When I was picking out #loveindies games, I asked my friends to throw titles at me. Super Cloudbuilt came enthusiastically recommended, and even gifted to me, by a friend who said it meant a lot to him. Naturally, I had to try it out this artsy parkour platformer from Double Eleven and Coilworks (who unfortunately announced their shutdown this January).
Super Cloudbuilt puts you in the place of Demi – a soldier who wakes up in an empty, ruined building, with only a mysterious blue light to guide the way. Disconnected from her body and with no real memory of what’s happened, she has no choice but to proceed. As she follows along, she’s led up walls, across chasms, and always higher and higher into the sky. Below is a vast nothingness. And so, she parkours her way across each level, faced with increasingly difficult challenges and enemies. I can guess at parts of the story, but sadly I wasn’t able to get that far in my few hours of playing – I definitely have some gitting gud to do. It seems far more moving and deep than I’d have expected from something sold to me as a parkour platformer, and I’m really looking forward to uncovering more of Demi’s story over time.
To be honest, it should have been one of the most frustrating gaming experiences of my life. I can’t count the times I found myself accidentally flying into the abyss, forced to try and try and try again. The controls can be daunting, and so many sections require quickly chaining them together. But the thing is… Super Cloudbuilt is difficult to control, but not at all in a bad way – in fact, it has some of the smoothest, most rewarding controls I’ve ever come across. Starting out, the basics are easy enough to learn – putting them together in increasingly challenging areas and mastering them is where the real challenge lies. You’ll likely find yourself dead a lot, but the trial and error is surprisingly fun with a great payoff when you finally succeed. It’s a game that actually feels good to get better at.
Going in, I was told to expect a great soundtrack. The music along the way is incredible – it’s a soundtrack I’d gladly listen to on its own anytime. This was paired with a gorgeous artstyle – everything in Super Cloudbuilt looks like a masterful coloured sketch. It’s an aesthetic that felt almost too lovely to rush through. Together, they gave Super Cloudbuilt an atmosphere of complete wonder and majesty. It never got old.
I wish I’d been able to get further in – I might have been able to write more about this incredible game. But please don’t take the short review as a lack of interest – this was one of the best surprises I had during my #loveindies challenge, and I definitely fell in love with the art, the music, the gameplay, and the mystery behind Demi’s new world. I’d gladly recommend this game to any player who likes platformers or a challenge.
And with that, our #loveindies series for this year comes to a close! If you’re still with us now, I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the games we tried over the week. I’ve been really excited any time a friend or viewer has told me they were inspired to go take a look at some new indie titles themselves, and I was really happy to fall in love with other styles and genres all over again – I’ve been stuck in an MMO rut, and this definitely broke me back out. All of the games we covered for the past two weeks are ones I’d gladly recommend trying out! Don’t see anything your style? I promise – there are plenty of things out there for you if you take a look. In fact, that’s what The Geekly Grind is here for – we love covering indie games and independent developers!
For now, #loveindies may be over, but I plan to keep an eye out on a lot of upcoming titles and try out new things all year round. I hope you’ll do the same!