Cloudberry Kingdom initially started life as a project on Kickstarter that was successful in hitting the funding goal. Developer, Pwnee Studios, then got the good fortune of Ubisoft being interested in publishing the title.
This is certainly a lucky break for the development team, but was it a wise move for Ubisoft?
There are two very distinct ways to go about playing Cloudberry; Arcade and Story modes.
Arcade mode is pretty much a collection of different challenges. Each of these challenges has a different objective to get through. It’s quite fun to play through them and spot all the differences that make each of them unique.
As expected, each challenges becomes increasingly tougher with progression. It comes to a point where it feels similar to Super Meat Boy and players become highly frustrated. Those familiar with this genre will know that it isn’t necessarily bad, though. There is no better satisfaction quite like getting through some of the trickier levels for a particular challenge.
Cloudberry Kingdom is the kind of video-game that isn’t afraid to challenge players. The goal is to try and give them a reason to continue playing. Far too often, video-games attempt to make it easy to get to the end, adding in checkpoints or providing hints and tips. It’s not impossible to complete all the levels within each challenge. However, the game won’t make it easy to do so.
This desire to continue, even after dying countless times, is also down to the type of objectives introduced for each challenge. One such objective involves getting through as many levels as possible with a certain number of lives. Another one of these consists of having a certain amount of time to get through as many levels as possible. It’s certainly a fast paced experience and one that is perhaps far too easy to just pick up and play.
It’s not just the objectives that the player must keep an eye on. There are various obstacles introduced as the player progresses through the levels. One such obstacle is a laser beam that will kill anything it touches. Other obstacles include character shrinkers and even obstacles that make it harder to jump. The game lays it on thick and the levels of creativity are pretty high.
There are, of course, online leaderboards for those who want to show off. It’s a perfect fit for this kind of video-game since it will make players want to continue playing and hopefully improve their scores, especially if they’re in competition with their friends.
The story is made up of only a few chapters. Each of these chapters contains a number of levels. As expected, each of these levels gets longer as the player progresses through the story. Fortunately, there are checkpoints for some of these longer levels. It just means that the player won’t have to continue from the start if all lives are lost.
The Story mode is pretty entertaining, and well worth a run-through, if only just to see the wacky plot.
The character customization is on the same level as that found in Behemoth games. It’s possible to change just about every aspect of a character’s physical aspect. There is even a costume that will make the character invisible. Just in case, you know, the game isn’t challenging enough already!
Excitingly, Cloudberry Kingdom is also playable with more than one player. While I didn’t get to sample this, it certainly looked interesting to see the mayhem on-screen when playing with multiple people.
It’s also pretty obvious to see the expansive opportunities here. More levels with new obstacles, environments and challenges. There’s a lot of potential to keep expanding Cloudberry Kingdom, and I really hope the game takes off enough that we get to see that.
From a graphical and audio standpoint, retro enthusiasts will be very happy. Both tracks and visuals are inspired by the past and retro fix. CK is perfect in that, not only will players most likely end up humming some of the music tracks, it’s a vibrant experience that is full of colour and suck them into the game world very quickly and easily.
There is no denying that this is a simple concept. But there is potential for hours of fun. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on this one. If anything, it shows that digital platforms are still a great way to deliver experiences like this. Cloudberry Kingdom is a gamble for Ubisoft, but one that is sure to pay off.