Home Lates A comprehensive analysis of Stonefly – experiencing the ups and downs of a bug’s existence

A comprehensive analysis of Stonefly – experiencing the ups and downs of a bug’s existence

A comprehensive analysis of Stonefly – experiencing the ups and downs of a bug’s existence

A snowfall blew in up where the trees were ice. All of a sudden, everything was white. I was walking around completely disoriented when I came across a man wearing furs who volunteered to help me find my way. Together, we strolled, me following his sporadic instructions as the wind pulled at us. The storm provided us a little window of time during which we had to find a way through the rolling darkness.

Moments like this are when Flight School shines. There are times when I’m reminded that this little crew quietly creates games that are unmatched. Pinball, sparking electricity, end-of-the-world posthumanism, and, yes, a monster in the well were all combined in monster in the yes. It was striking and unforgettable. Although Stonefly resembles sumo and acts as a type of upgrade and collectathon, it’s really much more than that. On a microcosmic level, it’s a mech game. The mechs you control and gradually enhance are insects with crooked legs and concealed wings that are exploring a world of falling leaves, twigs, and bracken. It’s everything in the term “horde” on offer: canopy, bramble, maple, and nightlight.

The world you navigate through is quite lovely. The narrative of Stonefly centers on a teenage inventor who is searching for her father’s mech, which she let be stolen due to her negligence. She sets off in a junker mech that will need ongoing repairs to retrieve her father’s gear, and into a realm of lumpen moss and crackling bracken where further secrets lie in wait. Things change depending on your point of view. Here, tree trunks serve as enormous plateaus, while mushrooms act as organic ladders. If you manage to catch an upward thermal, you may glide between the prickly branches of a tree as you would change lanes on a freeway, or you can jump between the coils of creeper and avoid the thorns. It’s nature, but it also has a handcrafted appearance, using textured paper and natural hues reminiscent of children’s books from the mid-1900s. On this game, someone used a glue pot! The effect Stonefly has on browns and greens, interspersed with fiery flashes of orange or yellow every now and then? It really is magnificent.

The environments in Stonefly may be challenging to traverse at first, but restarts are rather rapid when you jump from a branch into an abyss, and you can summon a swarm of sparkling little insects to help you find your next goal. Moving about and navigating is ultimately a pretty pure joy here, so the hassle is worth it. These universes seem thin and spindly, like layers piled on top of one other. They’re all nooks and crannies, which makes them fantastic to explore. They also make the most of your mech, which is another feature that might be a little difficult to get accustomed to—it moves slowly on the ground but quickly when you jump back into the air. The objective of The Floor is Lava is to spend as much time as you can in the ether, where you may move quickly, but keep in mind that, unless you’re riding a current, you’ll be slowly returning to Earth during that time. To obtain air when you want it, time your jumps. Make the most of your mobility by spreading the wings of your mech.

The game focuses on two key areas. First, fighting, which is usually creative. You destroy the little and giant bugs in the game’s idyllic environment by flipping them onto their backs and then pushing them off the surface and into the depths. Even before you account for the different bugs’ powers (such as ram assaults, unexpected spurts of poisonous goop, vicious pincers, and an odd kind of spiky inflatable thing), it’s a two-stage move. Additionally, you have several strategies available to you as you advance. Basically, if you’re not close enough to a drop to gust them over, flipping a bug is useless. Prioritizing goals is necessary, but you also need to consider your surroundings.

With your mech’s developing skill set, you have choices. You may dance over insects and hit them to take off their armor. You may beat the ground, slow them down, dashing with a gust, or throw amusing small wind bombs. Over time, more choices become available for your mech in the form of modules. But building them all takes resources, which brings us to the second major emphasis of the game.

I believe that resource gathering is not Stonefly at its best. Though it’s lovely to see the resources peeking out of the ground in small glittery seams, there’s another thing to consider when battling as most of the bugs you face are trying to get to the same resources as you. However, the game stretches things out and impedes progress by using a variety of resources. Missions gradually send you out to find massive hoards of materials to create essential parts for the mech, especially near the middle of the game. This entails going back over previously explored areas by grinding or finding the Alpha Aphids, enormous insects with resources shooting out of their backs. These are movable feasts that you must first locate, then scavenge, fighting your way through them until the timer expires, at which point you have to find them again and repeat the entire process.

Although it’s not perfect, it didn’t ruin my pleasure. I like the fighting, especially once you get some important improvements like a transportable wind dome that lets you gather resources while keeping others out. I like how there are more and more diverse opponents. To be honest, I don’t really need a reason to go back and explore each of these exquisite, complex levels—bird’s nests and burning piles of possibilities, to be exact. This is the product of a tiny team, and so be it if the only way to develop a game with such brilliant moments and concepts is by resource-hunting.

“The inventor you play as is inspired by the world around her, which means every so often, once a background objective has been achieved, a new idea will suddenly come to her.”

Furthermore, even if the mech improvements are good, I really like how they are presented. The inventor you play as draws inspiration from her surroundings, so after accomplishing a background goal, she may sometimes get a fresh idea for a stronger shell, a higher leap, or a novel way to deal with blowing wind assaults. Her upgrading ideas came to me in a slightly different sequence the second time I performed the first act. It seemed extremely natural, as if I was traveling with a bright, inquisitive, but easily sidetracked person.

This is a perfect match for a game where the player follows the main character as she battles bugs during the day and spends the evenings at the camp with pals she may trade and learn from. She falls asleep, and you sort through her tumultuous dreams as she navigates hope and remorse and attempts to give structure to the narrative she is experiencing. Similar to Creature in the Well, Stonefly is a very peculiar game, despite its recognizable components. Its grinding sometimes got to me, but in the end, I kind of liked it.


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