Cloudpunk is story based exploration game from ION Lands that looks to offer players a cyberpunk adventure packed with dodgy corporations, hackers & AI. Does it manage to hit the neon-noire heights it’s aiming for or does it crash & burn beneath the clouds? Let’s take a look.
This is your first night working for Cloudpunk, a semi-legal delivery company operating within the sprawling metropolis of Nivalis. You go anywhere the job demands, from the Marrow below to the spires that reach above the grey clouds into the sky above. No delivery job is too dangerous, and no one is faster than a Cloudpunk driver. It’s your first night on the job, so just follow the rules and don’t miss a delivery or ask what is in the package.
The game follows the trails & tribulations of Rania & her AI companion Camus during a delivery night shift. It’s apparent early that there’s something fishy about the company that has contracted you through the communications with Control, and the dialogue between Rania and the of host characters you’ll meet on the way is always well delivered. You’ll find plenty of additional stories & job offers on your travels, with the game also throwing the occasional choice your way. This mainly comes in the form of taking a package to one place or another, with what you choose to do invariably having some consequence to Rania or others around Nivalis.
Presentation is generally good for Cloudpunk, depending on the micro or macro level you are at. When on foot the voxel based nature of the graphics doesn’t quite do it for me, though the special effects are good with the rainfall & reflections. When completing deliveries in your Hova, which sports a good cockpit view to try following an update, things look better on macro level. The lights & neon of the areas look detailed and colourful when blasting through the highways, heading off onto the side roads creates a good contrast with its dimly lit or smog filled areas. The game certainly has plenty of atmosphere due to the Blade Runner or Fifth Element styled cityscape to explore, with the audio also pulling its weight with some fitting BGM & full voice acting.
Taking a look at the required specifications, seems as though anyone with a rig from the past few years should be good to go with few compromises. On my system (R51600/16GB/RTX2080ti) the game ran well at 4K with maximum details when aiming for 60fps. Still, there was the odd random occasion the game would drop frames to around 50fps for seemingly no reason, even putting the settings down a notch still had the dropped frames. You may not get perfectly locked performance, but the game never really drops much lower than 50fps to be honest and wasn’t too intrusive when it did.
For the most part with this game you’ll be tasked with completing deliveries for CloudPunk, go to point A to collect the package and deliver to point B – with the odd point C or D thrown in for good measure. How you get there is up to you as there’s almost free reign to where you can drive, so shortcuts through the cityscape can add some excitement Sometimes when you reach your destination you may also have to complete a puzzle or fetch something for an NPC, but its nothing too taxing so you’ll be onto the next delivery in a jiffy.
There’s also some micro management of your vehicle thrown into the mix, keeping the thing in the air by refuelling & repairing damage to it. Mechanics also sell upgrades to your vehicle to boost it or customise the look, funnily enough exploring on foot can also net you upgrades via loot scattered around the city. Returning home every now & again will give you the opportunity to also spend some of those well earned credits on your apartment to furnish it with new items and make it look less drab.
CloudPunk has several things going for it. The world is beautiful & atmospheric and the story is delivered surprisingly well to keep it interesting – there’s plenty of little extras to reward exploration too. It is a short & sweet experience though, with little else to it outside of the walking & driving gameplay. Still, I found it to be an excellent little experience that should scratch the itch for anyone looking for a cyberpunk or noire adventure.
Think Blade Runner except everyone is blocky and you ain’t hunting androids, you’re delivering parcels instead.