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Cloudbuilt’s sadistic parkour gauntlet makes Dark Souls 2 look easy

Thursday, 20 March 2014 09:33 GMT By Dave Cook

Cloudbuilt is the new 3D parkour runner from Coilworks, and it’s currently got Dave Cook smacking his head off a brick wall. It’s hard and uncomprising, but when did you ever shy away from a challenge?

Cloudbuilt_header_article

I haven’t played a game as hard as Cloudbuilt in a long time, but I’m not entirely convinced its challenge comes from a good place.

The pain begins straight after the initial tutorial teaches you the fundamentals of wall-running, which is activated by jumping into any vertical surface at an angle. You’ve also got a suite of jet-pack moves at your disposal, such as boosting up walls, double-jumping and dashing through hazards, all of which you’ll need if you want to survive the sadistic gauntlet laid down by developer Coilworks.

At base level this feels like Mirror’s Edge with a turbo mode, spliced with Sonic Adventure’s time challenges. As I missed a single jump, only to be sent back to the start of the first stage several times, I was reminded of trying to beat Sega’s S-Rank on Emerald Coast, where one wrong move can mean the difference between victory, failure or death. This is a game for speed-runners and those who enjoy combo-based gameplay.

There’s no combo system to speak of as such, but you will find yourself chaining jumps and wall manoeuvres to find the best route through stages over and over until you nail that perfect run. This also means you’ll be dying a lot, which isn’t helped along by a shortage of checkpoints in each stage. Even when you’re not trying to complete a decent time on a stage, you’ll still find yourself killed often and – at times – inexplicably as a wall boost fails to connect, or you get blind-sided by a floating laser drone shooting you from out of view.

You’ll need to memory map every inch of your preferred route down to the finest detail to emerge before all of your retries run out. Where do enemies appear? Is there a quicker way to bypass this annoying section? Why are my ears bleeding plasma? If you’re someone who doesn’t like having to retry games often then I guarantee you will lose your mind playing Cloudbuilt. It’s made to be difficult, but by christ it gets too hard, too fast. Honestly, I’m shit at it, although I can still see the appeal. But first, I need to address why you might not like it.

”From the start there are tons of small platforms flanked by death drops, areas where – if you cock up a wall run – you’re going to have a rough time trying to get back out, and a section that’s being continually bombarded by giant pink mortar strikes of “fuck you.”

I found the learning curve excruciating at first, because from the start there are tons of small platforms flanked by death drops, areas where – if you cock up a wall run – you’re going to have a rough time trying to get back out, and a section that’s being continually bombarded by giant pink mortar strikes of “fuck you.” I died, marvelled at how difficult the first stage was and hit retry until my lives ran out. After that I restarted the stage from scratch. It’s really, really difficult.

But I tell you what – and this could be the big ‘sell’ for you – once you finally cross that finish line with no lives lost you’ll want to punch air. Completionists who strive for ‘no death’ runs will probably feel their hearts beat irregularly with every jump over cloudy oblivion, until they know for damn sure they’re going to land on solid ground unscathed. As a Dark Souls fan I know this feeling all too well, but I can’t help but feel Cloudbuilt’s challenge is tarnished by some technical issues.

It’s a fast game, so you’re always going to botch some jumps here and there, but even when taking things slow I had moments where a vertical wall run failed to connect, causing me to fall to my death, or when the camera got confused to the point I jumped in the wrong direction. I should add that you jump wherever your mouse cursor is pointing, and that’s fine, but it can prove clunky and uncomfortable over time. I’d like to have a pad option. There were times where I’d try to jump off ledges only to drop down and hang from the lip when all I wanted to do was jump a little later to get more distance beneath my feet.

Cloudbuilt_1

There are areas that make it hard to learn early on. One corridor in the second stage lingers in my mind, as there’s a drone-dispensing machine spewing attackers constantly until you run past it, followed quickly by another lane with tiny platforms, book-ended by a turret firing waves of bullets at you. It’s madness, and it’s a real shock to the system if you’re unprepared for it. I’ve been playing an early build ahead of this week’s release, so the final code probably has the technical issues I mentioned ironed out. I can only go by what I experienced so far however.

This isn’t a game for me, I obviously have to be honest here, but I do like the way that Coilworks has captured the tension of endless runners and transported it into a third-person format. The acrobatic feats do feel great if they work or when the scenery isn’t fighting you, and there’s also a little light gunplay in there for the ‘pew-pew’ pack, so there’s definitely lots to be getting on with. I’m just not a big fan of the anxiety that comes with speed runs. They stress me out and the constant restarting gets old really fast. I S-ranked every stage on Sonic Adventure back in the day, but I can’t go back there man, never again.

I just hope that the words above make it clear if you’ll like Cloudbuilt or not. I’m not about to slam a game I’m rubbish at just because I got beat, that’d be massively unprofessional of me. I’ll say this though: the feeling when you do discover a new, more-efficient route that cuts time and danger off your run felt the same as opening a new shortcut in Dark Souls, or even beating my best Sega Rally 2 time by an eighth of a second. If you know that feeling well, and are prepared to work for it, then you should probably give this a go.

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2 Comments

  1. Cool P

    This looks like great fun!

    #1 1 year ago
  2. TheWulf

    I want the thing!

    Though I don’t say that without reservations, but tiny reservations they are, since I know they can be fixed.

    The combat. It worries me.

    What I thought was very reminiscent of Dave’s reaction. This is like Mirror’s Edge, and Sonic, and all that good stuff! I feel that those games were at their beset though when they were about escaping obstacles rather than directly combating foes. Parts of the ‘Escape from the City’ level of Sonic Adventure 2 come to mind, where you’re running from the giant truck and avoiding obstacles. That was always 3D Sonic at its best.

    The weird thing about the original 2D Sonic is that the enemies didn’t actually move much, their projectiles were very slow, and you couldn’t shoot back at them. Sometimes, if you were going for the best time in an original Sonic level, you’d be looking to avoid a bunch of enemies because taking them out actually cost you valuable seconds.

    That’s something that modern designers don’t take into account so much. Adding a gun to Sonic, which is what Mirror’s Edge did, just doesn’t work. Nor does having very agile enemies. What you want, mostly, is obstacles to be avoided, you don’t want to be fighting things, you want to be running for the end and trying to make the best time without getting hit — that’s what Sonic was about for the pro players.

    Adding a gun and martial arts to Sonic was what everyone believed to be the low point of Mirror’s Edge, it was hands-down what sucked the most about it. The best loved thing about Mirror’s Edge, to my memory, was the crazy and somewhat Mario-esque levels where it was just coloured blocks and your goal was to navigate through them as quickly as possible, with no combat involved. That was Mirror’s Edge at its best, and I agreed.

    I loved Mirror’s Edge having a story, but every time Mirror’s Edge stopped me to fight something, it sucked. Every time.

    The thing is is that it’s all about adrenaline, flow, and personal rhythm. You’re blasting your way through it at breakneck speeds, the last thing you want is something that makes you slow down to turtle speeds just so you can aim accurately. That takes away from the fun and the thrill of it all. And this is what so many developers are failing to understand with these games. The challenge should never come from combat, it should come from environmental hazards and obstacles. It should come from an object that randomly, slowly floats around and occasionally gets in your way, or the risk of falling into a pit of death if you make one, wrong move.

    The combat, on top of that, becomes a tacky gimmick that removes from the game itself. It makes the game less fun. And there’s absolutely no way that you can keep the speed and the flow going if you have to stop to carefully aim at enemies, it’s not possible. Parkour + Gun = Fail.

    However…

    I bet they’re throwing in lots of levels with no enemies, and if they allow us to create levels, people who understand this are going to create challenge levels with no enemies in them at all. Which is how it really should be.

    I think they’re worried about the stigma attached to infinite runners, but that’s not what this is. This is a game about skill, where a level has a beginning and end point, and your skill dictates how quickly you get through the level. I think they’re only adding combat because they’re worried that a less intelligent audience will lose interest without it.

    But almost every Mirror’s Edge player recognised that combat was a detriment to it, anyway. So I think that this sort of game just doesn’t even appeal to the mainstream in the first place, so trying to shoe-horn in combat will only hurt it in the long run.

    But even if they never realise that, there will still be people making maps for it that will solve that problem.

    The only thing that could ever make this a no-sale for me would be if they said that they weren’t releasing a level editor with it.

    #2 1 year ago

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    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]