I am an Automata. I am a dog. Or a car. I am a Dog-Car.
Cloudpunk is an interesting game for me - it’s a story-based driving/walking sim, a genre that I am typically not a huge fan of. However, Cloudpunk has a uniqueness to it that enticed me to stick around and play. I mainly enjoyed its characters and the driving mechanics. I also enjoyed the noir cyber-punk theme which is a very nice touch with the city-like feel it presented.
Pros and Cons
- Fun characters with charm
- Driving around in the world is very fun and relaxing
- The 3D pixelated graphics are very nice and beautiful
- The story was not very interesting
- You are not punished for your mistakes
- The choices you make have no impact on the story
- Controlling your HOVA is very awkward
- Upgrading your HOVA is pointless
- I wish there were more features when decorating your room
The city of Nivalis is a futuristic city that resides above an ocean, where people live their daily lives. Some live in luxury, while others live in the slums of the city itself and try to survive their day-to-day lives. Rania, a recent immigrant who moved into the city, works for a delivery company called Cloudpunk which tasks her to deliver packages to clients. There are two rules: Deliver it on time and never ask what’s inside. Although Rania breaks the asking what’s inside part a few times.
During her travels, she will come across many different people who do different things in their lives. Besides doing delivery, she is also acts as a taxi driver despite not really being one, but she does the job anyway. She also has a partner named Camus, who helps her in certain situations she needs help in whose AI is that of a dog.
Since this is a story-driven game, the story should be something of interest to me. Well, here is the thing - I personally did not find the story that interesting. Nothing really of interest happens and this is because of two other issues that hinder the story. First, you are not punished for your mistakes. There are times in the story when you have to deliver or do something. If you fail at the task, you aren’t punished, you move on to the next objective in the story. This removes any impact on the missions that you would have had.
The next issue that the story has is the choices you are given throughout, none of them matter. When it comes to a story-heavy game and none of your choices matter, it also removes the impact of what they could have. This applies to Cloudpunk and it’s kind of sad that none of them do because there are some very interesting decisions you could make and if they affected the story, then the company you work for could have a different opinion of you. It would have spiced up the gameplay in a few ways if this happened.
This also creates a problem with something that is mentioned in the story, you are never late for any of the packages that you deliver as well. So, you are not pressured at all, which also removes another impact that the story could also have had.
Despite the issues I have with the story, there is one thing I did like about it and that’s the characters. Even when I said that the story did not have anything interesting in my eyes, I actually found the characters in it enjoyable. My favorite is Huxley, he had this old detective vibe to him that was very interesting, and he talked in the 3rd person like in some video game or show you might watch. He was telling his own story, while he was doing his job and I loved that about his character.
The gameplay for Cloudpunk is simple. As a driving sim, you will be going around Nivalis and doing tasks. The city is also alive and has a few interesting locations for you to visit as well with different types of people you can speak to. You can also walk around certain parts of the city and there are a few people you can talk to. Some of these people have side quests that you can do, which will require you to go to different parts of the city.
Now despite the gameplay being simple, it does have a few issues. The first problem, and a major one at that, is that controlling your HOVA is very sluggish. Mainly when it comes to turning, it will barely make the turn and you will probably crash into someone else car. Your HOVA will need gas and will need to be repaired sometimes - though if you don’t do any of these it won’t matter because your HOVA will just be slower. So, another layer of you not really being punished for your mistakes.
Upgrades on your HOVA are also pointless as they don’t really do much of anything and there is no upgrade to help with turning so you are out of luck on that. The only thing your HOVA is good at is going forward and moving up and down as you can do that but that’s it. Other than those two things, the HOVA is sluggish to control.
You also have a house that you can visit, and you can actually customize it with a few features to make it look nice. However, you only get to visit your house a total of four times in your playthrough, making this feature also pointless. And I am really sad that it is because I found this one to be really interesting and wished it was utilized more.
The only thing I like about the gameplay is that it’s relaxing, the controls may be bad but actually driving in the game is really nice and fun. I know I have complained a lot about the gameplay and the story, but the game is fun at least and to me, that’s what matters. I should also mention that there is a first-person option for you to drive the HOVA so that's something you can do.
Graphics and Performance
The graphics for Cloudpunk are nice and I loved the 3D pixelated art style. I loved how the city itself looks, with the cars and the people, it feels alive. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. The game ran smoothly and should be able to run on low-end computers with no issues.
Cloudpunk is in a very odd spot for me. While I had issues with the story and gameplay, I also had fun with the gameplay and while I may not miss the story, I will miss the characters. Now, a lot of people like this game so there may be a charm I am missing. If you want to try it out, go for it but I would wait for a sale on the game.
I wouldn’t call Cloudpunk a bad game, there is something nice and there is a quality product here that is worth checking out. However, I am here to judge the game on my experiences and mine only, so take what I am saying at will.