Despite the rocky launch and some questionable design decisions, Cloudbuilt is a fun and visceral 3D platformer with the right mix of challenging, thoughtful, and perhaps just a little bit too much unforgiving.
Cloudbuilt is primarily focused on the path from point A to B. You have many special abilities common to speedrunning platformers that you'd expect: a dash, double jump, wallrunning, all limited by a central boost bar that only replenishes when you're flat on the ground. The controls are very tight and responsive, and sometimes this results in touchy controls that burn precious boost in unskilled hands. In addition, there are the regular cadre of hazards like indestructible mines and projectile spewing enemies blocking your forward motion. There are many paths through a stage, many ways to avoid hazards, many things to see and find. Cloudbuilt certainly hits the mark on the core platforming experience.
My major gripe against the game sits with the enemies, however. Thankfully less annoying in behavior and strength than before, oftentimes their existence thwarts your main method of dealing with the threat: your gun. Most enemies will survive rapid fire from your woefully limited clip, requiring you to charge your fire beforehand. Why the gun doesn't automatically charge during any downtime escapes me, because there's no penalty to charging a shot, and no reason to resort to weaker bullets. Your best strategy is, at all times, to just dig your finger into the mouse button whenever you're not firing, which is a really weird mechanic to be sure. On the enemies themselves, many of them have a repair shield mechanic that goes up if you didn't outright kill them on the first few shots, it's not immediately clear that this shield deactivates the enemy, and some of these can be eternal threats through the rest of the stage if you let them heal back up. Having enemies that can shoot you from clear across the map is distracting in this kind of game, but thankfully only a scattering of levels are prone to this kind of abuse.
The environmental design is fairly nice. You have a good mix of organic, ruins-like areas, more mirror-like utopian areas and oppressive areas full of wire and colored lights. It would have been nice to have a few levels with an actual solid ground, though this would have gone against the namesake. Sometimes the path to the end of the level is far out of sight, but the maps are designed well enough to spur you in the right direction. The stencil shading does accent the terrain pretty well and highlights the ground edges, but doesn't look as good on the main character's model. The sound is just functional, and nothing spectacular. The music tracks are catchy, for the most part. The story isn't my cup of tea, and isn't as well woven as it could have been.
I'd recommend the game to anyone looking for a challenging platformer. For anyone who would be just on the edge of the skill range necessary to play this game, but is willing to brave it, be sure to play through all the first levels. Though it may have changed from my experience, the different paths on the map vary in difficulty and game concepts presented. At least one path is oriented more towards a pure platforming experience, with few to no enemies, and is the recommended path to take at first.