I’m no speedrunner, let me tell you that. I’ve never sat down with a game with the thought of blitzing through its levels as fast as possible – not even when I’m pushing it tight on a review deadline I’ve set myself. That all changed with Super Cloudbuilt. I’ve been converted, though I’m going to hazard a guess that my career as a L33T Mad Skillz Speedrunner will be restricted to Super Cloudbuilt.
Super Cloudbuilt isn’t just about competing for high-scores, though I’ll touch more on that later. Primarily, it’s a single player experience with a rock-solid story. It’s a little confusing to begin with as you’re thrown into the game without warning. It serves to give you a little bit of freedom to find your own flow, as it were, before you find out that the ghostly apparition you’ve been throwing around is actually your subconscious being let free because your physical self is stuck in a hospital bed, comatose from some horrific war injuries.
Despite the game looking a little cartoony with its comic-book aesthetic, it’s actually a rather sombre and moving tale. Although I can’t personally relate to war injuries – aside from the Great Snowball Fight of 2004 and my bloodied nose – I still felt for Demi, the poor girl stuck in the bed while her imagination goes for a wander. It’s a tight story that’s a little hard to follow at times, but it’s still grounded by the frequent visits back to the hospital where Demi’s mind gets a little better, though she’s still pretty much vegged physically. Dark stuff, man. Dark stuff indeed. You’ll find five or six hours of content with the game’s story, though that may differ depending on your skills. Personally, I’m rubbish. I died a lot…
Despite falling to my death more times than I care to share, I didn’t get overly frustrated thanks to the game’s generous checkpoint system. Plus, it helps that the game’s actually fun to play, right? Across the game’s 30 levels you’ll have to master the art of free-running, wall-jumping, and all other acrobatic moves that just aren’t possible in real life. Think Titanfall 2 but in third-person, and that’s what you’ve got in terms of mobility. It’s actually frightening how quickly you can traverse the environments, and if you’re not paying attention (me!) you’ll wind up missing your mark and sending Demi spiralling towards nothingness. Ouch.
It’s not just get from point A to point B. There’s some combat involved, though I wouldn’t recommend investing in Super Cloudbuilt if you’re looking for a dedicated shooter. There are enemies that come in the forms of evil robots and deadly turrets, though they aren’t really that deadly. If I’m being honest, they were more a nuisance than a threat, and sometimes it was quicker to just bypass them with my mad jumping, wall-running, and boosting skills. There’s actually a few different modes outside of the story mode, one of which demands that you do no shooting, though this is a little harder as there are some parts where if you don’t shoot, you’ll need to take a tricky route to reach your goal. Another mode will have you skipping around like a lamb as you try to avoid any damage at all, then there’s the ranked leaderboards, which brings me onto speedrunning…
Like I said, I’m no speedrunner, but Super Cloudbuilt has given me the bug. At the end of each level you can see your position on the rankings which are based on your times. It’s this that got me telling myself to have one more go, which naturally ended up being 10. Seeing your rank climb incrementally as you find new routes and faster methods to reach the level’s end is a kind of addiction, or at least for me it is.
The extra modes, whether it be ranked runs, no-killing tests, or the game’s rush mode that challenges you to complete a set of tasks within a certain time, are all great little additions to the base game that’ll provide hours and hours of playtime beyond the story mode.
On a technical level we’re looking at a really unique game, though it’s not quite without its flaws. While the art direction is amazing and looks great in motion, it’s the little hiccups in the game’s performance that aren’t quite up to par. It’s not a major thing but it’s worth mentioning all the same, but the game can jitter at times momentarily. It never really affected my runs, though I guess I may have just gotten lucky.
The real standout star of the show is in the game’s general presentation which, would you believe, is customisable! Yes, you can actually change the graphics to your own liking. How about that? There are a few different versions of the game’s comic-book style graphics to choose from, and each of them are wonderfully realised.
I think I’m somewhere between 14-15 hours into Super Cloudbuilt and most of my time has been spent chasing the leaderboards. Am I very high on them? No. Will I ever be? No. I’ve not got the mad skills required. Not to sound like a parent with a shit kid at sports day, but it really is the taking part that’s fun.
Super Cloudbuilt PS4 Review
Super Cloudbuilt is a genuinely good, challenging, and well put together game. There's a decent story mode on offer, a whole bunch of free-running skills to acquire, learn, and then master, as well as multiple game modes to run through. Oh, and speedrunning - my new favourite not-real sport.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.