Indie developer Coilworks has delivered a speedrunner fan’s wet dream with their new game “Cloudbuilt.” The developers have utilized an art style similar to that of the Borderlands series with this upcoming game and it pays off quite nice for them.
Core gameplay involves navigating through broken up terrain with the use of a gun and a bar of fuel that recharges when not spending it or jumping. The fuel can be used to do a variety of things like exploding forward, jet packing up a wall, or wall running. The most difficult challenge of mastery is mostly getting the hang of wall running. That can mean to jump from wall to wall, attack creatures while wall running, or avoid mines on the wall. A fun feature is that in every level you can obtain a personal checkpoint, which you can place anywhere in the level. Additionally, if you have less than six lives remaining it ups it back to six when placed.
The game starts off with some fragments of a story as you follow a friendly glowing ball through what appears to be ruins as you are taught the basic controls. Besides what I learnt from that tutorial and maybe one or two levels later, those are the mechanics that the player works with throughout the entire game. By no means is this a negative, for the mechanics are difficult to master.
When you choose a level you do so as a ghost of the main character accessing her thoughts as she lies half-dead on a bed. Every time you enter this room the protagonist will share a thought blurb on the situation and you can also access a bit of lore details via a computer nearby. On the level select screen each level is marked with a difficulty of one to ten. During my playthrough I was able to play a mission of all difficulties and can certainly say the level ten was no joke.
The overall structure of a mission can be determined by where it is on the map. The levels in the darkest, foggiest parts of the map are filled with many devices that can cause harm to you where those in the whitest are normally vacant of enemies but have more of a focus on climbing and the potential to fall off.
The game opens with some faint glimmers of a story, but as one progresses that hope for a story fades as nothing new seems to be introduced. There is never a cutscene or a lost character who tells you what is going on. All the enemies are robots so that does not really help and the protagonist is the only human the player ever sees. The game is supposed to be the playing of memories but never do those memories fill the player in on what exactly is going on. Perhaps the very ending of the game but definitely not the middle bulk.
Despite a lack of story, the game at its core succeeds as a fast-paced platformer. It has everything a speedrunner could want with tons of extra jet fuel in overly difficult but potentially faster directions that I seldom utilized because I was more so just trying to complete each level. Every level had several directions that the player could choose to go and that is where the game shined most. In most situations, if I kept dying down one path I could simply find another route to take. The game is filled with what felt like a hundred levels, making it extremely impressive that each two-five minute level can be done in a large number of ways.
Cloudbuilt is available March 20th on Steam.