Today we’re taking a look at Pwnee Studio’s platforming adventure game Cloudberry Kingdom. We’re not even going to bother delving into the hero saves girl story and literally jump into the addictive gameplay that’s on offer.
To begin, players are presented with several modes of play where the story obviously follows Bob through the various “Worlds” on offer of which there are 40 odd per stage. After choosing a bearded skin from various looks and masks, the game eases players into the mechanics in a fairly tame manner, and gives players a full taste of the various Bob forms that can be used. The classic bob offers the most simple means to get to the other side of the screen, with a singular jump button to deal with. Others such as the jetpack require a bit more skill to boost jumps and such like, and things like the spinning wheel offers another set of challenges to master. Other than getting across each randomly generated level, players are tasked with collecting coins which add to the score. Collect them all on a level and a Perfect Bonus is awarded. What’s neat is the coins map out the potential path across the levels, and when things get more frantic, these cues are most useful.
The arcade mode offers similar thrills of the story except this time, players can choose a set Bob character and try their hand at Escalation which is a survival type affair. Arcade also offers some time trial based modes which requires players to collect coins to keep the timer going – the game ends once the clock reaches zero. Hero Rush has players change Bob each level from the several random iterations of his character. Hybrid Rush is hardcore and has Bob become an amalgamation of two hero abilities rolled into one and is not for the fainthearted.
The onus of the gameplay is all about timing a run through the levels no matter how manic they can be. Often it’s a case of just diving in and jumping at the right moments. Apparently the difficulty automatically adjusts depending on how well the player is doing which is quite neat. But in reality, the game just seems to get more difficult as you would expect. There are options to view the AI complete the levels which might seem impossible, and if you’re successful, replays can be saved for bragging rights.
Cloudberry Kingdom also offers a free mode where players can tweak the parameters which make build the levels to make their own challenges. Using simple slides and a choice of which Bob hero to use, players can raise the bar with some totally over the top and mind-blowing skills navigating screens filled with all manner of hazards.
Whilst Cloudberry Kingdom is highly enjoyable solo, there is a drop in and out option for up to three other players to join the fray which is rather neat and impressive if all players can navigate levels in tandem – especially without blaming each other for mistakes in the tied together Bungee co-op mode!
It’s not really an issue talking about the cute simple graphics on offer, which whilst very two dimensional serve the purpose well enough. It’s not a game about fine details and more about colourful gameplay, and language (although not coming from Bob). The only complaint rests with the level graphic at the start each level in Story mode which gets in the way sometimes and can result in an unfair death.
The graphics make way for an incredible sound track which provides some excellent tunes to encourage fast paced movement. It’s certainly well fitting and pleasant to listen to for the type of game it is except some of the jump and trampoline sound effects might begin to grate after a while – lest they Sound effects are turned down in the options.
In the longer term there’s the challenge to get to the end of the story and beating one high scores in the various modes on offer. If that’s not enough and aside from multiplayer madness, there are online leader boards to compare and contrast scores.
Cloudberry Kingdom is a highly addictive offering that despite its simple looks and gameplay is big on challenge. For a quick session or long haul, the game is absolute in what it wants to accomplish. It’s not the most punishing game as it eases the difficulty in very well and therefore is quite accessible with effectively one button gaming. The real hair pulling and screaming at the TV comes once the game decides, you’re good enough and ups the ante to painfully challenging levels that simply tell the player, It’s time to go back and try again! If you like simple but effective games, then this is well worth checking out.
Score 8.5/10 – Review by Robert Cram