Storm preview

The miracle of life doesn’t happen easily. Even the most promising seed must find fertile soil in order to grow into a tree. Of course, seeds can’t move on their own. They’re just little things with no legs, after all. They need some help to get where they need to go.

In upcoming indie puzzle game Storm, spring has sprung. It’s sunny and warm, and there’s fertile ground aplenty for the little guys to take hold in and grow up to their potential. It’s your job to make sure that happens.

No, it’s not as easy as picking up the seed, digging a hole, and dropping it in before watering it occasionally. That wouldn’t be much of a challenge, would it? No, you’ll have to take advantage of the elements to send embryonic plants on their pilgrimages from their native trees to their new home. Water, wind, and lightning are your tools, craggy and dangerous terrain your workshop.

The first power you get is the ability to control the wind. A simple flick of the mouse (or Move controller or 360 controller, if you’re so inclined) sends a gust of wind, pushing the desired seed across the landscape. Wind is for the simplest of actions, like rolling a seed up a hill or pushing it off a cliff to its final destination. There’s a need to be careful, however, as dropping a seed from too high will result in a crushing defeat.

For those times when a pit is unavoidable, you’ve got lightning up your sleeve. Get the seed rolling, and zap it at just the right time to pop it up over the pit. It’s also great for that extra push over the peak of a hill if blowing with all your might isn’t exactly cutting it.

Lightning does have its destructive side, as well. Notice a pesky stone wall that’s blocking your path looks a little flimsy? A couple lightning zaps and it comes right down, not only opening up the path, but probably building a nice little ramp for the little round guy to roll on up.

Once the seasons have progressed into fall or summer, you’ll have to be careful, though. Lightning can catch the dry grass on fire, potentially putting your fragile seed in danger. That’s when the rain tool comes in. A click puts those fires right out, and sends water rolling downhill, flooding anything downhill and filling up the nooks and crannies of the environment. If a log happens to be sitting at the bottom of a pool, it’ll float to the top, making a nice bridge for a rolling seed to scoot across.

It’s all about figuring out the right combination of these three elements to make sure life goes on. Call it the circle of life, call it intelligent design, call it whatever you want, it’s still an intriguing, stylish little puzzler.

Sep 29, 2011

Taylor Cocke is a Los Angeles-based writer and producer who spends too much time watching numbers go up in MMOs and ARPGs. You name it, he's written and/or produced for them, which is shocking considering the aforementioned MMO playing.