Ah, Parkour, or as it should be known, the art of what’s the best way to explain to the insurance company that you have a shinbone sticking out of your shoulder. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and probably perform (sadly, I am about as agile as a narcoleptic Snorlax) in real life, but I do feel that it has transferred very well to the world of video games. Games such as Mirrors Edge and Assassins Creed have embraced free running, but there’s always been a bit of… stiffness to it. However, it may be possible that a new game, Cloudbuilt, has cracked it.
The bulk of the game is a selection of obstacle courses, filed a variety of paths that you must traverse to reach the goal in the quickest time possible. Imagine Wipeout… except if you fall off, you don’t end up a bit wet, and you get to have a chat with Amanda Byrne… You fall to your death… a lot. There are walls and platforms dotted all over the level, that upon first look, you’d think the team from 60 Minute Makeover got drunk and plastered walls everywhere. But once you take a second glance, and maybe run through the level for a little while, you get this new outlook… You start to picture routes and paths that could get you to the end just that little bit quicker. Every wall you see, you can run up, down, left, right, anywhere. You’re not stuck in some running animation until you reach a part of the wall, like in Mirrors Edge. You can leap all over from platform to platform without breaking your stride with enough practice. It’s very exhilarating to link together a run with a sense of precision and grace.
The controls themselves are very light, and have a sense of freedom to them. Running around, leaping, and shooting doesn’t feel clunky or heavy handed, which in a game like this, is a big plus. It makes it easier to work your way through the tougher levels. My only gripe is that it can get a bit fiddly when using a keyboard. Trying to pull off some of the more complicated manoeuvres caused the finger in my left hand to tie up in knots. Now, yes this may be a bit biased, since I have used controllers all my life, and only recently used a keyboard, but I’m sure a few people will agree with me. Now, the developer has stated that controller support will be available in a later build of the game, so hopefully my little reservation will be dealt with.
Cloudbuilt itself is a really enjoyable game, and again, I feel they’ve cracked the free running mechanic, but I what would be really good for a next step, is to make a more open ended world, a wider environment to fully utilise the parkour. Basically, what Brink could have, and should have been. All in all, it’s a fun experience, an quite addictive.
Publisher: Rising Star Games
For more info visit www.risingstargames.com