Review: Cloudpunk

Just one night. That’s what Rania, the main character keeps saying to herself. Let’s just get through this one night. In the cyberpunk metropolis of Nivalis, one night can be the difference between life and death, between the wildest riches and the depths of destitution.

The city is a living machine, one run by AIs everyone has long since forgotten how they work. Divine creatures worshiped by techno-priests. And it is coming to a head. Things are starting to slowly fall apart. Hover car accidents, sections of the city moving, collapsing. The very structure of the city shivers. Each such shiver causing new terrors for its residents.

In this ongoing crisis arrives our protagonist Rania. She has left her home in the Eastern Peninsula, her life stripped bare by the debt corps that feed on misery like sharks. She comes to Nivalis to find a fresh start. She starts a new job as a delivery driver for the illegal delivery company Cloudpunk.

Cloudpunk is a mystery, an enigma. Her only contact is the vaguely named character named Control. Control tells her that he hopes that she survives the night and gives Rania her first deliver. On you go into the city of Nivalis, jetting around from section to section in your hova. Meeting interesting characters that will make you sad, angry, annoyed or quite possibly all three.

Every delivery is unique, each one has little quirks that tell you another story, a new person, a new part of the city, a new kind of misery in this ultra capitalist hellscape. I won’t say much more lest I spoil the mysteries of this gorgeous game. Oh boy is it beautiful, the art direction of this game gives everything this Bladerunner like vibe. I found myself stood still at certain points in the game, staring out into the city as the eternal rain fell.

Of course, underneath the cyberpunk sheen that is over everything fades away once you actually start interacting with the world. Like all good cyberpunk media before it Cloudpunk understands the genre. The tropes, the cliches, and most importantly the politics. The game glamorizes the hellscape you interact with but it never lets you forget that it is a hellscape.

By the end of it all, I felt relief that Rania had survived the night. Key word – survive. She is not thriving, she is not the hero that has all the riches and glory. She is just another person who made it through a night on Nivalis. Ultimately, Cloudpunk is a story about day to day survival and it is a story well told. I am glad I played it and I am looking forward to the next game the developer is making Nivalis.

Verdict – Get in the hova loser, we are going racing!

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