Eric Kelly On March 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Cloudbuilt 005Cloudbuilt is an interesting take on the third-person parkour gameplay that was first introduced in Mirror’s Edge. I had the chance to try out the beta, and it looks to be the game to fill in the void until Mirror’s Edge 2 comes out. But it also has its own aesthetic that will provide something different from that title.

The game is set in a dreamworld created by the subconscious mind of the protagonist. She is apparently in a coma after facing incredible trauma, and her recovery program at the hospital is a man-machine interface that lets her slowly recover via training exercises generated by her mind and the virtual reality software that creates the dreamscape levels you will be hurtling through.

The levels themselves are platforming challenges that will have your character performing all kinds of third-person parkour, but there is also a twist: you can also shoot enemies and take damage, while using rocket-propelled jet-pack boosts to assist you. So in addition to using the jet-pack to wall-run up and around walls or ramps, you have enemies and environments hazards to deal with. Almost as if an inspiration from Mega Man, your character is also clad in a suit resembling the blue bomber’s, and there gun can also be charged. You do have unlimited ammo, but you will eventually have to reload, which is done automatically, but it does leave you vulnerable. More importantly, the object of the game is to get through the levels as fast as possible. There are a variety of ways to find the most efficient routes, and the best ranks will grant you with permanent live increases, to allow for more attempts per level. There is a pretty catchy soundtrack to get you in the mood for speed-running on each level.

In between levels you can check the computer in your room, for data entries that flesh out the game’s stories. As a beta, there were only so many levels to access, but the game looks pretty intriguing. There’s only one major gripe I had with it. The beta lacks any gamepad support, and despite what some people might think, the mouse and keyboard combo was too difficult for me to get used to. I’d often click the wrong button when I meant to jump, and I’d boost, then fall of the cliff and die instead. There was also the issue of my computer deciding it was suffering from sticky keys, which of course screws up my game by losing control. This is because the sticky keys message takes priority over other programs when active. It also has the effect of hurting my hands because I basically have to awkwardly claw my fingers to minimize input errors. While this sounds not so great, I’m sure the full game will feature full gamepad support though, which is great since I’m a gamepad kinda guy anyway.

Other issues likely to be addressed are having more checkpoints or making sure that the ones that are there actually work. Because sometimes certain routes will skip over checkpoints, which need to be physically touched, making alternate routes riskier than others, unless of course that’s the point. But outside of these issues, Cloudbuilt seems like a very promising take on the parkour-runner genre. Be sure to check it out later on March 20th.

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