“STORMWORKS is the game where you design and pilot your own sea-rescue service, in a rich and dramatic physics playground.”
“Steer or fly your custom-designed, block based, programmable vehicles into fierce oceanic storms. Plan and execute thrilling rescues in a variety of challenging crisis scenarios.”
That’s how the devs describe this game and they have got it bang on! When I was asked to review the game, I was really quite giddy. I love survival games such as Minecraft and Ark and the building aspect is what I really enjoy so this game definitely got my attention.
When the game starts you are met with rather epic music that could have been taken from films like The Perfect Storm and this gets you right in the mood for saving some mortal souls from the briny abyss. The menu system is clean and easy to use and offers you the usual options for changing graphics settings, loading a game or starting a new game. No option yet to change key bindings but I don’t see that as a big deal.
When starting a game, you can choose either career mode or creative. Creative gives you unlimited funds and access to all the different blocks, parts and logic circuits. Career starts you off with a basic boat, a small amount of cash and basic building blocks and parts to build with. Whichever game mode you choose a short tutorial will guide you through the basics which are very important because this game can get complicated.
I have been playing this game for a week now and I love it! I haven’t wanted to play anything else and even when I can’t play it I’m thinking about how I can make my boat better! I’ve been concentrating on boats, to begin with, because there is a pretty steep learning curve to the control systems and logic circuits available.
Anyone that has played scrap mechanic will probably take to this like a duck to water, excuse the pun. The connection system for the engines, props, buttons, logic circuits etc. seems to be the same although I’ve only ever watched scrap mechanic on YouTube and not actually played it. The tutorial shows you how everything connects in a way that helps you understand the process and also when you click on a part to connect it to another, only the parts it can be connected to are highlighted. This is great because in a short space of time you find yourself adding more and more parts to your vessels such as lights and winches and robotic pivots and more stuff and things to make it the best it can be.
The missions seem to be quite varied in what you need to do to succeed and sometimes early on you are not able to do certain missions as they may require a helicopter or a vessel with enough power to tow an oil tanker. With ten grand in the bank and a 10ft long boat with a single engine, there is a limit to what you can achieve. All missions have different time limits allowing you to switch between them as necessary so you can be transporting inspectors to an oil rig and on the way you can stop a runaway speedboat and return it to its owner.
The building aspect of this game is where it really impressed me. The building blocks are basic but allow you to create pretty much any shaped vessel you desire. You need to make sure there are no gaps or holes in your hull or it will sink and the centre of gravity is vital in making sure your vehicle handles correctly. The number of different parts is extensive allowing you to recreate existing vehicles you know and love. Anything you make can be uploaded to the steam workshop so others can download and use them, even in career mode, but if you haven’t unlocked all the parts you will be notified of what’s missing.
Some of the vehicles in the steam workshop are very impressive and must have taken a long time to create. I found that the smallest of changes to where the weight is and where the propellers and rudders are can make a huge difference to how the vessel handles. As for aircraft, I haven’t had a great deal of time to play around with them but the helicopter you get with one of the islands you can purchase seems to behave the way I would expect and the auto hover is certainly useful if not essential.
The graphics are basic but due to the fact you build your own vessels, I guess it has to be. Personally, I think the graphics are fine as I’m more interested in gameplay than pretty flowers and coming from a Minecraft background it’s still a step up! Light is an issue in the game and well it should be. It’s a sea rescue game and when did you ever hear of a ship getting into bother when it’s all sunny and nice!
When all is said and done I think this game has masses of potential and the devs really seem to be taking an interest in what the community has to say. They have included buttons so you can easily report bugs and make suggestions which show they care. I do wish there was better optimization so I could play on my laptop as well as my gaming rig because the game kept crashing when saving or loading probably due to lack of a dedicated graphics card. On the gaming rig there were no problems at all and having all the settings on ultra made it look loads better. According to a video I watched on YouTube the devs are planning on adding multiplayer which I think is a fantastic idea so you can pilot a vessel while your mate can dangle on the winch and do the rescuing!
I am really looking forward to the development of this little gem and I would urge anyone to get onboard with the free open beta even if it’s not the type of game you usually play because I’m pretty sure it will get you hooked!
Overall Score – 10/10
even at this early stage I can only see it getting better! Well done Sunfire Software Limited