Cloudberry Kingdom joins the likes of such other indie titles as Super Meat Boy in the genre of hardcore 2D platformers. Focusing solely on traversing from left to right and avoiding numerous obstacles, the game is extremely basic at its core. Despite this, it’s still enjoyable and addicting, and its main selling point of procedurally generated levels that form based on how well you play works surprisingly well.
The game does have numerous preset levels in the form of a story mode, complete with a few cutscenes featuring voice work from such actors as Kevin Sorbo. There are only a few of these though, so this isn’t a game you’ll want to play because of an involved plot. The focus is on old-school platform traversal, with many obstacles along the way.
Players control an avatar that goes by the name of Bob, who is fairly customizable for a 2D sprite, with different hats and facial hair available to pick from at the start. Up to four players can control their own Bob at once, as an optional co-op feature is available.
Though the level and background themes can look different, they generally all play the same. Your goal is simply to reach the end of each level, but it’s easier said than done. You’ll see plenty of bottomless pits, spikes, and spinning fire columns aiming to end your journey. Thankfully, you have an unlimited amount of lives in the campaign and can easily earn more in other modes, and many story mode levels contain midway checkpoints as well. This results in a constant desire to keep trying, with the frustration level often being low due to the short length of each level.
I say often because you will inevitably reach levels that are true tests of your skill, especially with the campaign’s later presets. You’ll practically be navigating through mazes of obstacles at points, but I did find it possible to settle into a sort of groove while playing, and did much better than I expected.
The procedurally generated component of Cloudberry Kingdom comes in the form of several other robust modes, which manage to keep things fresh with the addition of several alternate playing methods. These include having Bob continually bounce, be given a double jump or hover, or even pilot a spaceship. The default modes use a one-at-a-time approach, with individual modes for each method, most of which are unlockable by playing up to a certain level in the ones initially provided.
More dynamic is added via the Hero Rush mode, which seems to randomly choose a different control method for each level. In both it and a more straightforward timed mode, you’re tasked with a continually decreasing timer, which you can add more time to by picking up numerous gems strewn throughout each level. Those who are looking for an extra level of challenge will definitely want to try these two out for sure, as a result of their added difficulty curves and interesting nature.
A minor issue is the fact that the game has an overly bland art style outside of some of the level backgrounds. Obstacles and enemies look very generic and don’t have much in the way of unique animations or features. The music also has its fair share of techno tracks that are serviceable, but not particularly memorable. Thankfully, the good gameplay manages to make up for the lack of pizazz.
Though Cloudberry Kingdom comes with its fair share of frustration, I had a lot of fun with it overall. Offering a good amount of variety and challenge, as well as proving to be quite addicting, it’s definitely recommended for those looking for either a decent diversion or a new game to master.
This review is based on the PS3 version of the game, which was provided to us for review purposes.
Cloudberry Kingdom lacks personality, but it offers solid platforming, good gameplay variety, and lots of challenge to make up for it.