If there is one thing that Super Cloudbuilt did and did consistently, it was test my patience, but in a good way, a challenging way, a way that would bring great satisfaction upon completion of one of the many levels and challenges. One of the first things I noticed was the complexity that the game initially portrays and the influences that it takes its ideas from. It is a game based on free-running or parkour as it is also known, but it’s the other elements that combine with this that ultimately give this game a very familiar but unique feel to it.
It is essentially a platform game that takes a bit of a risk with its mechanics and level design but these are what makes the game stand out. There are a few modes available filled with a story mode, challenges and a very addictive online ranking system, but more on those later. It opens with an introduction to the main character, Demi who is lay in a coma but roams around in an out of body experience piecing together events that led to all of it. Without giving away any spoilers, there is a rather intriguing story to all of it and while it isn’t anything too original, it gives the game some depth into the character and why she is having these experiences.
The cell shaded visuals are sharp and vibrant, while having a very distinctive manga art style intertwined within it that is certainly eye catching and although the visual style won’t appeal to everyone and doesn’t normally appeal to me, there is no denying it adds a good amount of charm to the overall experience. There is quite a lot of detail on show and the crisp visuals are accompanied by some wonderful abstract style level design that has enough variation in its layout to keep things fresh. Each level has been well thought out and has a healthy mixture of platforming puzzles that really tested my patience at first, but once I became familiar with their layout, I had a great time in leaping, climbing and jetting across platforms fluidly at speed.
The aim of the game is to get from one side of the level to the other while collecting different items along the way that determine how many rewards you get at the end. This encouraged me to go back to the earlier levels in particular to try and better the rewards I got previously and those early levels that seemed so daunting at first didn’t seem much of a challenge when I went back to them having mastered more difficult ones later in the game. Super Cloudbuilt does a great job in giving the player choices in which route they can take to complete a level, with the level design being fairly open to explore. Frame rate was pretty solid throughout with only very minor slow down occurring on just a couple of occasions which were barely noticeable and allowed for a smooth experience overall which for a game that relies on quick actions and fast paced gameplay is essential.
At first the control system was a little confusing and certain actions were placed on buttons that felt uncomfortable, but thankfully the game gave me the option of creating my own custom layout that I felt more comfortable with. The gameplay style certainly needs getting used to, especially the jumping aspect of it all. After completing the first few levels I was given a jet pack and a pistol, which is used to eliminate enemies, take out force field doors and laser barricades blocking my path along the way. The movement felt floaty at first, but I got used to it and I understood why it felt as loose as it did, which was to allow for smooth, flowing gameplay and it worked for the most part.
The general movement and jumping are pretty solid and as much as I got used to the gameplay style, some of this was unfortunately spoiled by some inconsistencies with the camera. I found it became quite frustrating when I had got in to a rhythm, speeding through a level only to fall to my death because of trying to adjust the angle in which the camera was at. The shooting felt stiff and doesn’t offer any kind of zoom for the pistol and fires completely from the hip which again is aimed at keeping the player moving at pace, but it felt too clunky to compliment the fast paced movement.
Those couple of quibbles aside though, Super Cloudbuilt plays pretty well overall and if you can get passed these little issues then there is a lot of fun to be had here. There is a practice level that opened up after completing the initial tutorial where I was free to spend as much time as I liked in and I found it useful to practice some of the different jumping techniques and experiment with the different terrain boosts and scenarios. I would encourage players to utilise this area and get to grips with what you will encounter in later levels.
There is definitely replay value in this game and as I mentioned earlier, I found myself replaying levels, especially earlier ones, to not only better my rewards but to also prepare myself for the Ranked Trials mode. This game mode is a time trial challenge where you get to try and beat the times of your friends and other online players in getting around the levels as fast as possible. Not only is this mode incredibly addictive but it’s also satisfyingly frustrating in the sense that you will be tearing your hair out if you miss your target time by a millisecond but it also motivates you to keep on going to beat that other player ahead of you on the leaderboard.
There are also challenges incorporated within the story mode that will present you with certain stipulations, like completing a level without the jet pack or pistol, which made me reassess my routes through the levels and kept it fresh throughout. This was where the level design really shines and taking my time to check other paths that I could take showed me things in the levels I may have missed previously. There is certainly a fair amount of replay value in Super Cloudbuilt even upon finishing the story and it will really appeal to the most hardened of completionist, but make no mistake this game is a challenging one and it will test your patience.