Flight School Studio, the team behind Creature in the Well, has revealed its next game: Stonefly, set to release this summer.
Described as a “chill and tranquil action-adventure game”, Stonefly casts players in the role of Annika. She’s a young inventor and, after her father’s precious rig goes missing, she sets out on a journey to find it. Annika is an intelligent young woman, but she’s not very worldly; this trip away from home will be amongst her first, and she’ll be facing a lot of unexpected dangers.
Stonefly‘s world is striking; Annika is tiny amongst a world of giant flowers and bugs. We’ve been privy to a short hands-off preview, watching the developer play through 20 minutes of gameplay. What catches you first about Stonefly is just how beautiful it is; it’s inspired by the work of Charley Harper, an artist who focuses on nature with a modern twist. There’s also a hint of macro photography at play, with the player getting lost in a tiny, zoomed-in world. You’ve likely not seen anything like it before.
In terms of gameplay, you’ll largely be controlling Annika within her home-made mech. You’ll spend a lot of time airborne, bouncing from one plant to another, using gusts of wind and your own momentum in order to traverse the world effectively. As you move around the world, you’ll collect minerals, which can be used to upgrade Annika’s mech. And as you upgrade, you’ll unlock new abilities and improve your stats.
It’s important to gain new abilities and survivability, because in order to collect minerals, Annika will have to face off against various bugs. Stonefly isn’t exactly a combat-driven game, per se; Annika won’t directly fight the bugs, but she’ll use her mech and the tools she’s acquired in order to push them off ledges. She’ll gain skills that allow her to generate gusts of wind, or she can stun them. As you progress through Stonefly, you’ll encounter numerous different types of bugs, all of which need to be approached in a different way.
When you’re not out flying in Annika’s mech, you’ll find yourself back at camp. These beautifully animated scenes allow Stonefly‘s narrative to develop. You’ll get a sense of how Annika is feeling as she processes the events of the day, and she’ll engage in conversation with her friends and acquaintances.
It’s a level based game, but not in the traditional sense of the word; players will have a choice over where to go and what to tackle thanks to the developers opting for a “free form and organic way to explore the world”. Some areas will be more dangerous than others, offering a greater risk vs reward. But even in the more dangerous areas, Stonefly is generous with checkpoints, and if Annika does succumb to a particularly hardy bug, she’ll never lose anything she’s collected – she’ll simply wake up back at camp, ready to go back out again.
There’s a chill vibe running through Stonefly, emphasised more by the original soundtrack recorded by Natureboy Flako. If the idea of flying around a world of flora and fauna, discovering more about Annika and her life as you go, then Stonefly is well worth keeping your eye on.
There’s no release date just yet for Stonefly other than “this summer”, though Flight School Studio is hoping to announce it soon. It’ll be coming to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Switch.
Want to see Stonefly in action? Take a look at the video below.