Head in the clouds.
There are a lot of games out there. In 2017 there are a lot of amazing games out there, so it takes a lot to get on my radar. Super Cloudbuilt did just that, with its gorgeous art style and promise of fast-paced, parkour-inspired game play. This action title starts off with a unique premise and an interesting story, but unfortunately lost me quickly due to its limited delivery on its initial promise.
The story wrapped around Super Cloudbuilt is an interesting one. Players take on the role of Demi, an injured soldier who is bedridden. This has been the case so long that she starts to manifest her ailments through her subconscious. These are played out as each stage. It is a unique concept, albeit a sad and dark one at times. I really enjoyed the way each level was themed, and how it represented the overall progression of Demi’s tale.
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $14.99
The core of Super Cloudbuilt is designed around movement. Demi can jump and double jump, and quickly gains access to a booster that enhances her mobility. Controls are a little awkward at first, as the jump button resides on a bumper as opposed to the traditional button. Holding the jump button allowed me the ability to stick to the wall, and feathering it would let me jump back and forth. It sounds simple. In practice though it never felt fluid to me. I found myself falling and dying constantly.
After hours of playing I finally got the hang of it, but early on it is frustrating. It also doesn’t help that each checkpoint only has a set number of tries attached to it. Direction is also an issue. With the levels feeling more open and able to explore, it is not always easy to tell which way to go. In some levels I was simply not having fun traversing across the world, which is the core of the entire experience.
This game was obviously built with speed runs in mind. There are counters and even modifiers for the levels. Some challenges task players with finishing a level without firing a bullet, while more devious ones only provide one life. It extends the life of the game, but I never felt compelled to go back to any one level.
While the game is certainly gorgeous, it is rarely memorable. Levels bleed into each other, and I found a lot of their design rather uninspired. I still love the look of the game though. It reminds me of a grainy Jet Set Radio, or a more recent example would be something like Drawn to Death. The game does run fast, which is good. Frame rate is rarely an issue.
Super Cloudbuilt is a game I thought I would enjoy playing and ignore the story. The reverse ended up happening. The narrative is interesting and the one thing that kept me playing. The game surrounding it fell flat for me on so many levels. I wanted to love it more than I did, but in the end it never clicked with me.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.