Super Cloudbuilt is a hidden gem that anyone with a love of speed and platforming should pick up on the PS4. The level design is outstanding as it continuously scales up the difficulty in a seamless way and the thrill that you get from this game’s speed is very rare to come across.
Developed by Coilworks, this title brings the fast nature of Sonic, the parkour of Mirror’s Edge, twitch-based gunplay, and mashes them together with clever platforming game design that constantly switches up your approach. This is an almost perfect platformer. The difficulty curve is precise and without any prompts (except for the initial tutorial), Super Cloudbuilt subtly teaches you how to work around obstacles and take out the turrets in your way; towards the end of the game, you’ll feel like a pro and that, is the definition of great level design.
With the speed the game paces you at, some deaths can feel cheap as you have no idea what is coming ahead of you. Part of the DNA of the platformer, however, is to learn from your mistakes and use trial and error until you finally get through to your goal. And when you finally overcome the obstacle that has been your downfall again and again and again, you get that oh-so-gratifying feeling. When you get through on your first try, it feels even better. Another facet of the game that I enjoyed is that there are multiple paths to your destination. If you struggle with one part of the gameplay, you can go the other route; it’s a nice addition for those who struggle with an element of the game and it adds replayability. Collectibles can be picked up too to get extra health. Super Cloudbuilt gives you that rush that few games emulate as you run through these well-crafted levels.
The problem that lies ahead is the confusing manner of how Coilworks presents the game and how to complete it. If you go completely blind, it’s hard to understand the process of progression as you randomly choose levels to finish. The story is told through short monologues after every level is completed but it doesn’t give direction as to what you should do next. After running around and looking up videos of the game, I eventually found out how to get the 7 (or possibly more) endings in Super Cloudbuilt, but it’s a confusing element of the game that gave me frustration.
In Super Cloudbuilt, you are Demi, a soldier who lost her life in some way and is trying to find a way to reawaken after discovering she is in a coma. After each level, an inner monologue is expressed by Demi that gives more context as to what is going on around her. Here’s the thing; I never felt compelled by the narrative. Unfortunately, the writing sounds cliche and the voice actress of Demi took me out of the game; I didn’t believe her performance as the character as the compassion in her voice did not sound genuine. But, a cool feature in Super Cloudbuilt are the multiple endings. For each wing completed, there is a different ending and each level is named after a concept or a thought in her mind. 3 out of the 4 initial endings are the same but with alternate aesthetics and one is slightly different from the rest. That’s not all though. There are 3 other endings (so far) that are obtained through completing the most difficult stages and taking an alternate path in one part of the game. Anders Davallius, the Creative Director of the game, also teased that there are endings that players haven’t even found yet by saying on YouTube (don’t click as there are spoilers for the endings), “So far 7 have been discovered.” With Davallius saying, “So far,” I can assume that not everything was found at that point. The game also features a high score mode and the ability to go through levels without guns.
While graphically, Super Cloudbuilt is limited, it makes up for it with its strong art design. It’s cel-shaded look is stunning on screen in 60 frames per second. How Demi’s boots flame up while you are wall-running, how Demi goes black and white when hit, and the sheer speed of how fast the character is going while downhill looks spectacular. The look really gets you into that hype stage of mind. The levels have variation in their look, as well. Night levels with the moon beaming at you look pretty in the cel-shaded look, and the surroundings of broken up architecture in most levels look stunning with its sunset or sunrise backdrops; the shadowed look to the shattered buildings reminded me of Gravity Rush and how it’s sky boxes complimented the art style. It’s pleasant to have a game with such a vibrant color palette. The blocks that you stand on, wall-run, and grip, are well textured, and everything you see ahead of you is easily noticeable; this is especially important in a fast paced platformer.
The music compliments the fast paced platforming action as well with a deep percussion focus and frenetic beats that I was digging throughout the whole game. The sweeping strings towards the end of the game’s more difficult levels is also a nice touch as it elevates the tension and stakes for the player.
Another way Super Cloudbuilt succeeds is its options menu. Players can have the option of changing the field of view (which is rare in console games) and he or she can change the control scheme however they’d like. Press the right analog stick to jump? Go ahead but I don’t recommend it!
Super Cloudbuilt is an excellent game that should be a must-buy for any platforming fan. This title is delightfully fast paced, has just the right amount of difficulty, and consistently changes up the way you have to approach what’s ahead. Despite the lack of an interesting storyline and the confusion of how to finish the game, Super Cloudbuilt is a game I wholeheartedly recommend.
A PS4 code of Super Cloudbuilt was provided by Double Eleven for the purpose of this review.