Made in 7 weeks: Clouds Below prototype

Sometimes it takes a bit of testing to make sure a game idea works out the way you imagine. That’s what fledgeling Swedish developers Tree of Life decided with their latest idea, Clouds Below. What came out of it is a short prototype demo of their game, which is available to download and try out yourself over on itch.io. Clouds Below clearly has a very strong nod to recent Legend of Zelda games both in art style and the feel of the gameplay.

Clouds Below is a 3d person adventure platformer. You explore the mountains above the clouds and solves wind based puzzles.

There’s still a huge amount of work to do before this game gets anywhere near close to a finished product, but it’s very impressive to see what they’ve done in just seven short weeks. It remains to be seen how the game will end up, and a lot depends on how the developers, Tree of Life, treat the puzzles and just how much depth will go into the game’s lore and world. There’s definitely a lot of potential though.

My take

I love seeing games with an art style that tries something other than photo realism, so even though this has been done before, with Wind Waker particularly, it’s definitely a art style that deserves more exploration. It almost seems like the childlike feel of the more cartoony graphics enamour the player to the exploration of the game world, encouraging you to try new areas, new tricks, new puzzles. It’s a technique that Nintendo has harnessed very well, with games like Splatoon (most recently), Mario Kart, and, of course, Wind Waker and Skyward Sword.

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Another game that we recently featured with a similar art style is Firewatch, which last showed up on the PlayStation 4 stage at E3 2015 takes on the pseudo-celshade imagery to lend a dreamy feel to the story. Blizzard’s new team-based shooter, Overwatch has it’s own take on the art style and another Press to Jump favourite is Running with Rifles. It’s a great reminder of just how much the look of a game affects the player’s interaction with it. We all like to say that “graphics aren’t everything”, but they do help set the mood and tone of a game, even if they’re not the be-all-and-end-all. It’s pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Your take

 

You can try out the prototype for free on itch.io. Follow the game’s development on Twitter and Facebook.

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About Dan Morse

From the Atari 2600 right through to bleeding fast PCs, Dan's played on them all. One thing that's never changed is an unwavering passion for video games. Twitter: @happydan | Steam: happydan | GOG: happydan