Cloudberry Kingdom PlayStation 3 Review

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Pwnee Studios set out to create an immensely varied and challenging retro platformer in Cloudberry Kingdom, and they’ve overwhelmingly succeeded. The studio smartly tapped the international distribution prowess of publisher Ubisoft to reach the largest audience possible. Cloudberry Kingdom is a downloadable title available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U, and a PlayStation Vita launch has also been confirmed but a release date isn’t currently available.

Cloudberry Kingdom offers an insane amount of obstacles to overcome in each bite sized level. Smiley face spiked wrecking balls, large gaps, spikes protruding from the ground, vanishing platforms, floating enemies, and even pursuant spike walls stand between you and the portal to the next level. Any combination of these obstacles can be present within a level, Cloudberry Kingdom is procedurally generated, so good luck if you want a “consistent” experience. Since the game relies fully on platforming, level design is key. The random level generator delivers great level design time and time again. The guys at Pwnee wanted to offer a bit of fun along with your inevitable rage induced nosebleeds. Another great feature is the level editor, it lets you create your own blend of doom for your friends to cry over, but the omission of online support for this feature is a tragedy all it’s own.

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Your character, Bob is also heavily varied. His powers include single and double jump, as well as rocket boosters. The game also decides to throw several curve balls your way. Bob may appear trapped in an orb, a box, on a pogo stick, or any other twisted assortment of hurdles to further challenge you. The amount of diversity adds to the “I am a genius!” factor when you flawlessly complete a tough level. Each level follows the same overall framework, but the plethora of death resulting obstructions keep you moving without hesitation. Timing and precision are the keys to success in Cloudberry Kingdom. One slip up and Bob’s done for. I found some of the powers to be less responsive than others. The rocket boots trajectory felt inconsistent, and in-level checkpoints, more often than not, put you directly in harms way. Being trapped inside the orb was a seriously frustrating occurrence, but the momentum created when rolling felt realistic and coherent. Quick tip: Keep moving forward, without hesitation.

The silly plot puts you in control of a retired hero (Bob) who’s washed his hands of endlessly rescuing the Princess from Kobbler, our maniacal antagonist. The plot is reminiscent of Wreck it Ralph in some ways, but nonetheless it’s a fun jab at the Super Mario Bros. formula.

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Cloudberry Kingdom’s representation of retro graphics work on some level, but there’s an inconsistency between the foreground sprites, and the seldom changing background images. Don’t get me wrong, Cloudberry Kingdom is aesthetically pleasing, but sometimes it looks like the aforementioned foreground and background are from two separate games. A retro soundtrack keeps the action moving reasonably well, but the tracks recycle often. There’s a limited amount of character customization available, but it’s fun to create a bearded, cape wearing Toadstool to infinitely punish.

At the end of the day, Cloudberry Kingdom offers a unique set of predicaments to overcome while platforming your ass off. The visual stimulation you’re constantly blindsided with could very well make you feel like a manchild in the gaming department, and the insane difficulty may leave you hairless. But the randomly generated levels and innovative platforming blueprint make Cloudberry Kingdom more than worth the heart palpitations. Don’t just go into it with your head in the clouds..

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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