Cloudberry Kingdom Review
Cloudberry Kingdom snuck up on me, it was recommended to me by Chip Cella from The B Team Podcast and after hearing their interview with TJ from the Pwnee team I snapped up this title from the PSN store (also available on steam, 360 and Wii U) and ever since then my thumbs haven't been the same.
This game is a wonderful platformer with a visual style akin to Castle Crashers, a pick up and go addictive playability that matches Trials HD with levels that rival and top some of the hardest Super Mario boss stages. It started life as a humble Kickstarter and blossomed into a digital front page hogger for all console (and Steam) stores and rightly so!
“Cloudberry Kingdom, the land where good heroes go to die, and Bob is the best of them all. Bob sits on the precipice of retirement, recliner ready, but first he must get back what he lost years ago. Jump and dodge your way through billions of levels on a last ditch mission to conquer infinity. The quest was never over. The princess was never saved. A challenge is waiting, are you ready?”
You play as Bob who can be customised in many ways from beard to cape (mine resembles The Amazing Bagman from Spider-Man) who is tasked with saving the princess and restoring ....whatever this game isn't about the plot...your task is to make it from one side of an obstacle lined level to the other while collecting coins for no other reason than getting that perfect score for the level (you can also exchange coins for cheats in the menu but that's not how to play this game). Traps in each level range from: spinning bars of fire to ghostly disappearing platforms. The levels at the beginning start out as nice friendly (ish) jaunts and end up screen filling laser show of death!
And just when you think you've got the whole thing figured out Cloudberry throws a spanner in the works from the simple double jump Bob to trickier abilities such as the bounce levels that make Cob continually bounce on the spot or fluctuating Bob who grows and shrinks in size continuously and makes the levels even more of a challenge!
The appeal in this game is the satisfaction of merely clearing a stage after the first 20 or so, as getting perfects is near impossible in some later levels! The online leaderboards are great for boasting to friends on how much you are beating their player score!
Outside of story mode you have challenge like levels starting with Escalation which gives you Classic Bob - equipped with a single jump only and limited lives to the likes of Wheel Bob and Tiny Bob each presenting their own challenge as you attempt to climb the leaderboards! There are variations in the challenges such as Time Crisis - my personal favourite mode that adds a timer and further tension to an already tense game!
The sound effects are generally nice and as expected for a platformer appropriate boings and beeps are interspersed with a rather strange soundtrack that has a very house music feel to it. Occasionally the game does seem to glitch on the music occasionally starting a level silent and beginning to play halfway through a level (which is a little offputing) and perhaps would be better with a skip button but that's just my personal music taste. The game itself would have benefited greatly from an iconic soundtrack, one the likes of Sonic and Mario had in their 16bit eras added to this game would have created a more memorable experience overall.
The controls are fairly simple press the button to jump and again to double jump or glide or whatever the power up may happen to be but the rest of the game you are left with only your own platform game skill to help you through and not once do you feel cheated due to the game...if you are good enough you will progress simple as that. And with this kind of gameplay you will find yourself dragged back in for "one more level" to hone your skills like myself who was playing till 5am the first night and the next day got pulled away from the TV as my eyes were "watering and going red" as I just could not stop trying to pass levels.
Once this game has got it's hooks in you are lost forever to its charms, challenge and wonderfully balanced gameplay
Highly recommended fun for any gamer who's ever enjoyed platform games or just games in general.