Castles In The Sky – Cloudbuilt
Something we’ve been hearing a lot lately is that games have no challenge anymore. Apparently games these days are way too easy, players are being constantly spoon fed and having their hands held. We think this is a ridiculous observation. Anyone who claims that games are too easy these days has clearly never played Demons souls or Dark Souls or Super Meatboy or I wanna Be The Guy… the list goes on and now Cloudbuilt has every right to join their ranks. Anyone who thinks games are too easy, we challenge you to play this.
Cloudbuilt is an intensely challenging platformer game with gorgeous visuals and a great soundtrack to boot. You play as a kickass cyborg chick freerunning across the ruins of a mysterious floating city with more defence turrets and laser grids than you can shake a stick at. What more could you want?
You start each level at one end of a large course of floating debris and and have to navigate through it to the end goal at the other side, or possibly above… or below, it’ll be somewhere. This is achieved by jumping, climbing, wall running and shooting your way to victory at a speed that would make Sonic the Hedgehog sick. You are also aided by your trusty jetpack which adds a boost, infinite wall running and most importantly double jump! There are always multiple paths across the rubble so it’s up to you to find the quickest (or easiest) one. You are also timed and graded so you’re going to have to make full use of your abilities and path-finding skills if you want to get anywhere near an A rank. We never managed to obtain such a feat past the first few levels. The mechanics flow together fluently and once you get the hang of the breakneck speed the gameplay feels great. The only problem is having nothing to blame but yourself when you go plummeting into the abyss after a misjudged leap to a platform much further away that it seemed a second ago.
The plot seems a bit thin but it is enough to hold the story together. You are a soldier who has been badly injured and is in bed awaiting an operation to get cybernetic enhancements. The levels you play seem to be in your mind and after each one is completed the character tells us a bit more about what’s going on. A lot of what is said seems deeply psychological and in our opinion a bit too artsy but it all fits together later in the story.
The highly cell shaded graphics are beautiful and give the environment a bold and and jagged but also somewhat alluring feel. The music also fits in perfectly, managing to match pace with the gameplay which is important for any game with a focus on speed. On the level selection screen you can go down different paths, each representing a different line of thinking and the visuals and music change to fit each path. On a lighter and happier line of thinking the colours are bright and vibrant ,while the music is light and carefree. On a darker train of thought the colours darken, the lights get brighter and the music takes on a heavier, more electronic feel. This changes things up every now and then. They say variety is the spice of life and that becomes especially true when you’re likely to die more than twenty times on one level.
There is very little to criticize about Cloudbuilt. The difficulty might be off-putting for some but we reckon most people will welcome the challenge. The voice acting can be a bit shabby at parts and each set of levels only have one soundtrack leaving it feeling a bit repetitive after a while but other than that the game is spot on, in our opinion.
Cloudbuilt is an immensely fun game to play. If you are a fan of platforming and speed running it will be a welcome addition to your collection but don’t expect it to be a walk in the park. If you are easily frustrated and can’t stand dying over and over then this may not be the game for you.
Cloudbuilt is available to purchase from Steam