Watch our review of this unusual action adventure game…
Check out our review of Stonefly. A brand new action adventure game set in world where you’re the size of bugs, it promises an interesting premise, gorgeous visuals and unique gameplay.
Watch above to find out if it lives up to the hype.
Hey how’s it going guys! This is Tom from UDS and welcome to our review of Stonefly, a brand new action adventure game from developers Flight School Studio. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, and don’t forget to subscribe for more on all things gaming every single week. You’re not going to want to miss it…
I love a good offbeat game. Whether it succeeds or not, it’s just nice to experience something trying to break the mould, rather than sticking to the usual formula. We’ve already seen some fantastic titles do just that in 2021, such as Loop Hero and my personal game of the year so far, Genesis Noir.
And it looks like the trend of unusual games continues with the release of Stonefly. You play as Annika Stonefly, a young inventor living on a planet in which the population is positively tiny, and must co-exist among the foliage with an assortment of creepy crawlies.
After your father’s bug-like mech goes missing, you stumble across the Acorn Corps, a group who set you up with your own, shall we say, less impressive mech as you go on a quest to recover your father’s lost property.
But does this interesting premise make for a good game? Watch on to find out…
I couldn’t start anywhere other than the art style, which is simply gorgeous. Taking inspiration from mid-century modern design, it’s dripping with colour, personality and life. The use of cell-shading gives it a timeless quality, balancing innovation with a comforting familiarity. The shifting camera perspectives allow you to enjoy everything from different angles too, from the wide shots of the lush, hand drawn backgrounds to the finer details at eye level.
I especially love the design of the mechs, or Rigs as they’re called here. Heavily influenced by the likes of Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion, they blend artificial and natural aesthetics perfectly, and I really hope they release physical models of them at some point. I need one on my shelf.
As for gameplay, it’s more than a match for the visuals. In the most top level sense, your time will be spent between tackling story missions, exploring new locations in search of resources to upgrade your Rig, and taking on timed challenges.
There’s a real emphasis on non-linear exploration. Although it’s not strictly an open world game, it definitely has the sandbox elements needed to give it a welcome RPG flavour, where you can forge your own path at your own rate. As you become more powerful, previously explored areas will uncover new secrets and things to take advantage of. It’s a really cool way of making the most out of each stage, giving everything a sense of purpose and depth.
Although the world building, puzzle solving and exploration will take up the bulk of your time in Stonefly, there is an element of combat too. You’ll need to clear out bugs and other beasties who are competing for your resources. However this is done through non lethal, largely non aggressive means, such as blowing them out of your way. This is so refreshing, and really augments the serene, relaxing tone of the game. These things aren’t your enemies, you’re just co-existing in this fascinating world.
There’s also very little in the way of tutorials beyond teaching the key mechanics, something that I personally really liked. The lack of hand holding means you uncover the secret mechanics of the world organically. Finding out how the environment and the creatures that inhabit it not only react to you, but to each other, is one of the most enjoyable things about Stonefly. It’s the same reason why Breath of the Wild is probably my favourite game of all time; it’s always better to be shown, not told.
The narrative itself might be the most superfluous part of the experience for me, but even then it’s not bad. Ostensibly, it’s a coming of age story as Annika discovers herself, spreading her wings as she searches for her father’s Rig. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before in countless Disney movies, but it’s still very charming.
But overall, Stonefly is an absolute delight. It’s quirky, heartfelt and absorbing from beginning to end. Overall it takes about 10 hours to complete, which I think is the perfect length to develop things without getting bloated, and with it being available on all major platforms, there’s no excuse not to check it out.
But what I want to know is – have you had a chance to play it yet? Are you looking forward to checking it out? Please let me know in the comments below, I would genuinely love to read your thoughts. And while you’re there don’t forget to subscribe for more videos on games new and old every single week. My name is Tom, we’ve been UDS and I’ll see you next time.