Ion Lands’ cyberpunk adventure Cloudpunk has been an indie hit ever since it was released in April earlier this year. Set in a neo-noir city named Nivalis, you play as Rania, a driver for a delivery service named Cloudpunk. It’s up to you to deliver packages all over Nivalis and discover the city’s stories and secrets in the process.
Cloudpunk has had a large following right from the very beginning. With its gorgeous voxelated graphics, it’s easy to see why: Cloudpunk offers a vast city environment with several neighbourhoods to explore. The scope of the game is impressive given the size of the studio that created the game, and Cloudpunk’s visuals and story exude charm.
You traverse the landscape in a hovercab, a floating car. You drive on bright and colourful highways that zigzag between buildings. Shops, squares, and neighbourhoods where you deliver packages are laid out on floating platforms between the highways, nestled high up between impressive skyscrapers. The game draws you in with its colours and moody atmosphere, and the story, a neo-noir mystery told mostly through voiceovers, complements the visuals nicely. Cloudpunk plunges its players into a layered and immersively stylised world. Its captivating vaporwave aesthetics reminded me of the recent Paradise Killer, both in style and in the sense that the game’s world sticks with you long after you finish a playthrough.
Perhaps this is why the latest update – the Cockpit update – is such a great addition to the game’s world: it allows players to see Nivalis up close from behind their hovercab’s dashboard for the very first time. Previously, the game only allowed players to see their cab speed down its sky-high motorways from a third-person perspective. While the wide perspective allows you to admire the cityscape easily, there’s something very intimate and personal about exploring the world from a first-person view. For one thing, the update comes with a free-moving camera inside the car, which allows you to see the inside of Rania’s cab up close as you travel through the city. In addition to this, some atmospheric updates have also been added. You can now see the rain fall on your windshield and hear passing cars swoosh past yours as you drive down a highway, which I found a lot more immersive than the original wide perspective.
Nivalis is presented as a beautiful but corrupt and dangerous place. Some neighbourhoods harbour dark secrets, and life moves incredibly quickly. Seeing the world from inside the hovercab truly brought the game’s setting to life for me. In my eyes, seeing other cars whip past you in the pouring rain while you’re rushing to deliver a package, or seeing cracks appear in your windshield if you crash into walls and ongoing traffic too often, conveyed the harshness of Rania’s world in a much more direct way than the original.
Another thing I greatly enjoyed was driving down a busy road in Cloudpunk with the great soundtrack in the background. The Cockpit perspective easily makes you feel as if you’re on a dreamy otherworldly road trip. That said, if you’re worried about missing out on the scenery in Cloudpunk, don’t fret: the game still allows you to switch between first person and third person view as often as you like.
In short, the Cockpit Update is a great addition to an already beautifully immersive game. If you haven’t tried Cloudpunk before but have been itching to do so, now’s the time. And if you’ve already played a fair few hours in the past, then maybe now’s a good time to get back behind the wheel and revisit Nivalis. The Cockpit Update is sure to offer you a fresh new perspective on its well-known cityscape.