Cloudberry Kingdom (Hands-On) (Wii U) Preview

By Jorge Ba-oh 25.07.2013 2

Review for Cloudberry Kingdom (Hands-On) on Wii U

There's something quite iconic and pure about the 2D platformer genre. Timeless and with a simple premise, it's no wonder that the side-scrolling 2D platforming concept has lasted many decades and still retains those essential characteristics. Traverse from left to right, trying to keep on solid ground whilst jumping and surviving an onslaught of enemies, it just works. With a resurgence of 2D platforming games in the last few years, is there room for Cloudberry Kingdom? We went hands-on with the latest Steam Beta version ahead of release.

Whilst many franchises have come and gone over the years, there are only a handful that remain almost untouchable. Nintendo's own Super Mario Bros set the notoriously high benchmark of quality, simplicity and innovation that has only been bettered in some areas by a select few - including Rayman Legends, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man and Castlevania. Developer Pwnee Studios has been faced with nostalgia and history when creating the indie platformer Cloudberry Kingdom, so opted to explore a different approach.

After a successful Kickstarter Campaign last year, Pwnee was approached by publisher Ubisoft to distribute the game - in particular to Xbox Live Arcade - and various other platforms including Nintendo Wii U, PS3, Vita and Steam.

In Cloudberry Kingdom, players take on the role of a retired hero known as Bob, who can be fully customised with an array of different heads and facial hair. Bob goes up against a devious, scheming King in order to save a Princess, who apparently doesn't need saving. Tossed into the sea from the sprawling cliffs above, our hero dons his spandex once again in order to save the day. The plot sounds very much like Super Mario Bros, bathed in a bright and bold palette - something that does resemble a Flash cartoon, but don't let the premise deceive you, Cloudberry Kingdom takes a refreshing detour into something quite different indeed.

The main selling point for the concept is that, in theory, no two levels should be the same as Cloudberry Kingdom is woven with a rather intelligent system that generates the level in a completely different way each time the game is played, for a new take each cycle. The changes aren't too radical though; there will be similar enemies and structures for each shuffle, but it certainly keeps players on their toes! The default levels are fairly short too, and because of the nature of the randomisation, there hundreds to venture through, giving the game a pick-up-and-play feel with a twinge of arcade flavour.

Screenshot for Cloudberry Kingdom (Hands-On) on Wii U

Rotating flames, spikes, pulsating lasers, disappearing and narrower platforms are present and accounted for, with the positioning and the sheer number of obstacles offering an increasingly complex and frantic challenge as you progress through the later stages. But without an variation in theme and design, there could be a tendency for the game to become fairly repetitive and fast, so there are a range of different character abilities that define the structure of a level.

Bob can don a jetpack, use a double jump, spring, strap-on to a wheel and even tinker with gravity. These aren't temporary additions gained through a level like Super Mario Bros, but define platform placement and certain obstacles. So for the jetpack, the distance between ledges becomes far greater and that bit narrower, with enemies assailing the skies. With the double jump, there might be flames placed so that players will need to jump into a bottomless pit and, with careful timing, tap into that extra jump to narrowly caress the edge. The addition of these abilities, which eventually start alternating between levels, offer a good sense of variation and keep the action dynamic for the duration.

If the game becomes far too cumbersome, there is a helper ability that uses the computer to show just how a level could be done, but doesn't complete it for you. It's quite the nifty way of the computer showing off, making the more insane sequences a bit more credible and feasible too.
To expand the Cloudberry Kingdom, there are also leaderboards to collate high scores, the addition of tricky multiplayer plus a lengthy statistics panel to see just how well you are or aren't performing in the main game.


 

 

 

Screenshot for Cloudberry Kingdom (Hands-On) on Wii U

Final Thoughts

From what we've sampled, Cloudberry Kingdom is a challenging and engaging platformer that spurs on quick reflexes with that arcade feeling. It'll certainly be interesting to see how the game plays out when it arrives on the Nintendo Wii U eShop. See how Cubed3 got on our hands-on playthrough videos below.

Developer

Pwnee

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

This looks manic! CANNOT WAIT Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

This looks great. I cannot wait for this especially that you can create  levels . Im a sucker for anything you can use your imagination to create in game 

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