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Preview: Cloudbuilt

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Like walking, er, running on air

I don't like hand-holding. Sometimes, I want to jump in and make my own mistakes. I don't want the safety net of a checkpoint or the illusion of control afforded to me by objectives. Perhaps that's why, even in games like Mirror's Edge that so meticulously attempt to recreate the feeling of weightlessness and freedom afforded to those interested in parkour or free-running, I feel tethered to the idea of getting from point A to point B. Cloudbuilt is an intriguing riff on these ideas that doesn't encourage nonviolent combat or "alternate routes" to a target a la Assassin's Creed. It's not operating under some grandiose pretense or attempting to weave an unforgettable narrative, It's just you, the sky, and a delicious dose of speed. 

Cloudbuilt (PC)
Developer: Coilworks
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Release Date: March 20, 2014


Cloudbuilt is a game you dive headfirst into. It's your job to guide your adorable anime-styled protagonist across several floating 3D platforms in the sky as quickly and efficiently as possible. Each course has different methods of approach, though if you want to outdo yourself on additional runs, memorization and precision are the keys to success. Immediately you're moved to take to the skies, sliding and boosting to and fro from platform to platform until your inevitable first meltdown.

When your heroine skates off into the abyss for the first time, starting from a precious checkpoint or even from the very beginning feels more like an expected outcome rather than an unfortunate mishap. You know you're going to fail sometimes, because with this kind of speed and split-second reflexes required of you, it's a sure thing. But, like similar PC darling Trackmania or even your favorite racer (which is what this game ends up conjuring more often than not) you simply get back on the horse and keep chugging along. Why? It's fun.

A tutorial level gets you up to speed before hurtling you into the sprawling, spacious levels, but from the beginning it's clear that your jet pack is vital to all functions while zipping through the air. It allows you to boost up walls and keep momentum while running on them and provides a way for you to cover long distances between platforms. As you make your way through the game's impending twenty levels, it quickly becomes evident that no matter how much of a speed demon you are, it doesn't matter if you can't temper it with guile and direction.

You will be frustrated. You will want to quit. And you'll come right back afterward. I feel with additional controller support it will be much simpler to become accustomed to the controls to find a rhythm that works best for you when the game drops, but the keyboard option works well too with practice. I'm generally spoiled when it comes to gaming on the PC as most of my favorites offer controller input options, so that will be a boon when it's finally available. 

Cloudbuilt proves to be an indomitable force that isn't afraid to act as the dark horse of what's available in the realm of PC gaming, especially given its gorgeous art style, multiple pathways to victory, and general cavalier attitude toward what's "acceptable" or "fun" these days. I enjoy it for what it is, and I surmise you will as well.


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Brittany Vincent
Brittany VincentContributor   gamer profile

3 I'm Brittany, and I'm the resident creeper, er, community manager over here at I'm here to make your experience more + disclosures


 



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