Not Mushroom to Maneuver: Cloudberry Kingdom

By Adam Smith on February 7th, 2012 at 12:23 pm.

Cooperative mode involves being tied together with bungee ropes, naturally

I don’t have the digital dexterity to be a Super Meat Boy master and VVVVVV took me to my limits, so the sight of a new spike-laden contender for most malicious platformer ever should see me jumping for cover. Cloudberry Kingdom has been in development for three years now, originally placing tenth in the 2009 Dream Play Build Competition, and is almost ready for release on both the MicroBox and PC. The most recent trailer makes it seem the kind of challenge that will have some people flexing their fingers in preparation for. I’m just scared, though intrigued by the brainy brainwork behind this madness.

It might look like sadism and it may well be, but then listen to this: “the proprietary algorithm powering the game…[can create] more levels than [there are] particles in the known universe”. Being a busy man, I haven’t found the time to count the levels or the particles but it seems this algorithm is capable of taking instructions from a player and then building a level to their specifications. Observe.

The placement of those features, in those quantities, is then randomised to a degree, but with the algorithm ensuring that every level can be completed. Some of them almost definitely won’t be but the important thing is they can be and to prove it the computer will show you how it should be done if you ask it politely. Whatever it shows me, I don’t believe a human being can survive something like this.

I reckon the developers are of like mind because they’re offering $1000 of their hard-earned to the first person to beat the game on its hardest difficulty. That person will be a robot and it will be the year 2162 by which point the only currency will be FutureBucks.

To increase the clever clogs quotient even more, there are quite a few different types of hero in the game, from the standard jumping man to a chap with a jetpack, an odd fellow who seems to cartwheel around the screen and more besides. The levels created take into account which hero needs to make his way through them and are adjusted accordingly. Here’s a look at some levels on the second highest difficulty level.

Erk. If nothing else, it could be fascinating just to see what devilish concoctions this wicked contraption can produce. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to talk to the man behind the mathematics before the April release, which may well involve nodding politely at a swarm of giant words.

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25 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Faldrath says:

    This looks terrifying. In a good way.

  2. pakoito says:

    Their test gameplay video is worth adding to the article: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0eqTxRpOw8&feature=related

    Game looks awesome but not for me :)

  3. RagingLion says:

    My EYES!!!

  4. Premium User Badge

    Sarigs says:

    Oh hell noes. I can appreciate a challenge but I know my level. And it’s no where near this!

  5. DeanLearner says:

    It kind of looks like, if you ignore everything going on around you and just head through the level as quickly as possible, you’re ok.

  6. julianbenson says:

    I’d like to see a video of Ed McMullen trying to play this.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      That sounds like a hybrid of a sparkling vampire and a tattoed game developer.

  7. Lobotomist says:

    This looks to frustrating to play.

    I mean.
    I smashed controller on my screen while playing Super Meat Boy. But at least you get to brag about special named levels that you passed.

    I went berserk playing Dustforce. But at least you have replays and timed playtrough to compare with others.

    Here you have random levels. And no way to compare your achievements – only frustration.

    Its wrong way to go about these things

  8. Bhazor says:

    They have finally done it. They have finally applied Touhou to platformers.

  9. InternetBatman says:

    Eh. I can skip masochistic platformers. I think the best in the genre are the ones where difficulty is perfectly balanced, not too hard or too easy. VVVVV for example was so fun because it was right on the edge, but didn’t go hurtling over (except for veni, vidi, vici). I guess fans of these types of games will like it though.

  10. kyrieee says:

    I think randomized levels that are meant to be difficult sounds like a terrible idea. Difficult levels have to be expertly crafted to be enjoyable, and where’s the brag rights in beating a random level that no one else has played?

    • pakoito says:

      Levels are created with a seed. Pass the seed to friend and compete.

    • Lobotomist says:

      I have few friends that share hobby of gaming.
      And of them , none shares love for hardcore platforming games.

      Basing main goal of the game (in this case competition) on participation of RL Friends, is not enough.

  11. Ridnarhtim says:

    Jesus fu…. That looks mental. I will have to play it, simply to see what happens. And yes, I beat SMB and about half the dark world before giving up, and I’m terrified of what I just saw.

    Also, the music in both of those videos is AWESOME!

  12. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Interesting, though I hope that game can do a little bit more than produce levels full of spiky balls and lava. Because I don’t think that it would be amusing to watch the game play itself for longer than five minutes.

  13. kadeton says:

    I’m a bit disappointed that at no point in any of those levels was there a point where backtracking was required.

  14. Highstorm says:

    This seems like it’d function better as a screen saver, watching the little man move flawlessly through impossible scenarios.

    I can’t imagine any human being succeeding at that. Not without a giant (and growing) pile of broken monitors and controllers nearby anyhow.

  15. PwneeRider says:

    This one is my personal favorite!

  16. PwneeRider says:

    nevermind….this one is my favorite!!!

  17. icupnimpn2 says:

    Ehhh I’ll end up with it from a bundle