Welcome Time Wasters!
The Christmas season is here and I was really considering checking out some winter-themed games this week. Then I got this code for a side-scrolling shoot ’em up named Cloudphobia and said screw it. I’m a sucker for a good shump.
Cloudphobia is a game with a story, but I can’t really say that I know what it is. It’s a bit of a strange case and I don’t want to start this review off with a negative vibe, but just understand that I can’t accurately weigh in on the story of this game.
The gameplay of Cloudphobia is what I’ve come to expect from shumps. Loads of enemies come at the player and they have to defeat them while progressing through the level. However, this game does a few things different that helps it stand out a bit from the rest of the crowd.
The first major difference with Cloudphobia is that players can choose to operate one of two different mechs when playing. This selection is made at the start of the game and sticks all through the main campaign. The first mech is the basic shot ’em up gameplay style. You have a gun and you shoot things. The second is a little different. It carries a giant sword and players have to get up close to damage enemies. Both of them are fun, but I find the melee mech to be much more difficult to use. Both mechs also have a limited amount of missiles. The game restores some missiles to the player at the end of each level.
Another interesting feature to Cloudphobia is the ability to activate a boost. This boost lets the player zip through the level incredibly fast. Each level has a time limit and sometimes it requires players to boost when possible to beat it before time runs out. This also spawns in the enemies faster and can make the game a bit more chaotic and challenging.
Using boost in Cloudphobia can also have its disadvantages. One of the major aspects of the game is not letting a single enemy escape once it has shown up on screen. If it does, that enemies will damage the player’s mother ship. The game ends if the player or the mother ship loses all of its health. It’s a neat idea that makes sure players don’t just use the boost to zip past all of the enemies and reach the end of the level.
Each level in Cloudphobia also features a boss for the player to defeat. These battles can be quite difficult on the first attempt, but a careful eye will quickly help players learn their strategies and defeat them. I feel like this is where the melee mech shines. I was able to take down bosses much easier with it, but the rest of the level was more challenging than when using the shooting mech.
The controls in Cloudphobia are tight. The hit boxes are also incredibly accurate. This is a must for any good shump. It can really take an average game and make it feel great. However, this game doesn’t have to worry about that as it already has fun and engaging gameplay.
The visuals in Cloudphobia are amazing. The game just plainly looks good. The action is quick and clean. Plus is also has some amazing set pieces. I was absolutely amazed while playing and my mech joined up with another squad as the group accelerated through the atmosphere on its way to outer space. Once there, I flew around giant space ships as they came through wrap gates. It was all on a 2D plane, but was done so well that it really immersed me in the game.
The audio in Cloudphobia is another great feature. It’s got loads of fast-paced music that really matches the feel of the game. The sound effects also go well with the rest of it, and neither it nor the music is too loud. Also, the game comes with a digital copy of the soundtrack on Steam, which is a huge plus.
Now we have to get to that one part of Cloudphobia that was a problem for me. For some reason, cutscenes completely broke the game. It starts with the one after the first level and just never stops. Something goes wrong and the game just got stuck with the background for the next level going by. I had changed the resolution when I started the game and thought maybe that was causing some kind of problem. However, every attempt to change the resolution after that resulted in the game crashing.
Crashing and a missing story are never positives for a game. Luckily for Cloudphobia, its main focus is the gameplay, and it does that very well.
Overall, Cloudphobia is a solid game for the $6 price tag. It has great gameplay, visual and audio. I just wish I knew more about the story, because it actually looked somewhat interesting just based on the first little bit that I saw. Either way, this is a great way for fans of shumps to kill some times.
Cloudphobia earns 3.5 GiN Gems out of 5!