Cloudberry Kingdom was born as an indie platform developed by Pwnee Studios and financed on Kickstarter for an exclusive release on Wii U, scheduled for last December 2012. After the achievement of the objectives of the crowdfunding campaign, the title disappears from the radar for a few months and then reappears only recently, with a very heavy name behind it. In this period, the French giant Ubisoft has in fact noticed the interesting indie project, and has decided to support it both with additional funds and by publishing it in first person. The game is then postponed to Summer 2013, to allow the team to further improve it (especially in character design) and turn it into a multi-platform release.
Defined in numerous trailers as a real "Infernal Platform", Cloudberry Kingdom is finally in our hands and available in all online stores at a price of € 9,99.
Version tested: Wii U
A retired Hero
One of the things improved in the final version of Cloudberry Kingdom is definitely the story mode plot.
We will play Bob, a hero tired of always having to run around and risking his life to save ungrateful princesses, determined to make this his last adventure before retirement.
Through more than 200 levels divided into 7 worlds, Bob must therefore avoid a tragic end and defeat the evil King Kobbler, freeing yet another princess.
Only the most daring will be able to find out how Bob's story will end, given the frightening speed with which the degree of challenge will grow between levels.
Cloudberry Kingdom's plot is simple and is narrated with a few cinematic scenes, leaving the rest to the player's imagination.
The story mode is an addition that never hurts in a platformer, even if in Cloudberry Kingdom it is not the main game section, which remains rather the Arcade one.
The Arcade is the true hub of Cloudberry Kingdom. Thanks to the game's AI, the level design will in fact adapt to the player's ability: the better the player is, the more difficult the levels will become, full of obstacles and sadistic; if, on the other hand, the player begins to lose life too often, the level will adapt, making the next ones less complicated to overcome.
The same will happen in the Crisis of Time, Hero's Ride and Hybrid Rush sub-modes, which take advantage of Bob's different powers (which we'll talk about shortly) but add another obstacle: time.
We will in fact have a decreasing timer and we will have to aim at the completion of as many levels as possible, always with the dynamic and changing level design that characterizes the platform of Pwnee Studios.
The FreePlay parade closes the mode parade, which contains a level editor: in fact, we will be able to choose practically everything in the level we are about to face, from the number of obstacles, to Bob's power, to the presence or absence of checkpoints, to the actual difficulty, guaranteeing a level of challenge customized to the player's wishes.
After finishing a custom level, we can save it to play it later, or watch a particular replay, containing all the attempts made to complete the level, that is an army of Bob trying to get to the end, not aware that only one can succeed in the level. enterprise.
Each mode listed above is playable in local multiplayer with four players, guaranteeing a high number of curses and laughter, also due to the nice idea of being able to tie the heroes on the screen with a rubber band, condemning everyone to certain death in the event of a mistake by a companion. team.
Ten and more powers for Bob
During his journey, as the most famous platformer in the world teaches, Bob will be able to rely on different powers with which to overcome the pitfalls that the evil ruler will send against him.
Each power slightly changes the way of dealing with the difficult levels of Cloudberry Kingdom: with the Double Jump, for example, we will be able to get higher than normal, while with Spaceship we will simply have to avoid everything, including platforms.
Obviously in the story mode we will not be able to choose which power to use, but we will have to adapt to what will be provided to us by the level, facing series of obstacles upside down thanks to Antigravity, or rolling being careful not to fall with Bob rotates (Wheelie).
Whatever power we use, the ultimate goal is always the same: going from one end of the level to the other without dying, possibly collecting as many gems as possible to increase the score (and lives or the timer in arcade mode).
As the screen fills up with obstacles, progressively increasing the difficulty of completion, Pwnee Studios has managed to create a platformer that guarantees hours of challenge and asks the player to learn from their mistakes to improve themselves.
Renew the appearance
When Cloudberry Kingdom was launched on Kickstarter, Bob was a white silhouette, probably to give the player the opportunity to identify with the hero: being an empty silhouette, he could be anyone.
After Ubisoft's intervention, Bob got more character, going to be very reminiscent of a character from Cyanide & Happiness (a rather well-known webcomic strip), and with him all the obstacles and enemies present in Cloudberry Kingdom have also changed slightly.
The result is a cartoon character design, very colorful but at the same time cruel, thanks to the countless deaths that the hero can suffer.
The filmed scenes of the story mode give the idea of a 3D animated series and the characters are voiced by exceptional actors such as Kevin Sorbo (the Hercules of the TV series) who make, even if for a few moments, Bob and his supporting actors more alive than usual.
Pwnee Studios has also included many elements with which to personalize our Bob, from the Pope's hat to the flaming head, passing through an invisible body and a wide range of colors to choose from.
Moving on to the audio sector we unfortunately find one of the sore points of Cloudberry Kingdom: the soundtrack consists of less than ten songs that repeat themselves randomly, which become pounding while trying to complete a particularly difficult level and which force the player to turn down the volume. before risking a nervous breakdown.
Cloudberry Kingdom combines a level of increasing challenge with an AI that makes it the longest-running platformer ever: thanks to the random generation of levels in the Arcade mode, we will never meet two completely alike, allowing the player to try to overcome each other and improve your skills virtually non-stop.
Unfortunately, the title could be unnerving and repetitive for non-lovers of the genre but, at the price at which it is proposed, it is an opportunity that cannot be missed.
Verdict 8/10 Bob the JumpAll Comment If you loved Super Meat Boy and are passionate about the Platform genre, you can't miss Cloudberry Kingdom. The title of Pwnee Studios manages to amaze and entertain even for short sessions, stimulating the player to improve and indulge in another game before turning off the game. Excessive difficulty is only a way to encourage the player to experience their mistakes and try again until the adversity is overcome: Cloudberry Kingdom is difficult but not impossible. Mario, Sonic, Rayman and Donkey Kong are warned: there's a new hero in town! Pros and cons ✓ Virtually infinite
✓ Levels that adapt to the player's skill x It will be nerve-wracking for many
x Short and repetitive soundtrack