Cloudpunk Gamescom 2020 Review
Delivery job gameplay? Check.
Voxel graphics? Check.
Constantly raining Blade Runner-esque environment and characters that want to say “this game is cyberpunk”? Check.
Welcome to Cloudpunk.
The game is being showcased this year at Gamescom 2020’s Indie Arena Booth and we here at Hyper Light Up have had the awesome chance to check out the game and bring you our impressions on it. The game has of course already released on Steam (on the 23rd of April specifically) and has therefore been available for the public, for a while now. That being said, no occassion other than Gamescom running would be better to write a review for this game and tell you all what it is all about.
So let’s jump right into it!
Cloudpunk at first sight looks like a simple yet relaxing title where you get to drive a HOVA (futuristic hover car) around a city where it always rains in order to keep the Blade Runner cyberpunk vibe going. Pretty neon lights around you and a cast of voice actors to give life to all the characters in the game already put you in the game’s cool electric vibe. Get out of the car, pick up a package, get back in the car, drive, talk to the operator, deliver. Simple enough, right?
Well, this is where the real essence of Cloudpunk comes in.
What at first seemed like a game where you just drive around delivering things, soon enough becomes a game with moral choices and a story arc that may or may not captivate you. Personally, I found it somewhat dull and very shallow but then again, that’s just my take on it. Being a cinephile and even more so a huge fan of the cyberpunk genre, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the story and the narrative behind the characters of Cloudpunk. I could easily see what the creators of the game wanted to pass on with their “anxiously behaving” characters but the whole point of Cyberpunk is something more than just talking about being able to get a body enhancement or how hard it is to access a taller building because a rich guy owns it.
There were some random characters at various hubs around the city who had their own little parts that they would showcase once you talked to them, but that was pretty much it. I actually like how flat some characters were made on purpose in order to connect us to how simple people are in the future that Cloudpunk is set in. The streamer guy with his “bro-brothers” and the crazy guy that lost his loved one and suddenly has no other purpose in life than to find her. The characters were great, but were not connected to what the game was about, therefore just adding a little bit of a flair in order to make the ground activities less dull.
Let’s talk about Rania though, the main character. She starts off all cool and easygoing and as soon as we learn more and more about her, we discover that there’s more to her than meets the eye. Now, I will of course not spoil anything but I just have to say that I just couldn’t keep up with the pace of the story after a while since I just stopped caring. Despite the gameplay being extremely relaxing and quite interesting, the story (which should have been the main thing keeping me in a game with that sort of gameplay) just stopped being engaging. As a player, I felt as if I was given no good reasons to keep caring for the characters in the game and I blame that on the weird build-up of the main character’s narrative more than anything.
I have to say that I did start playing the game expecting much less and ended up getting offered a whole lot more, so in the end of the day, my gameplay experience with Cloudpunk was actually really nice. The graphics perfectly matched the cyberpunk-looking world that ION Lands made and the controls were so easy to use that I got the hang of them from the first few minutes. A good game in my opinion makes you want to play more from the first ten minutes or so and Cloudpunk definitely achieved that.
The game is amazing for what it sets out to do, with very relaxing gameplay mechanics and a neon-drenched city to explore. Just don’t go playing Cloudpunk expecting it to be the sort of game that will ask philosophical questions or end up in a very interesting and cliffhanger-filled narrative because, unfortunately, the cyberpunk you see in it is just for show and has nothing to do with what cyberpunk is really about when it comes to actual narrative. You won’t find questions about the political divide, or questions about man and machine, or about transhumanism, or, or, or… You get the point. It’s just neon lights and flying cars. Oh and a few robots. Cloudpunk most certainly is sci-fi.
The game is already available on Steam and a release is planned for consoles sometime in the remaining months of 2020.
You can watch the trailer for Cloudpunk here.
~Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis