Cloudpunk – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure game
Developer: ION LANDS
Publisher: ION LANDS
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Tested on: PS4

Cloudpunk – Review

Site Score
9.3
Good: Scenic city to explore
Bad: Floaty car controls
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The science-fiction subgenre known as cyberpunk is really in right now, especially with an entire game borrowing the name and everything. Whether the appeal lies in the bright lights of futuristic cities or the dystopian atmosphere that often surrounds them is unclear, but Cloudpunk embraces the aesthetic like no other. Bringing us a neon-noir adventure based around exploring the high-topped city of Nivalis is this second game by indie developer and publisher ION LANDS.

Story

Rania is a young woman down on her luck, having recently lost her home and family and being forced to move to the sprawling metropolis called Nivalis. To make some cash she takes up a job as a delivery driver working at Cloudpunk, an illicit business all about delivering packages that can’t move through legal channels. There are only two rules: don’t be late and never ask about what’s in the packages. Through her work, Rania gets in touch with a whole assortment of people from all across the city, both human and android, from the rich upper class to the criminals living in the slums. Inadvertently she gets involved with many different events happening in the city, for better or worse, and ends up helping out in a case or two.

Cloudpunk tells most of its story through character dialogue and there are no real cutscenes. Conversations are had with your clients as well as the person giving you directions simply called Control and a dog AI that serves as Rania’s best friend.

Graphics

When first entering the sprawling city of Nivalis, you might be blown away by its apparent complexity. The graphics really shine the most in the design of the buildings and walkways, floating in the air and interlaced with bright colors. Just flying around them in your car can already occupy you for quite a while and is a treat on the eyes. Up close when walking around the graphics still look fine, it’s just then that you notice how pixelated it all really is. Especially on the characters, this can be a bit of a let-down. The character portraits on the other hand are beautiful.

Sound

Cloudpunk comes with the synth-wave soundtrack you would expect from Sci-Fi these days. Cruising around with it playing in the background can be a blast and there’s a great variety. Unlike some indie titles, the game is fully voiced and while some performances of side characters can be a bit frown-worthy in the acting department, the main cast does an excellent job. If you’re mid-conversation when entering a new area and moving through a load screen, the conversation continues on the other side, which is also a relief.

Gameplay

Cloudpunk is an adventure game with minimal gameplay and more focus on exploration and story. Playing as Rania your main objective is always to pick up a package and bring it from point A to B. To do this you use a flying car called a HOVA to brave the crazy Novalis traffic. You can explore the city at your leisure since there are no time limits and wherever there’s a parking spot you can park and get out of your car to walk around. There are vendors you can visit and a whole assortment of characters to meet, some of them offering side-quests. Plenty of loot can also be found just by walking around town.

While a lot of it is optional, there are some things to do besides following along with the main story. Completing deliveries reward you with money to spend on things, such as upgrading your HOVA and buying furniture for your apartment. Especially that first one is a requirement because early on the controls of the car can feel a bit floaty. Overall it isn’t the most involved gameplay but since the game is pretty short it doesn’t wear thin as much as it would with a longer game. During the dialogue, choices are sometimes presented to you meaning you can have some influence on how the narrative plays out.

The game is open-world and will not stop you from going wherever you like, with the exception of some locked secret locations you will have to work for to access. The POV can also be altered from first-person to third-person at will and there is an option to turn off the UI for taking scenic screenshots.

Conclusion

Cloudpunk is an interesting experiment in conceptualization. While its limited gameplay might lean more towards a walking simulator (sometimes in a vehicle), the design of the city and the interesting world that lies beneath the surface make this an adventure well worth undertaking.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Cloudpunk - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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