Cloudberry Kingdom Review

Gaming

cloudberry-kingdom-boxart

Cloudberry Kingdom
Developer: Pwnee Studios
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3, Wii U, PC
Release Date: Out Now
Price: $9.99/800MSP – Available on: XBLA, WiiU eShop, PSN, Steam

 

Overview

Cloudberry Kingdom is a platformer that randomly generates levels for the player, allowing for infinite possibilities. Even the concept alone sounds promising, and Cloudberry Kingdom has enough built around that to make good on those promises. From being able to control how difficult your game is, to a complete subversion of old fairy tales, Cloudberry Kingdom is a fun experience that will always leave you wanting to play “just one more level.”

Cloudberry-Kingdom-05

Story

Cloudberry Kingdom features a relatively short 7-chapter campaign, starring your hero “Bob.” Bob is your ordinary hero trying to save a princess, who was kidnapped by an evil King. It sounds like a pretty formulaic plot here, but it is actually anything but.

There is a really nice subversion of the medieval fairy tale genre going on here, in that Bob is by no means your ‘Prince Charming.’ He is short, stocky, bald, covered in stubble and has no neck. He is also as gruff and unenthusiastic as they come. The Princess is also wise-cracking and equally unenthused at her would-be rescuer. Cloudberry Kingdom’s ability to recognise and appreciate the classics, while also adding a twist on a time-tested genre really pays off. It is just unfortunate that there isn’t more of it.

The dialogue in the cut-scenes for the story mode is completely voice-acted, and actually really funny. It is filled with lame puns and cheesy one liners that make you shake your head while trying not to laugh.

cloudberry-kingdom-screenshot-07

Gameplay

At first glance, Cloudberry Kingdom looks like your ordinary “run from one side of the level to the other without dying” platformer, and you’d be forgiven for immediately thinking that it wasn’t anything special. However, you would not be further from the truth.

Cloudberry Kingdom uses its built in level designer to randomly generate levels as the player progresses. That in itself is awesome as a gameplay mechanic, but makes the game somewhat interesting to review. I almost feel like I am reviewing a game engine rather than a game itself.

The game has a TONNE of different options. Everything from how long the levels are, to the speed at which platforms move can be altered, and that’s just the beginning. Once you get into the nitty gritty of the level builder, you can adjust a series of sliders. The more you move a particular slider, the more difficult you make those particular obstacles. It can eventually get to a point where the level is just unbeatable (and will give you nightmares for weeks).

cloudberry-kingdom-screenshot-04

Think you are good at video games? Not anymore you don’t!

The ability to tweak and set any aspect of the game to your liking is just such a cool feature that allows you to tailor the game to suit your liking. Want to feel like a platforming king? Just set the sliders down to nothing and breeze through your levels … Just finish playing Dark Souls and want to put your gamer skills to the test some more? Move everything up to about 2/3 of the way, and try your luck.

That’s only the beginning, Cloudberry also allows you to customise the physics of your character. These can be anything from allowing a double-jump, to a jetpack hover, or even becoming a jet-plane and flying through a Gradius-style level. Cloudberry Kingdom gives you the tools to make the game YOU want to play, and sets you off on your own.

cloudberry-kingdom-screenshot-03

The fact that the game creates infinite levels is just fantastic too. You and I may both set the difficulty sliders to the same place for our games, and come up with completely different levels. Infinite levels means that you will never get bored of the same old stuff, and that there is always just a little bit more that you can play.

The game also has an Arcade Mode, which uses still spits out random levels, but doesn’t give the player any control over their difficulty. As you progress through the levels, you will find them getting steadily more difficult. The difficulty curve is definitely noticeable, but never enough of a jump to make you feel like the game is unfair (even though, in some instances it really does set out to be).

cloudberry-kingdom-screenshot-09

See these settings? They will kick your ass

Cloudberry Kingdom also features four-player co-op. You think this game is hard enough? Try playing it with three other friends, all of you tethered together by an invisible rope.

If you are the type to frustrate easily, then this probably wont be your forte … However, if you love a good challenge, or think that platformers are “easy, casual games” then definitely download it.

cloudberry-kingdom-screenshot-06

Visuals

Cloudberry Kingdom looks like one of those old flash games from the late 90s crossed with Super Meat Boy. The visuals do look somewhat dated, and overly simplified but during the later levels, this becomes a positive rather than a negative. Not the least of which is the fact that there is something incredibly demoralising about having your ass kicked by a game that looks like a children’s cartoon.

There are only four “worlds” or “themes” available in Cloudberry Kingdom, and they do start to feel repetitive. This is especially true as all four themes are old platforming tropes that we have seen done so many times before; Main World, Ice World, Cave World, Castle/Lava World. It is great as a throwback to 1980s platforming, but in this day and age they just feel uninspired.

The backdrops are also sparsely decorated. During the earlier levels you will notice that there isn’t MUCH going on behind the scenes and it can make the levels feel barren and lifeless. However, once you get through a few of the initial stages, especially in Arcade and Story Modes, you will find that this lack of background decoration is a positive rather than a negative. The game’s requirement of precision-perfect jumping means that you need to be focused on what is happening at the foreground, and not risk having your attention drawn off by something in the distance.

cloudberry-kingdom-screenshot-01

Audio

The sound effects of Cloudberry Kingdom are as basic and simplistic as its audio. Only your hero ‘Bob’ makes any noise, and even so it is only when he jumps or collects one of the game’s gems. This is by no means a downside though, as I can only imagine what the game would sound like if every object and obstacle made their own sound effects as they move.

cloudberry-kingdom-screenshot-02

The music in this game is really awesome though; a mix of dubstep and electronica tracks. I am not the biggest fan of dubstep, but I do believe it firmly has a place in video games. The electronic, bass-heavy music really feels at home when playing a video game, and Cloudberry Kingdom proves this. The music feels right at home in this game, and can even help you to get in the ‘zone’ and pump you up enough to get through the next level.

One important thing to mention too is that whenever a new song plays, the title and artist appear at the bottom of the screen, allowing players to take note and buy the songs later.

Cloudberry-Kingdom-02

Overall

Cloudberry Kingdom is great. Even stripping it down to its base concept of; a platformer with infinite levels is great. Adding the ability to make and alter the difficulty and scope of levels is the icing on the cake. It is a new concept that plays homage to platformers and fairy tales of old, while offering a new take and giving players more bang for their buck than I’ve ever seen. Even the issues like simple visuals or lack of sound effects work in the game’s favour. It would be hard to not recommend Cloudberry Kingdom to anyone who plays video games.. Now If you will excuse me, I need to go play one more level.

9-5-capsules-out-of-10

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

Lost Password

Sign Up