previews\ Feb 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm



EKO Software is a company few of us in gaming know much about. Some of their biggest titles include games based upon characters like Garfield and Woody Woodpecker—not exactly the most exciting pedigree. However, every game is a new opportunity to shine, and for the French company, Storm could be a good step to mainstream redemption.

Storm is a physics-based puzzle game arriving later this year for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Tasking players with guiding a seed from one part of a stage to the other, the premise itself is simple. However, like many puzzle titles, rules that start out simple quickly become complex.

Players move a cursor around the different stages, which are divided into the four seasons. A seed grows from a small tree in one part of the stage, and players need to use rain water, lightening and wind to help it flourish. Rain will put out fire and transport the seed over obstacles, wind will blow objects aside, and lightening will destroy objects and can also start a fire.

Basic actions, such as filling a hole with water so the seed can slide out, become much more complicated once water turns into ice and snow or bubbles form, lifting the seed up. The seeds themselves range from dense and heavy to brittle, meaning their own physics will affect how they move. Each season offers unique challenges, with 49 stages total.

Storm is designed to be a zen-game. While it can become difficult, players are encouraged to unwind with the game, much like The Undergarden or Flower. For those wanting a challenge, any complete level can be replayed in Challenge Mode for speed runs or Spirit Mode, which requires players to collect orbs scattered in different locations around a level. Both of these modes support leaderboards, as well.

Storm has a little way to go yet. Some of the stages seem like they need a bit of fine-tuning, and the Move support is still being checked for kinks. However, those hoping for a relaxing game can rest easy with Storm.

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