Absolutely brilliant soundtrack. Shades of Blade Runner, oodles of synth and general all-round excellence! The voice acting is pretty good too!
The voxel art and design of Nivalis is fantastic, but the game is unfortunately let down by a lot of frame-rate issues.
Controls-wise, Cloudpunk is solid… unless you’re an inverter in the third-person mode; then you’re screwed. I’m an inverter. Typical.
The world that Ion Lands has created, what it's populated it with, is an intriguing prospect, but it’s the only reason to play Cloudpunk. The narrative, the reason to explore Nivalis, just doesn’t really exist, I’m afraid.
The list isn’t too bad, but there are some bugged achievements, which is incredibly frustrating for completionists… especially if you spent ages getting those 80 collectibles, like me. Bugged!
October 19, 2020
There’s just something about cyberpunk environments that I can’t get enough of. The flying cars, the ramen bars, the cities above the clouds, the neon-soaked skylines, the ridiculously over-sized advertising. I could go on. Cloudpunk, a 3D narrative driven exploration game should be right up my alley, then. And you know what? It is, but also, it isn’t.
Cloudpunk sees you jump into the shoes of Rania, a young woman from the countryside, who makes her way to the megacity of Nivalis to work for eponymous illegal delivery firm, Cloudpunk. Throughout the game’s relatively lengthy campaign, you’ll explore all that Nivalis has to offer, dropping off dodgy packages to a whole host of nefarious characters. With some fantastic Blade Runner-esque vibes from composer Harry Critchley. Mixed with a fantastic voxel art world, it’s easy to fall completely in love with the world that Ion Lands has created.
That, unfortunately, is where my love for Cloudpunk ends, because from a gameplay perspective, things get incredibly repetitive and tedious very quickly. Yes, Cloudpunk is effectively an exploration game, going from point A to point B, meeting characters, and discovering new locations, but the game’s main issue is that the narrative – and the characters written into the world – are just not all that interesting. They’re tropes, clichés, and dull as dishwater, while the overall story just isn’t that gripping at all.
Cloudpunk also has some bizarre design and pacing issues peppered throughout. On the design side, it’s hard to not be completely baffled by the fact there’s no invert option, and no save or exit game options (it just saves in the background). When it comes to pacing, though, it’s all over the place, like sitting in your HOVA (your flying car) while listening to five minutes of exposition dialogue, before the game tells you where to go; or getting to your destination far too quickly and then having to wait while you finish your conversation.
The game is incredibly buggy as well, with achievements that just straight up don’t work and a frame-rate that is far from stable; but more worryingly, the further you get into the game, the more the game just gets straight up confused, making me go through dialogue and re-issuing quests that I’d already completed hours ago. It was a particularly head-scratching moment when one character told me of another character’s death… as he was stood next to him. How I was able to get through to the end of Cloudpunk before it completely imploded is beyond me, but I did… somehow!
Cloudpunk represents a bit of a missed opportunity. Nivalis is such a fantastically realised world, one full of wonder, and the score that accompanies it makes you feel like you’re in some badass cyberpunk thriller. The narrative, however, is just not strong enough to disguise the relatively tedious A-to-B fetch quest gameplay (well, it’s more deliver than fetch, but you get my point). With a little polish and a stronger reason to exist and explore the world, Cloudpunk could have been something far greater. This is definitely a good foundation for Ion Lands to build upon, if it ever decides to revisit this world, which they absolutely should.