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Cloudberry Kingdom
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Preview: Never the same levels in Cloudberry Kingdom

2:30 PM on 04.16.2013 // Abel Girmay

From crowdfunding to major backing

The challenge in creating a platformer is figuring out what you could do differently from everyone else. While the same could be said about any genre, you have to admit that it's especially challenging for plaformers, a genre that is so simple at its core. Cloudberry Kingdom's answer is in its AI level creator, which switches up the design of every level you play, every time you play it.

Originally a Kickstarter-funded project, Cloudberry Kingdom was  developed by a core team of four -- including around 12 contractors -- at Pwnee Studios. "When we did the Kickstarter thing, we had distribution deals on Wii U, PSN, and Steam, but Microsoft just really wasn't playing ball with us," said Pwnee Studios' Jordan Fisher.

In need of a major publishers backing to get on the restrictive XBLA, Pwnee started shopping around, eventually finding a partner in Ubisoft. "We actually met Ubisoft at E3, and they liked the game a lot, and they could get us onto XBLA." On the previously mentioned publishing deals, Fisher continues: "That was sort of the  trade-off. We would let them have a slice of wherever it was published in exchange for them getting us on XBLA. It's definitely been worth it though, since they've been getting us marketing and all sorts of support."

Cloudberry Kingdom (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Wii U, PlayStation Vita)
Developer: Pwnee Studios
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release: TBA

Cloudberry Kingdom is platformer. You run, jump, dodge, and otherwise navigate your way from one end of the screen to the other. So in that sense, you know exactly what's on offer here. That said, it takes cues from modern genre classics, such as Super Meat Boy. That's to say, it can get hard -- very hard. The levels are actually pretty short, but success is dependent on your ability to keep one continuous flow and rhythm going throughout the level.

Unlike Super Meat Boy, challenge isn't what the game is built around. The big draw of Cloudberry Kingdom is in its randomness; an algorithm that randomizes every facet of the game is the focus. So while the difficulty curves in the same way each time, the enemies, traps, power-ups, and more switch up. What's cool about this is that it really changes the way you play, especially in a competitive setting. Topping leaderboards, showing up friends, or even just outdoing yourself has little to do with the traditional tropes of pattern memorization, and all about how adaptive your reflexes are.

The best way to appreciate this is to dig into the tools yourself  to see the ridiculous amount of factors the game takes into account, which you can then edit to create custom levels. While the actual geometry of a level is not adjustable, there are a bevy of options. The setup here is deep, yet easy to understand.

Everything in a level -- its length, enemies, traps, platform types -- can all be adjusted by a simple set of sliders. You simply go through a list, and adjust the frequency of each. And if you want to be like me, you'll crank everything up to max on your first try. If you're feeling that brave (read: stupid) Cloudberry softens the blow, with a handy AI that can take over a run through a level.

This isn't the New Super Mario Bros. type of AI assist, mind you. The computer will only show you how to get through a level, but there's no actual game progression. "You might see a level and say, 'Oh this is impossible'. But the computer can come through just to show you that there is always a way through a level," explained Fisher.

It's deceptively simple if you only give it a quick gander, but spend a little time and you'll see that there's quite a bit working under the hood of Cloudberry Kingdom. If you enjoy a good platformer, then it's well worth keeping your ear to the ground for this one.

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Abel Girmay, Contributor
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Born and raised in Oakland, CA. Avid fan of FPS, RPGs, and Little Caesars Pizza.  more   |   staff directory



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ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Gee whilikers, guys. I might just explain where I've been and what I've been up to while I've been gone. That'd be a good topic for a c-blog getting me whipped back into shape, right? I'ma try to write more, so expect more of me in the future!
bloma avatarbloma
Just bought Fez for xbox 360. Playing it on my 58 inch plasma. What a beautiful game.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
So there's a chance more MKX characters are being revealed today. Now, I'm not saying you *should* cross your fingers and say a prayer for me to get my waifu Sindel just, y'know, it would be monstrous of you to make me cry with your lack of love & support
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Just so you know, I've been a Huge subscriber for a few years but I thought I had until the end of September to cancel it. So I've opened an inquiry for the refund, which is on tinypass' end of things by the way.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I once posted that Total Recall was the best movie ever made. I would like to make note that Starship Troopers is a close second. Carry on.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I put too many peppers in my sausage and potatoes. My asshole is on fire. I want to cry when I wipe. But it was good.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
One glorious Japanese twitter user made a custom LBX of one of my favorite Kamen Riders: [img]http://i.imgur.com/yp1oraHm.jpg[/img] It's like getting peanut butter in chocolate but with small robots and spandex banana men!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I feel terrible for not reading most of you beautiful people's blogs. Let's just say my passion is writing, not reading :s
techsupport avatartechsupport
People can debate GOTY all they want, but the real question is: D-Horse or Roach?
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I'm dragging myself away from my PS4 long enough to say that MGS V is pretty darn awesome so far.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
Down with that PAX Pox. Auhhhghghghhhh
Shinta avatarShinta
MGSV: Sneaking into a heavily guarded Russian military base in Afghanistan at night, slashing throats while listening to this. [youtube]https://youtu.be/-hWZqllm3mQ[/youtube] Comes off like a perfectly planned scene in a Scorsese movie or something.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Tortilla chips: The only food I know and love to betray me by deciding to flip to a bad angle and stab me in the gums.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
I'm ok with Namco shutting down Soul Calibur: Lost Souls, as long as they keep Ace Combat:Infinity running. Love that game and just hit 3 million credits.
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Holy fuck I feel new again. I've been on hiatus for a while and haven't been up to writing. I might just jump back into things after I relearn things here. Does anyone even remember me? Like damn it's been a while.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
In MGS5: The Phantom Pain, Solid Snake dies from lung cancer from all those years of smoking. #FakeSpoilers
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[youtube]http://youtu.be/FDSHslyrxkM[/youtube] If you don't know the truth, you don't know the score. The end is coming near. MAJOR SPOILERS!
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Wow, it's really easy to get people upset over video games.
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I hope MGS V is living up to everyone's expectations. I can't get enough.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
I dislike the idea of intentionally reinforcing the notions that either race or gender are character traits, and those that don't match your own are completely unrelatable.
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destructoid's previous coverage:
Cloudberry Kingdom


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