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Storm Boy | PAX AUS 2018 Preview

by Dylan Blight

Storm Boy, based on the classic novel by Colin Thiele, is being brought to life in video game form from Blowfish Studios later in November. However, I had the chance to check it out early as the game was on show at PAX Australia 2018.

The story is about the ‘storm boy’ who lives a reclusive beach life in South Australia and his friendship with a pelican that he rescues and names Mr Percivill. How much are Blowfish Studios changing the story? I don’t know and the demo available at PAX really gave you no idea how the story would play out, or how long it would take to play through.

I played the demo on a Nintendo Switch and it let you explore the beach somewhat and try out a handful of mini-games with Mr Percivill, all of which amused me for a short period of time.

You could hop onto a small craft and make your way out to sea to dive into the water below, although I found nothing I could collect or interact with below. It was beautiful though and the art-style is paper-crafty but the colours and wonder below the clear blue ocean looked great on the Switch screen in my hands.

The next two mini-games were a lot simpler. Picking up a stick you could draw whatever you wanted into the sand, so I simply wrote ‘hello, hi!’ Unsurprisingly I later heard about dicks and boobs being drawn — because of course. The following mini-game amused me the most for some reason — a simple game of fetch with Mr Percivill but I found his animation to be rather funny (not in a bad way) so I just kept throwing the ball around for 2-minutes and getting a laugh.

Blowfish has previously announced other mini-games like being able to fly Mr Percivill around in the sky, but I didn’t see those, or they weren’t accessible in the demo.

Although the demo left me feeling like the game will hit a relaxing tone and be enjoyable for all ages, I would have liked to see some more heavy story content so I understood how the whole thing will be coming together, but at least I don’t have long to wait before I’ll find out.

My quick tidbit I found out while at PAX this year is that not everyone had to watch the 1976 film based on the Thiele novel called Storm Boy during school, which might have explained why my excitement for the story being brought to video game form wasn’t being reciprocated around the Explosion Network.