At first glance, Cloudbuilt seems like a fast paced, third-person shooter, free running, platformer game in which players must use co-ordination and speed in tandem in order to complete levels. However, the game has a bit more to offer than just senseless completion of levels. Let’s take a look into this awesomely addictive game.
When players create a new game, they are instantly placed into a surreal world of what seems to be the ruins of a floating city among the clouds. Players take control of a ghostly figure that wakes up from being unconscious. A tutorial area explains the fundamental controls and movement of the game which are intuitive and easy, all the while the character is self-narrating every step of the way. Once players reach the end of the tutorial, they come across a door which leads them into a small room with an injured woman in a bed and a desk with a computer. This room is basically the menu room where players can play back messages from the narrator and select the levels they wish to play.
Each level is set in this mysterious and hostile dreamscape world, a floating city of debris and machines with different obstacles, shapes and structures. Within each level is a door that leads back to the same menu room players start from, however getting to the door is the challenging part. In order to get there, players must navigate through the level by dodging traps and free running over obstacles as fast as they can, however players are only given a finite number of attempts to complete each level. There are multiply paths in which the levels can be completed. Usually players with more skill, timing and co-ordination can see the quicker but harder paths that take them to the finish, while the less skilled take the longer but easier path.
Dotted throughout the levels are hostile turrets, traps and machines that wish you ill health, however there are also yellow flags that act as checkpoints so progression is saved from there. Players are equipped with a weapon that can be charged up via three different stages of power and also a jetpack that can boost them around the map. Initially, it is difficult to control the speed and direction of the character when they introduce the jetpack, but after a few tries, it becomes almost natural to have it.
Once a player reaches the end of the level, a score rating is given for completion of the level. More points are awarded for quicker times and few lives used. In addition to that, the character then narrates another part of her story, her thoughts on many deep and philosophical questions into her existence in this world, why she is here and what lies beyond her subconscious mind. Players will find themselves transfixed into playing more levels to hear her thoughts and how her mind is coping with what has happened and what will happen. There are 4 different endings to the game, and how you reach which ending is dependent on which branching levels you choose to play and complete.
The art style within the game is very retro, simple yet pleasing to look upon. Particularly the lighting within the game really helps set the atmosphere for the player. As said before, depending on which path the player chooses to make, the levels and music change with it. Certain levels give off the vibe of a dark and lonely experience while other levels have an aura of hope and meaning; both art style and music really help give out and emphasize the emotions of the character and really involve the player as well.
Cloudbuilt is a very pleasant surprise to the gaming market and one that is extremely enjoyable to play. It has the right combination of difficulty and enjoyment, as well as being something different compared to what’s currently out there. The only real let down of the game is the length of the game and the variation of enemies, however this is easily solved though DLCs or even a level editor. Cloudbuilt is a game made for speed runners as well as casual players who enjoy a good challenge once in a while, admittedly a little shorter than I had hoped but it is an excellent game and should be part of any player’s game library.
[Editor’s Note: Cloudbuilt was reviewed on the PC. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Cloudbuilt Review,