Pwnee Studios showed off Cloudberry Kingdom this week, and the fast-paced side-scroller's randomized levels and engaging difficulty took us by surprise. The downloadable platformer gives you one simple task: Get your character through the stage without falling into a bottomless pit, getting impaled by spikes, or getting vaporized by lasers. Actually, scratch that; it's not simple at all.
Even though the controls are basic (you pretty much just move and jump) the levels can be incredibly challenging. Every level in Cloudberry Kingdom is randomly generated, so you'll never play the same exact stage twice. Whether you're in the Free Play, Campaign, or Arcade mode, all of the dangers and platforms appear in random locations based on the level's difficulty. Higher difficulties get a higher frequency of traps, enemies, and unpredictable platforms forcing you to react quickly, watch for patterns, have impeccable timing.
The levels are extremely short, as it takes only a few seconds to get from one end of the screen to the other. However, there are plenty of hazards to trip you up and send your hero back to the starting point. Spinning saw blades, spikey puffer fish, and rotating fireball chains (like in Super Mario Bros.) show up to give you a hard time. If you do manage to make it through the deathtrap, you're quickly dropped into a new, more difficult challenge, and the cycle continues.
As you complete challenges and progress through the various gameplay modes, you'll get a chance to unlock up to ten hero types. These heroes have special characteristics that change up the level patterns. The Jetman hero can fly for a short time with his jetpack, but when he is selected, the levels become more catered to precise airborne control rather than hopping on platforms. Along with the hero types, your character can earn new customization options like beards, clothes, and hats, giving even more incentive to tackle the harder stages.
We had a blast with Cloudberry Kingdom's insane platforming, especially when it came to the four-player local co-op, which allows you and your friends play a level all at the same time. Be sure to check back for more on Cloudberry Kingdom as we get closer to its release on XBLA, PSN, Vita, WiiU, PC, and Mac early this year.