Review: Cloudberry Kingdom

Cloudberry Kingdom is a jumping and platforming game developed by Pwnee Studios. You will start out with the basic hero named bob, who just has a single jump and basic physics. Depending on what mode or levels you are doing, you will have the opportunity to play as different heroes that have a unique style of play. Tiny and fat bob are just different sizes for him, with tiny letting you jump a lot higher and fat bob can’t jump very well. Rocket and double jump bob both affect how he jumps, rocket giving you a jet pack and double jump is exactly that. Some annoying variations are wheelie, bouncy, and hero in a box, where they make it hard to do jumps correctly. Spaceship is possibly the most unique one, since it places you in a ship and you must fly to the other side of the level without touching anything, even basic ground. Phase bob causes you to constantly change sizes, from really small to really big, so you need to be careful where you are currently standing.

Most levels in Cloudberry Kingdom are randomly made, with their difficulty depending on how far you have progressed in the current mode. Not only are the levels random, but their difficulty will even scale on how well you are performing, allowing even the least skilled players to have fun. No matter how they look or are designed, they all have one thing in common; they allow you to almost always have forward motion and you will rarely need to move backwards or slow down. Each level will have some coins on them to collect, awarding you differently depending on which mode you are playing. The design of each level takes into consideration which hero you are using, gaps will be much wider if you are able to double jump or have a jet pack for example. If you are playing a level that you really like, you can use the save level option in the menu to be able to play it again at anytime through the free play mode.

Other than basic land, there are a variety of types of other platforms that function differently and you will need to know how they work. There are floating blocks that will drop if you stand on them too long, blocks that will cause you to bounce, and even ones that will fade in and out in a rhythm. Moving blocks, elevators, and pendulums will cause you to time your jumps accordingly. Clouds will cause you to slowly fall through them, giving you just enough time to jump out of them.

There are many hazards to watch out for while playing Cloudberry Kingdom. Simply touching any of them will be the end to your hero’s life. There are spiky balls swinging around on chains, spikes placed on different surfaces that pop out at times, and falling spiky balls from the sky. Lasers will shoot from the bottom to top of the screen, flames will spin around on surfaces, and saws will try to cut you as they also swing around. Serpents and fire balls will try to jump out of the floor to catch you as you jump along the path. Flying bugs will let you land on them, squishing them and giving you the ability to jump again.

If a level ever feels too hard, you can opt to use one of three abilities that are designed to help you get past them. Each ability costs a certain number of coins, which you have collected while playing. You won’t have to spend any if you use them in free play however. AI, costing 5 coins, will give the computer control over your character, which will show it completing the level for you, but it won’t count as you doing it. The orb ability, costing 40 coins, causes a blueish orb to follow a drawn out path, which you can follow as it goes along the path. Slow motion, costing 20 coins, will of course slow the game down for you to complete the level.

The story levels in Cloudberry Kingdom are the most basic ones, that just simply require you to get to the door on the other side. These are the only levels that aren’t randomly made, since they were designed to ramp up in difficulty in a certain way. There are no time limits and you have an unlimited number of lives. As you progress through them, they will slowly get harder and you will play as a different hero every 10 or so levels.

There are 4 different arcade modes, each putting a different twist on the basic gameplay. All of these modes involve you collecting coins to earn points so you can rank on the leaderboards. Escalation is just like story mode, except you stay as the same character and have a limited number of lives, though you can earn more for every 25 coins. Time Crisis has a time limit involved, and you can increase the timer by collecting coins, up to a max of 20 seconds. Hero Rush will give you a random hero each time you complete a level. Hybrid rush is like Hero Rush where it gives you random heroes as well, but it will sometimes combine multiple heroes such as fat rocket wheelie.

It is possible to completely customize how you want a level to be designed, as well as designing your own hero. You can choose how long the level is, how many checkpoints are in it, whether or not a spike wall is chasing you, and the types and frequency of playforms and hazards are present in it. Upon completion of a free play level, you can generate another one with the same settings if you so desire. If you were to max out every setting, it will create a level that is probably only possible if you were to use the AI ability, as it has to be done perfectly. Creating your own hero to use involves editing everything about his physics, from jumping to falling, and even the size of him. Having double jump or rocket set as a baseline, you can also choose how many jumps he has or how much fuel in the rocket.

If you want to play with some friends locally, they can plug in controllers to join in on the jumping with you. Even though you can use WASD or the arrow keys on the keyboard, it seems that only one person can use the keyboard. Every mode can be played in multiplayer, even the story levels. Multiplayer basically puts everyone’s character on the current level and you all will have to try beating it. You can still die in the same ways, though the level doesn’t get reset until everyone is dead or someone reaches the end. If one player gets left behind and the screen goes past them, they will die from that. Levels with checkpoints will revive dead players as they are touched. A special bungee mode exists within free play that causes all players to be connected by a stretchy rope, causes mayhem if you stray too far from another.

Everything that you do in Cloudberry Kingdom is stored as a statistic that you can view at any time. You will see basic information such as the number of times you’ve died and to what, and how many coins you have grabbed. Other statistics such as average length per life and the number of jumps you have done.

All the basic options exist, with sound and music volume sliders, resolution, and the ability to edit your keys. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to bind the space bar to the jump button, since that is how it is used in other jumping games. The graphics are nice colorful and cartoony, but aren’t ugly because of their simplicity. There is a variety of music that will play during the levels, and their quality sounds much better than a lot of video games.

There’s nothing wrong with the unlimted randomly generated levels, but because of that the levels all have the same feel to them. Other jumping games, like Super Meat Boy and Dust Force, have carefully crafted levels that have their own unique theme and layout. Other than that, nothing else stands out bad about Cloudberry Kingdom.

All game modes will start out easy, but will get harder as they go. This means that if you don’t like challenge in your games, you might not make it very far in all the modes. You can custom make yourself easy levels though. All random levels will even scale their difficulty on how well you do, meaning that they will stay relatively easy if you are having trouble. Even so, you will have to eventually improve to advance into the harder levels. Story mode saves your progress after completing each level, though everything else pretty much requires you to play until you run out of time or die too much. Level wise, it shouldn’t take you over a minute to do each one assuming you don’t die a whole lot in doing so.

Anyone looking for a great challenging platforming game will love Cloudberry Kingdom. The levels will get harder with how well you are doing and of course how far you have advanced in the current mode. Leaderboards will keep you on your toes while you try to beat the best in the world. Arcade has a bunch of modes to unlock as well as the different types of heroes you can use on them. Escalation and Time Crisis require you to play them as the normal character first, while you can unlock the others by completing a certain amount of levels. Different arcade modes require you to have a high enough player level, which is the total number of levels you’ve completed during the story and arcade.

Cloudberry Kingdom costs 10 dollars and if you purchase it you will also get the soundtrack. If you enjoy other jumping games, it is well worth buying Cloudberry Kingdom with the amount of content it comes with at such a low price.

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