Welcome to Nivalis: Cloudpunk Review and Xbox Upgrade
Welcome to Nivalis. Your brand new home away from home. Here, amongst the clouds, you can dream any dream you wish, be anything you wish as long as you remember not to ask any questions. Ignorance is bliss, and no more so than in Nivalis!
Welcome, yet again, to a dystopian future cyberpunk world. But it’s one worth stepping into the shoes of protagonist Rania for. In Cloudpunk, you’re a delivery driver with a sketchy past and you’ve just started your first job in Nivalis: that of a delivery man for the eponymously named company, Cloudpunk. Your job is to pick up packages and deliver them from one end of Nivalis to the other. Your only rules are, don’t ask questions, don’t open the package and definitely don’t talk to the package if it tries to talk to you. Sadly, these are rules that Rania’s nature just can’t adhere to.
Cloudpunk throws an interesting twist into the cyberpunk genre by choosing to create a narrative-driven experience while making you a glorified delivery man. As such, Cloudpunk isn’t a game that will be for everyone, but for those who do decide to invest in its world, you’re going to find yourself immersed in a surprisingly engaging, choice-driven story adventure.
Gameplay and Immersive Narrative
The gameplay itself is pretty simple. You fly around Nivalis in your hover car, picking up packages and delivering them. You can walk around the various cloud floating districts, talking to NPSs, buying items searching for items that are important to side quests or fixing up parts of Nivalis, such as broken elevators.
There are very light sim elements to the game, such as paying attention to your petrol meter, upgrading your vehicle and choosing to stick to the established highways versus free-flight between buildings as the highways speed up your car. There is no action to speak of in Cloudpunk, though street racing (or is that hover racing) makes an appearance in the game’s expansion. As such, Cloudpunk really is about the narrative and interacting with people.
Rania’s story, where it goes and how it interacts with Nivalis’s problems, and the choices you make affecting its future, are at the core of Cloudpunk, but the many side-stories that you indulge in, whether from package delivering or exploration, are a major source of Cloudpunks entertainment. Whether it’s the street gangs whose hard-core job is making playgrounds for kids because it throws the corps into disarray or the disembodied android head hoping to be a famous chef, Cloudpunk immerses you in weird and entertaining stories throughout.
Stunning Visuals and Xbox Upgrade
Visually Cloudpunk is an absolutely gorgeous game. Its voxel graphics capture the Blade Runner aesthetic perfectly, from the flying cars to the rain-drenched, neon-soaked street roamed by androids and those who are only one implant away from being one. Whether you’re flying between the towering, corporate buildings or running across the wet, neon-stained streets of Nivalis’s floating districts, Cloudpunk is gorgeous through and through.
The default camera settings provided when on foot present a locked camera angle that gives the environment an almost diorama look, showcasing some brilliant lighting, but it’s the third-person, behind-the-character view and new first-person view that is absolutely game-changing and breathtaking. Here the voxel visuals truly shine with their almost 8-bit-like design.
Cloudpunk came out originally in 2020 for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. Since then developer Ion Lands have added a massive expansion to the game along with technical improvements when bringing the games to PS5 and, now, Xbox Series machines.
The Xbox upgrade is free for owners of the game on Xbox One. What you’re looking at here are better visual effects to make use of the more powerful hardware. The most game-changing addition is the aforementioned first-person mode for on-foot traversal while the visual achievements are higher-resolution settings that you can scale in the game from 4K resolutions to lower ones. Draw distances have been improved along with higher resolution skyboxes, improved volumetric lighting, improved bloom effects, fog, rain and reflections.
Even before these updates, Cloudpunk was a stunningly unique visual looking voxel title and with the new additions, it’s even more stunning and immersive. While it may be the visuals that bring you forth, it’s the gameplay that will get you to stay, if you allow yourself to be immersed in its relaxed gameplay style, interesting world and quirky inhabitants.
Cloudpunk Xbox Trailer
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