Cloudberry Kingdom is a crafty little bugger. It's that syrupy sweet name; put it together with the game's bubblegum visuals and you'd expect nothing dangerous or unpleasant, save perhaps a minor toothache. But beware - in truth, Cloudberry is out to spoil a lot more than your appetite.
What makes this 2D side-scrolling platformer unique is that thanks to fancy algorithms, clever computer AI and other such things we don't entirely understand, it procedurally generates a potentially infinite number of levels. You can use the custom level builder in Free Play mode to choose a difficulty and any handicaps, and use sliders to tweak the frequency of passive and aggressive obstacles in the level.
Story Mode attempts to attach some semblance of a narrative to proceedings, with hero Bob - a grouchy, middle-aged, 'washed-up' hero with a paunch - on a quest to save an apathetic princess from evil King Kobbler. All that stands between Bob and victory are laser death beams, disappearing platforms, fireballs, serpents, swings, spikes, bugs, bounce platforms, collapsing walls and a variety of other obstacles, in ever-increasing and near-impossible amounts. If the comically generic story doesn't grab you - and it's unlikely that it will - The Arcade offers greater challenges, with themed trials applying cumulative difficulty to test your skill, and your patience.
If you don't fancy enduring repeated runs on your lonesome, you can rope in up to four friends via local co-op multiplayer. But, if you do decide to go it alone, you can attempt to tone down the difficulty by pressing Y during a level and using one of Cloudberry's various power-ups. One highlights a path through the chaos, another allows you to watch the computer complete the level, and a third lets you slow down time to make things a little easier on your poor, unworthy thumbs.
But despite theoretically infinite variety there isn't enough actual weight to Cloudberry to keep boredom at bay, particularly during Story Mode, which starts to drag fairly early on. Platformers are best experienced as complete, carefully constructed worlds, and slogging through a computer-generated supply of never-ending, randomly pieced-together levels robs you of the sense of satisfaction found in completely conquering a game, and gradually robs Cloudberry of any semblance of the charm or inventiveness it initially possessed.
Like an everlasting gobstopper, you can buy Cloudberry for peanuts and certainly get your money's worth in terms of quantity. But play it just long enough, and it quickly loses its flavour.
Download the game here for 800 MP.
Sweet to start, but soon loses its flavour
- Great value for money
- Plenty of challenge for platforming fiends
- Stop-motion cutscenes are adorable
- Randomised content often looks slapdash
- Music is unpleasantly jarring