Endless platforming fun
Cloudberry Kingdom sound like some childish kids game, rather than what it actually is. If it's adorable name and colorful visuals deceive you, expect a big surprise. Much like the formidable retro platformer, Super Meat Boy, CK is one tough cookie. Pwnee Studios don't exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to gameplay, but they do with the procedurally generated levels. You may be wondering what that means. Well, using the AI, the game randomly generates levels to your current player skill and level. It's a smart mechanic, providing an endless array of platforming goodness.
Story mode introduces you to Bob, a middle-aged hero with a big head. The brief introduction sees him on a quest, trying to save a ridiculous princess from a mean King, known as Kobbler. After a failed rescue attempt, Bob is left washed up, and this is where the game begins. Across seven chapters, you'll leap, bounce, dodge, roll and fly across hundreds of levels. The goal is simple, traverse along the screen, avoiding obstacles, and reach the exit. It begins very straight forward, with some simple platforming jumps. As you dig deeper in, you'll be faced with spikes that pop-up through the ground, hovering bugs, spinning fireball trails, and more. Pwnee Studios do a great job with the pacing. The difficulty ramps up at a steady pace, so you never feel thrown in at the deep end too soon.
Something you'll quickly notice is how short the levels are. Most of them are over in a flash, lasting one minute, or even less. Soon as you reach the exit, the next level is waiting instantly. It all joins together perfectly, and your constantly challenged with new mechanics. For example, one level may require you to bounce along on a pogo stick. Another may have Bob strapped to a spinning wheel or jet pack. These sections occur randomly, but do provide something fresh along the way.
The later levels can turn overly crazy. It can be intimidating to find traps cramping the screen, providing little space to move. Thankfully, there's a well placed checkpoint system, which makes most levels seem beatable. If you are finding a section too difficult, you can always use a selection of aids. Collecting blue gems throughout the levels will allow you to swap them for power-ups. With a simple tap on Y, you can purchase three different abilities. The first one allows the AI to complete the level, mocking you and proving it can be accomplished. The next one brings up an outline, marking the best route. Finally, the last one allows you to slow down time. Each of these aids are handy, and it makes collecting the gems worth while. With that said, racking up a high gem count isn't hard, as levels are constantly littered with them.
The randomized levels can feel a bit stale after a while. Mostly due to traps and platforms having a samey appearance. You can almost predict what form of hazards you'll be facing. With that said, you never feel like the AI is cheating on you. The more complex levels may seem impossible, but they are always possible to beat.
With Story mode aside, CK also features an Arcade mode. This is a similar set up to in story, but instead, your given a set time and limited amount of lives. There's also a Free play mode, which allows you to customize levels to your own taste. There's some nice setting to tweak, such as changing the levels length span, enemy count, and so on. When your done, you can then save it, allowing you or your friends to beat it. I also forgot to mention, CK supports up to four players locally.
Cloudberry Kingdom is an attractive and challenging platformer. The platforming doesn't exactly amaze, but it's random level generator is impressive. If your someone who's looking for a tough 2D platformer, it would be silly to miss out on Cloudberry Kingdom.