Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Review No. 105 Cloudbuilt - PC (10+)

Strong Points:
Great gameplay
Nice, different, graphical style
Great music
Good speedrunning game
Gameplay gives you lots of freedom
Completing a section perfectly gives you a great sense of achievement
Storyline is nicely paced and keeps you going
Lots of levels
4 modes adds a bit more variety
Level editor is very in-depth...

Weak Points:
Graphics locked to very low for lots of laptops (with a graphics card of about 512mb)
Skins are not available for lots of laptops (with a graphics card of about 512mb)
Storyline never quite lives up to its potential
Huge difficulty spikes
Can be a bit unfair
Thinly spread checkpoints
Levels are quite long for this type of game
A/S Rank (or really anything above C) are really (and I mean really) difficult to get
... but perhaps a bit complicated/in need of polishing

Rating: 76%

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
World Wide: 20 March, 2014

W,A,S,D: movement
Space: jump/boost
Control: drop down
Left Mouse Button: shoot/charge shot
Right Mouse Button: zoom in with your gun

Never has the word cloud been more appropriate in a videogame title (you know other than games which are actually about clouds, of course). This is due to the freedom that the game gives you. By that, I mean that it isn't as precise as, let's say, Mario but, instead, holds multiple paths and huge jumps (with boosts (that require a certain amount of energy - rechargeable by standing still - and wall climbs) over small, concise platforms. That's not to say that it's not difficult, it is, but it's difficult in a different way.

Quite a bit of it is the unfairness of it all such as by missing a jump by an inch, failing a climb by an inch or hitting an enemy as you hurtle through space while desperately trying to calculate how much booster fuel you have left as well as when the last checkpoint was. I like to think that I like challenging games and, in some of the game's slightly easier levels, it is challenging and I can revel in it. Sadly, however, a lot of my deaths have been caused by slight misses and parts where, I feel, the game just wants to spite me. This is never more pronounced than in the ranking system.

Like normal, you are rated on a scale of D to S ranks but the difference between these two ranks is phenomenal (I have yet to even make a B rank). I have played through some of the levels to the best of my ability and I don't even have a clue as to how I could improve. Not that the game helps with that as checkpoints are unevenly placed (you can place one of your own or another after you find one) and death, not only leads to a gameover screen after so many, also detracts from your final time. And, so, in order to get even close to the higher ranks a flawless run is needed.

In addition, once you die, all enemies respawn and, so, you can find yourself making almost no progress or getting killed off by something that you had already killed! That is, if you can even kill the enemies as a lot of them have shields protecting them (either forcing you to get in close so as to disable it or dodge around them).

Other than the gameplay, the music is superb and the graphical style is a standout. However, I have been locked at very low textures (and have been unable to access any of the alternate skins) due to my 512 MB graphics card. Now, while I know that this isn't a great graphics card, most, high end games, allow me to view it in medium to high quality (and allow me to be able see the text without it being terribly pixelated). Finally, the storyline, while never quite living up to its potential, is intriguing enough to warrant a playthrough of the levels. The three modes other than normal (collect beacons to progress; endless boosters and where judged on the amount of boosts that you use rather than the amount of time it takes you to complete the level) are a nice addition to the game and add a certain amount of variability to the gameplay

Overall, Cloudbuilt is an interesting, and intriguing little title, that never quite lives up to it's potential in anything other than music and freedom. But with four modes and a great speedrunnning opportunity as well as lot's of levels there is a lot here (although perhaps for a higher end PC).  

Goodbye for now, Harry 

Level Editor - updated and slightly modified version of the one used by Coilworks to make the game's main levels. Can be used to make levels or even entire modes! You need the Defiance DLC to use elements from it as well as to play levels containing elements from it. The tools are also integrated with Steamworks so uploading and downloading maps is incredibly easy

Templates for all the themes used in the main games have been added to the Coilworks contributions section of the Steam Workshop
Fixed bug with drain fields
Fixed bugs with outdated scripts
Fixed do that the custom level menu don’t freeze when you have subscribed to a level with corrupt meta data
Fixed so that you can select what custom level to play, no matter the file path of your steam directory
Fixed a bug with the menu when unsubscribing from a lot of levels and resubscribing
Fixed so that you can see the name of the creator even if the person is not on your friend list
Fixed default view for asset and texture manager to be the grid view
Fixed the utility renderer so that shapes and lines in the editor get drawn
Fixed the handling of meta data, so uploading of new levels will work better
(Tried to address the invisible GUI elements, but the bug actually seem to be persistent in the release version, we will continue to investigate this bug)
Fixed an auto save function that will save your level in the background every 7 minutes, and cycle between 6 different files, so if the editor crashes, keep in mind that you can go in and get those files. (not automatic system to detect incorrect shutdowns and load backups yet)
Fixed duplication to handle selection of the new objects correctly
Fixed the auto switching of the properties window to the target selection to work in all cases
You can now easily import all level you are subscribed to and start editing them to create your own version

Fixed a bug with the ending sequences sometime didn’t play 
Fixed a bug where the camera in those outro sequences didn’t play correctly 
Added feature to re watch any ending from the workstation in the room.
Fixed the bugged GUI, so there should no longer be any invisible elements 
Improved the open scene menu to be more robust but also easier to navigate 
You can now scroll over the popup menus to move them up and down. Helpful if the menus are too large to be down on one screen

Leader boards for custom levels now implemented 
A more robust custom level menu with support for browsing through more than 10 levels 
Models skins from defiance now work in the practice level as well 
When doing generalization of game input, a small buffer time for jumps and dash input during a dash have been added, leading to inputs not getting eaten if pressed right before the allowed timing. 
A bug with the player weapon was fixed, where the player sometimes could not fire a green charge bullet if released right as the weapon reloaded. 
Added cloud save feature. If you have a local save file, the game will ask what to do when starting up. (The old and local file will not be removed, it will simply be renamed, so you can still find it) 
A bug with the messages in in the result screen were corrected. 
The camera now continues to animate when accessing the custom level menu 
Some secret edits were made to the games intro level…
Added weapon pickup asset that makes it possible to fully customize and build custom weapons and bullets. The pickup can also use different colors to distinguish between weapon types. 
Shield barrier and shield gates assets now have the option override the default shield color, enabling them inform players of a potentially modified behavior. 
The deprecated Mono Script triggers were removed. You can no longer create them, but levels that were using them previously can still use them, but it’s recommended to change to the normal script triggers. 
The script triggers got an easier to use menu to choose script. 
Time dilation script were added to allow down to 25% and up to 400% game speed. Notice that it might get more CPU demanding to run the game quicker, so use it with care if there are a lot of things happening in your levels. 
New script were added to enable to change music mid level. 
Tutorial message script were added, allowing you to write messages to the player, containing tips or general information. 
Game modes can now be tested within the level editor, by going to the play settings panel. 
A level can now choose what music to use through the level settings panel. 
You can now set the number of lives a player should start with through the level settings panel. 
More game mode options were added, one of them being the ability to limit the players energy freely. 
The player asset got a few fixes, including a fix to the max energy value, and a new option for ghost mode, as well as two new values to tweak the game rules, enabling custom levels to hinder some of the more extreme methods for shortcuts. 
Popup menus scroll feature were inversed 
The camera free flight mode can now be activated though simply holding down the right mouse button and start dragging the mouse. 
Change auto save interval and number of files to save every 5 minutes of editing, and save up to 12 files. 
Fixed the old editor HUD bug where some elements got invisible 
Added a view drop down button in the asset panel, to reset the camera back to the level origin or focus on the levels directional lights. 
Screen shot feature for the publishing menu was fixed to work properly first time it’s used. 
Option to generate a new leader board was added to the publishing menu. This will render all old leader boards unusable, and inaccessible, so use with care, but if the level have gone through significant changes that can affect the leaderboard, it’s recommended to generate new ones to keep things fair. 
Added a feature to return to the editor in position from game play <Shift-Esc> 
Made the render variable window in the level settings panel more manageable. 
Hotkeys for changing game speed while running the editor was changed to: 
Decrease game speed with <,> 
Increase game speed with <.> 
Reset game speed with <M>
Added two new larger versions of existing enemies. 
Fixed a bug with level block splitting to not create texture seams any more 
Fixed some other minor issues causing crashes in some rare situations.
The list is quite long, and there are many changes here. Please let us know if we missed to mention something. It’s easy to forget minor improvements there were made in the fly here and there. 

Added Level Rush Mode
Improved the main menu with colour coding and better gamepad support
Added a Level Rush Mode leaderboard to the main menu once you've unlocked one of the rush modes
Added four levels to the level select menu
Added four new achievements
Patched a bug where restarting a wall-run from a wallslide state would sometimes not work
Changed the lighting in one of the old storm levels
Lowered the jump distance on some Guardians on another storm level
Tweaked collision to look less buggy on a pipe on the Defiance level Desire
Added a more solid fix for the workaround for the driver bug of some AMD GPU's
Fixed a small bug that in rare cases would soft lock the game when jumping around while accessing the level select menu from the room

Source for updates:

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