Cloudpunk places you in the shoes of Rania, a refugee from the far-off Eastern Peninsula. She has recently arrived in Nivalis, a multi-tiered city reaching into the clouds. She has nothing to her name but a little money and her automata companion Camus. The game starts as Rania starts her first shift with the delivery service Cloudpunk. The entire plot takes place in one night and is steeped in classic cyberpunk conventions such as, socioeconomic divisions and what it means to be human, for homo sapiens and artificial intelligence alike.
The camera does a great job of displaying the excellent visuals of Cloudpunk. The game uses a voxel art style along with beautiful particles and post-processing effects to absolutely nail its Blade Runner and Fifth Element-inspired design. The game takes place entirely at night and is all the better for it. Neon signs light up the city and rain pelts the ground continuously as puddles reflect those same lights from above.
The buzz of the traffic, the endlessly rattling rain, the voices echoing from the billboards, and the soaring synths of the stirring Vangelis-inspired soundtrack combine to create a really thrilling sonic landscape. It sounds every bit as good as it looks, and the result is a game that is absolutely drenched in atmosphere.
The gameplay of Cloudpunk is quite simple: you receive a delivery request, you drive your flying car (called a Hova) to the location, you walk to and pick the package, then you drive to the drop-off and hand-deliver the item to its recipient. There are no puzzles, there is no combat, and there are no stealth sequences. If you are looking for something to challenge you or get your blood pumping, this is not it.
Exploration and character interactions are at the heart of Cloudpunk. The world is semi-open, divided into seven main areas with various collectables to gather and NPCs to talk with. There are a few additional areas that you will travel to, but they are generally for story moments rather than exploration. In the lower levels, you will see buildings collapse from neglect, and there is a brown tinge to the air. Upper levels are brighter, well maintained, and more blue.
Walking around Nivalis does not feel as good as driving, and that is mainly due to the camera. More specifically, it has to do with the game’s fixed camera and how Rania controls relative to it. In most games with a fixed camera, when the camera changes perspective, the controls remain relative to the previous camera perspective until the player stops moving or changes direction. Cloudpunk does not do this, it changes the control orientation immediately along with the camera perspective.
So if you are moving left to right and the camera rotates 180 degrees, you will turn around and start running in the opposite direction. This issue is further multiplied in areas where there are three or more camera perspectives in proximity, meaning the control orientation will change multiple times in quick succession. You are rarely in situations where moving in the wrong direction will cause any actual issues, but that does not stop it from being incredibly annoying.
All in all, this game is vibrant, beautiful to look at and the sound is incredible.
In my opinion, the game will get very repetitive quite quickly, and the camera issues are hard to ignore. Throughout my playing the game, I found myself excited to explore the world. However, I could not play for extended periods of time without feeling a little bit bored at times.
It is a great game to relax to and play after a long session of playing something more competitive.