Stormland Early Access review (v0.8) — Stuck on the island.

You wake up to discover yourself on a raft, floating through the ocean. Talking to your compatriots, you find out that your ship sank during the night, your fellow sailors pulling you out of your bunk and onto the makeshift raft in the nick of time. As you arrive on a small island, you realize you need to collect resources to survive here, but there are only so many hours you can work and so many tasks to do.

Stormland huh
Welcome to the island

That is the basis of Stormland, a turn-based game set on a small island where you must control your survivors, juggling the hours of work they can do with the tasks at hand. Picking some branches up off the ground may only take an hour, but building a shelter takes several, even when splitting those hours between the group. There isn’t much to unlock technologically, though just the simple act of collecting enough food to survive and build some basic tools like axes will leave you struggling.

Stormland is fairly simple, barring its special mechanic: spend your days collecting resources; growing food and creating tools to better collect resources; and try to build a better base. The hours mechanic takes the pressure off trying to min-max your reactions to survive, instead letting you take your time and decide whether to spend your last hour picking up branches or planting tomatoes (wow, that sounds ominous).

Once you have your base started off, you unlock more buildings and recipes, like bigger houses, better farming equipment and even the ability to smelt ores and start your metallurgic journey. After building up your base, you need to be able to survive on a small island in the middle of a big ocean. Your choices are fairly limited, with only fish on all sides and a few species of fruit and veggies in the… not sides (center? Geometry is weird).

Stormland View
Campfire burning, kum by yah!

Stormland has a focus on making a ‘living world’ in that the island your poor ex-sailors drift to is not static, but surprisingly fluid. Trees grow over time, then slowly collapse back down. If you don’t pick the berries from a blackberry bush quick enough, they’ll fall off and you’ll just be left with an empty bush. Decomposing plant matter will help nearby plants grow quicker, and I’m pretty sure I saw a tree spreading itself through some seeds at one point.

Stormland is very early on in development, but it has a very hopeful future ahead of it. Currently slated ideas included natural disasters, more metals and tools, higher-level buildings and procedural maps and worlds. Also apparently incoming in the future are a tutorial (which would be very helpful) and a campaign, which would be interesting to see.

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