PN Review: Cloudberry Kingdom
The time has come, my fellow gamers. It’s time to put on your big gamer pants and put your true platforming skills to the test, for Cloudberry Kingdom has finally arrived!
Not only did this title receive two of our Best of E3 awards (Best Surprise and Best eShop Download), but it turned out to be the majority of the team’s favorite title at E3. Now, I’m an old school gamer. My koopa stomping grounds began back in the NES and SNES era, where pixel perfect platforming jumps were mandatory, and if you didn’t rescue that princess, no one would. Cloudberry Kingdom brings that familiar platforming challenge, along with many other trials, as you jump your way to victory! Just be sure to bring a friend, because this game does not mess around.
This is where things get funny. You play as Bob, a platforming hero who wants nothing more than to retire from the hero business and just relax. With a slight gut and a five o’clock shadow, what helpless princess could say no to him? Well, a lot actually. In fact, the Princess has been captured by the evil King Kobbler…again. Apparently this has been going on and on for quite some time in the Cloudberry Kingdom. Sound familiar to anyone?
I’ll leave the story at that, as you should experience the rest for yourself. What you should know is that Bob wants nothing more than retirement. Help this guy out, won’t you?! You just have to platform through 240 levels that only get harder the more you play! While the plot may seem a bit lacking, it’s the gameplay that really makes Cloudberry Kingdom the game that it is.
Cloudberry Kingdom is based on a level-altering algorithm. The developers at Pwnee Studios have developed an AI that will always randomly generate a new level that will meet any gamer’s challenge needs. Don’t get too cocky when you easily trump a level–it only gets harder the more you play.
At first glance, some of the more advanced levels look downright impossible to complete. There is so much death on the screen that one misplaced jump means it’s back to the beginning of the level for you! While these levels seem intimidating–and trust me, they do–they are possible to beat. Let’s say you’re completely lost on what to do and you just want to rage quit. One: Shame on you. We’re big gamer boys and girls! Two: Pressing the X button on the gamepad will open a menu that will allow you three options, purchased by collected in-game coins, to make your platforming odyssey a little more manageable.
You can purchase a “Robot Bob” which will hand the controller to the AI as it shows you that it’s possible to get through the level, but how to do so. I decided to test out this AI by giving it the hardest level imaginable. Needless to say my jaw quickly hit the floor as it managed to hop, skip and jump through the level unscathed. Players can also purchase a pathway which will show players the right way to the goal via dotted lines and a green dot to follow. Lastly, there is the stopwatch. Purchasing this will cause the level to slow down, giving you a bit more time to plan your movements. Not only can you purchase these items, but you also have unlimited lives in story mode. Now if that’s not fair I don’t know what is.
So just remember, while that one level may be painful and difficult, it is possible to beat. That, and there is a much more challenging level just ahead of you.
But what would a platforming game be without a twist in gameplay? Certain levels can give players a new game physic that can give you a possible advantage–but be warned, the AI will compensate for your new abilities and will try to make you cry in gamer agony!
Here is a list of some game physics you will encounter:
Classic: Your standard platformer
Jetman: Comes equipped with a jetpack. WARNING: Jetpack can only last for so long until a platform is needed.
Bouncy: Ride your trusty…spring loaded horse. Constant bouncing from beginning to end.
Spaceship: Similar to R-Type or Gradius. Sorry, no guns on this ship.
Fat Bob: Bob larger than ever. Watch out for that hit box!
Tiny Bob: Smaller hit box and higher jump.
Gravity Bob: Each jump flips the gravity. What was once the floor is now the ceiling and what was once the ceiling is now the…you get the idea.
Double Jump: Exactly what it sounds like. An extra jump, for extra long gaps.
Wheelie: Bob is attached to a large wheel so be careful when rolling too fast!
Rocketbox: Kind of like Donkey Kong Country’s mine carts without the monkeys.
Cloudberry Kingdom also offers other game modes to break away from the main Story. There is Arcade mode, which gives you three other variants to choose from to test your skills. Escalation will have gamers play level after level, getting more difficult the further you advance. Time Crisis usually consists of shorter levels, but your goal is to speed run those levels and collect as many coins as you can along the way as they’re your only hope of adding more seconds to the clock. Hero Rush is very similar to Time Rush except that each level will present you with a different game physic. Hybrid Rush is very similar to Hero and Time Rush, but be prepared for the unexpected. While there are some levels that will have you with double jump, wheelie, or bouncy physics, some will have all three of those combined into one. Bouncing through a level while having a jet pack on is just as awesome as it sounds!
If customization is your forte, then Free Play mode is for you. Free Play mode gives players the chance to create their own levels ranging from easy to nightmarishly difficult. Want to make a level without checkpoints, less platforms, more hazards and you and your friends attached to bungee cords? It can all be done in Free Play mode. Lets just say that in bungee mode, teamwork is desperately required…desperately!
Playing Cloudberry Kingdom again after E3, I’m reminded why we gave it our Best of E3 awards. The game is challenging yet beatable. The replayablity factor seems never ending, and playing with friends is crazy fun as you will all laugh and cheer each other on constantly. I cannot recommend this game enough, as I feel every gamer should test out their platforming skills and rise up to the challenge.
See the PNM interview of Pwnee Studios, developer of Cloudberry Kingdom, along with other awesome Nintendo content in the August/September issue of PNM. During the month of August Power Up with PNM and grab a FREE 1-year digital subscription to PNM. PNM is your source for exclusive interviews, game previews, concept art, game reviews, puzzles and much more direct from the world of Nintendo delivered bi-monthly directly to you!