Speed-running platforming at it’s finest…
Originally released in 2014 on PC as CloudBuilt, Super CloudBuilt is a complete remaster of the original title, billed for release on the 25th July for PC and PS4, and the 28th for the Xbox One. Having been re-built from the ground up by Swedish indie developer Coilworks and English publisher Double 11; Super CloudBuilt is described as a definitive edition, adding “increased depth and variation” while making the game more “intuitive for new players”. As usual I will be covering the PlayStation 4 version of the game, going over both the good and the bad, and ultimately whether it’s worth picking up at the £15.99 asking price.
Retro gaming is currently booming as of late; the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy recently released to critical acclaim, the NES Classic Mini has completely sold out and with Sonic Mania dropping in August it’s abundantly clear that there’s a current spike in the market born of nostalgia. Platformers in particular seem to be the catalyst of the current trend, with it being the focus of many indie developers, delivering solid little titles such as Black The Fall. However the particular style has always had its share of similarities between titles, with platformers being sold more on the franchise’s legacy rather than solid advances in gameplay (staring at you Mario). Super CloudBuilt is one title in particular that does a lot to move away from the typical platformer stereotype, offering a hybridisation of genres that works extremely well for the most part. Originally released as CloudBuilt in 2014 as a PC exclusive, developer Coilworks has gone back into their flagship title and remastered it from the ground up, making it more accessible to newer players while offering old school fans a more refined and diverse experience.
The game follows a young, female soldier named Demi who awakens in an abandoned building, unaware of where she is or how she got there. Soon after finding her way out Demi realises that her physical body lies comatose, attributing her current form as some kind of astral projection, in which she can freely traverse a number of worlds in search of answers as to what happened to her and her squad. The game’s story is narrated via internal monologue, and while traversing the world Demi will begin to question certain aspects of her whereabouts as well as her own reality, leading to multiple different endings based on the wing of zones that are completed. Offering 5 more levels over the original, as well as multiple games modes encouraging both competitive and solo play, it’s clear that Super CloudBuilt was designed with no specific demographic in mind, reinforcing Coilworks comment that they’ve remastered it for a broader audience.
Traversing the worlds of Super CloudBuilt with Demi’s jetpack is exhilarating.
Super CloudBuilt can honestly be described as Sonic The Hedgehog on Amphetamines, as the game is primarily designed to be extremely fast paced and fluid, offering very little time to adjust to the game’s pace if you’re in the thick of it, leading to many unavoidable deaths (hundreds in my particular case) which can be heavily frustrating after a while. Gameplay wise, Super CloudBuilt is part platformer, part shooter, offering a fluid transition between the two; in conjunction to this are the controls that can take some time to get used to, further adding to the frustration. The main piece of equipment that Demi uses to traverse the different worlds is her jetpack, with her pistol mainly being used to destroy hostile robots and obstructions that prevent her from progressing. The game runs at a solid 60fps in crisp 1080p on a launch PS4, offering very fluid and lightning fast gameplay. The game offers a number of different play styles based on what the audience is looking for, whether that be exploration, combat or blasting through the game’s zones as quickly as possible.
The game offers 32 unique stages, boasting 5 new ones over the original game, with each individual zone offering a differing theme to the somewhat similar floating worlds found throughout the game. Offering varying levels of colour and saturation, each world looks thematically different; one world is vibrant with lush plant life littering the surface, where another is dark, gloomy and heavily mechanised, offering a complex juxtaposition between aesthetics. Graphically, the game can be closely compared to Telltale Game’s particular comic book style, only a lot more refined. The soundtrack also compliments the overall tone of the game, being a mix of a modernised 8-bit track and strong electronic overtones found in genres such as Techno. Alongside the main game are alternate modes of play, such as the new Ranked and Rush modes which directly tie into competitive play. Across these modes are 177 challenges, which offer different modifiers to challenge the player further than the base levels can. Within the zones themselves are Life keys as well as A,B,C and D keys that offer additional rewards at the end of the stage in the form of extra respawns for future levels. All of this comes together to present an alluring, cyber-like, digital universe that is unique when compared to its peers.
Combat in Super CloudBuilt is just as quick as it’s parkour moments.
Super CloudBuilt is an interesting hybrid of genres packaged in a solid indie platformer. The gameplay can take a while to get used to, and constantly dying as a result of complex systems in place can be extremely frustrating but that comes with the territory with a game like this, and improves as one gets more used to the game. The difference between exploration and fast paced progression is one of Super CloudBuilt’s strongest gameplay features, and while the main story is only around 6-7 hours long, there are plenty of challenges and content on offer that will keep the budding enthusiast entertained for many more hours to come.
A PlayStation 4 Review Code was provided by Indigo Pearl.