Today, we’re taking a look at Cloudpunk. A game that was suggested to me cause of my above-average interest in cyberpunk. While Cloudpunk definitely fits with the tropes of the cyberpunk genre, I feel it’s also unique in a lot of ways. With the genre, there are certain expectations of what a cyberpunk game will be like. You typically imagine something like Deus Ex, or Cyberpunk 2077. Something with a lot of augmentations, special powers, and weapons. Shooters typically.
However, Cloudpunk isn’t really a shooter. In fact, it has more in common with the recently released Death Stranding than Cyberpunk 2077. You’re not really doing any combat at all. Instead, you spend your time driving from place to place, delivering packages, and investigating an emergent plot.
Another Day On The Job
Cloudpunk’s story starts out very simply. You’re Raina, and you’re about to have your first day on your new job. Having just moved to the big city, you’ve taken work as a driver for a company called Cloudpunk. Raina isn’t really much of a big city girl. She’s from the countryside, having grown up on a farm. She likes music, but hates corporate culture and city life. She is very aware of where her heart lies. And it tends to put her at odds with the characters she encounters in her new environment.
A lot of people she meets thinks of her as a bit naive. A bit unaware of how things work in the city. But Raina knows that her perspective might help her see things that other people won’t. And she quickly picks up on a larger plot happening when people around her start acting strange.
On your adventures, you’re aided by your AI companion Camus, who has the literal personality of a dog. You’re also helped by Control, your contact at Cloudpunk. You’re tasked with picking up packages and delivering them while asking as few questions as possible. Of course, Raina isn’t too good at keeping her nose out of things.
Cyberpunk Delivery Service
Cloudpunk is an open-world exploration game, where you spend most of your time going to different points of the game world. You can also freely explore if you want to, which is often encouraged as talking to people can give you sidequests to do. But for the most part you go around completing mission objectives. The actual driving feels very nice. Since you’re flying around in the air, the controls are a bit floaty compared to how driving on the ground would feel. But on PC you can control your car using the mouse, which gives plenty of control over the vehicle.
You can upgrade your car at mechanic stops as well. Upgrades can be increasing your speed or changing your trail color. The upgrades don’t really add much to the gameplay, but makes traversing the city less time consuming and easier. You also need to refuel, so keeping an eye on the fuel gauge is a good idea.
The city is divided into multiple zones and districts. Since everything is above the clouds, you can’t really go between places on foot, unless they are connected via catwalks. So you have to drive between buildings in order to get places. One mechanic that I felt was a bit unnecessary is the fact you can only park your vehicle in parking lots. It would be nice to have the option to park anywhere, but I suppose Rania prefers putting her car where it makes sense.
Big City Life
Cloudpunk’s world is pretty large, and there is plenty to do. You can buy stuff from vendors, ranging from food to drugs and various upgrades. You can also collect stuff in the game world, be it quest items or salvage items you can use to repair broken machinery or just sell. The game feels very alive, with plenty of people walking around and a lot of people you can talk to. It seems everyone has something to talk about, and a lot of people are willing to ask for help from you. So you do a lot more than just missions for your boss, as a lot of the game can be spent just exploring the world.
I felt the controls were pretty intuitive and simple. I also love the addition of a first-person camera to the game, since it increases immersion for me. Though I do wish some of the lifts in the game had buttons to call them. And the addition of a sprint button would be nice as the default run speed can be a bit slow at times.
I also had a bug where the dialogue would freeze and I had to restart the game to get dialogue playing normally again. Though that may have already been fixed. Overall the game plays pretty well and has a pretty relaxing feel to it.
Voxels And Neon
Cloudpunk’s graphics consist almost entirely of voxels. Voxels are essentially 3D pixels, which gives the game a very blocky look. It’s an aesthetic that feels retro but in a modern sense. The game is far from the first to use voxels, but it does help give it its own unique style. Even the people are made from voxels.
That being said, despite using voxels, the game looks gorgeous visually. Soaked in intense neon colors and eternal rain, the game intentionally brings associations to Blade Runner. Which is understandable given the obvious influence on the game. In fact, it can be argued Cloudpunk is essentially a game where you explore a Blade Runner city above the clouds. And it’s done really well from a visual standpoint. You are always surrounded by a jungle of concrete and metal on all sides. And despite how dystopian the game looks, it has an inviting warmth to it.
The soundtrack is equally awesome and fitting the atmosphere of the game. Tracks range from mellow synth pieces to full-on synthwave with some pretty good beats and bass to it. If you like synthwave, you’ll feel right at home here. And given how the genre has become synonymous with 80s cyberpunk, it feels like a natural fit.
I also think the voice acting is really good for an indie title. Given how much dialogue is in the game, I was surprised that all of it is voice acted. I can’t imagine how much effort was put into recording all the dialogue, but it sounds great. The voice actors all did a great job. Usually, in games like these, there’s a pretty heavy reliance on text to deliver the story. So it’s refreshing to have an indie title with this level of polish to it. I also think the overall soundscape of the game is perfect, with heavily synthesized voices surrounding you as you explore the city. And the futuristic sound of flying cars going past you as you drive through the lanes.
A Unique Experience
All in all, I find it very hard not to recommend Cloudpunk. Especially if you’re into cyberpunk. The game might not have much to offer in terms of action, but it does offer a pretty interesting story and plenty of exploration. And the world the game creates feels alive and breathing and beckoning for you to explore it.
My only major complaint about the game really is the lack of a manual save system. But that’s a personal preference as the autosave seems to work fine. I just tend to never feel comfortable without a manual save.
I feel it has way more to offer beyond a distinct visual style. So if you’re looking for something to hold you over until Cyberpunk 2077 arrives, then you should definitely consider checking out Cloudpunk. It’s available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. So, however you choose to grab it, definitely consider it.
What do you think about Cloudpunk? Let us know in the comments! And if you want to check out another interesting cyberpunk game, definitely check out the Cyber Knights Kickstarter campaign!
A gorgeous indie game with a heavy cyberpunk atmosphere that puts more focus on its characters and story over intense action.
- Distinct and gorgeous visuals
- Great soundtrack
- Intriguing story
- Lack of manual saving
- More interactivity with the world would be nice