockles on a beach; simply aim roughly at the bubbles on the sand and mash A to dig it up.
This is proceeded with a message that one hundred is enough for anybody, but by the time I’d reached twenty, I’d had enough. No further story seemed to be forthcoming, and there was zero fun or interest in playing this sequence. Later efforts are just as lackluster too, though these clearly are not the focus of the experience.
I think these are intended as tone pieces, meant to help you develop a sense of the world; if they tied into the story in a more meaningful way, I could see their inclusion being justified, but most are random encounters that serve zero purpose. And that’s that. Once complete, you can look back over the different sequences in any order, or simply play again, but with such a short run-time and nary any actual gameplay, you’d be hard pressed to find the will to do so.
Calling Storm Boy interactive, while technically true, is a massive stretch here, almost as if it needed that definition to be allowed on the store. If you are in the market for a new tale to share with your little ones, you’d be better served picking up a copy of the book. The soundtrack is pleasant, the visuals have a charm to them, and the truncated story is sweet, but it’s all over in the blink of an eye.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.