I got to know about this game from the AGDS I attended last month. This game is quite interesting in its design in the sense that its a very soothing kind of game. Something that has no killing, no fighting, no conquering, no casting magic spells.. The game can be found here. And it has won the award for “Top Ten Games You’ve Never Heard Of” in March 2006.
Basically, u control a character that is able to fly through the skies and clouds. The whole game is rendered in 3D view so u can fly up, fly down, fly anywhere u like. And if u r high enuff in the sky, u can look down on the lands and u see this great view of the vast ocean and the little green islands all around.
Now, your character has two special abilities. First, he can attract clouds, sorta like pulling lumps of clouds along as he flies. So as u gather more and more clouds, ur lump of cloud become really huge and it becomes harder and harder to control. This brings me to talk about the game physics. The game physics is fluent and very believable, kind of like the way I would expect clouds to move if I’m really gathering the clouds myself. I think there’s quite a fair bit of fluid mechanics involved in developing the physics engine. But it made gathering the clouds really fun and addictive.
The second ability is something like to keep all the clouds in ur pocket. So instead of pulling the clouds, u take the cloud and keep them so u no longer see them in the sky. Later, u can take them out and pull them back onto the sky again. This ability allows u to draw pictures with ur clouds. Imagine there are all these small little clouds in the sky that just seem scattered. U fly all around, gather them into a huge lump, then u keep all of them in ur bag. Now u can fly to an empty patch in the sky, and slowly start taking out ur clouds and put them in the sky like u r drawing with a pen. This way, u can create pictures like a pirate ship, a raintree, a lion, etc. We all remember looking up at the clouds and imagining a pirate ship or a lion when we were young. Essentially, this game lets u draw all these urself.
I quite enjoyed this game myself. But I did notice that the learning curve can be quite steep. Learning how to control the flying movements and eventually gathering clouds isn’t very easy to do. The in-game instructions wasn’t very helpful either so I had to learn alot of the controls be experimenting. Secondly, I feel that the controls isn’t well thought out enough. For example, to gather the clouds, I need to hold down the left mouse button, and since the whole game is about gathering clouds, I ended having to hold down the LMB pretty much throughout the whole game and it is very tiring. I thought a better idea would be an on/off trigger where I can click once to go into gathering mode and click again when I want to stop gathering. The camera controls are also confusing and most of the time, I couldn’t get the zoom on my character and my clouds correctly. Another irritation is the lack of altitude indication. Often, I couldn’t see how high my clouds are and whether they are at the right levels to attract in other clouds. Finally, I want to mention that the playing time is pretty long. It’s not something that u can play for a few minutes during a teabreak, so maybe it’s more suited for a relaxing afternoon rather than a relaxing lunch break.
The game has a refreshing concept and game design and sets the mood really well. If not for the problems with the controls and camera which can lead to some frustration, I would have given it a higher score. 2.5 out of 5 Gamepads.