Cloud Chasers - Finding the drops in the desert
| Cloud Chasers
Oooh, what's that you're playing?

This? It's Cloud Chasers. It's a game about collecting water from clouds, and doing your best not to die from thirst.

Die from thirst? Pretty grim then

Yeah, don't let the bright cartoon visuals fool you. This is a pretty harsh experience. It's part roguelike, part choose your own adventure, and part arcade-y flight game. And it all gels together pretty darn well.

Okay, I'm interested. Continue

Thanks I will. The game is split into a couple of different sections. First there's a sort of world map that sees your two characters, a father and a daughter, wandering through the desert. Above them float some thick, fluffy clouds.

Those are the clouds you're chasing then

That's right. And when you walk under one you can launch a glider, piloted by the young girl, to collect the droplets of moisture. Your water supply depletes as you move through the desert, so you need to make regular stops to replenish it.

That it?

Nope. There are other people in the wasteland too. Some of them will help you, some of them will hinder you, some of them will grab you and take you back to the last city you visited. Then there are the giant water-machines.

Giant water-machines? That sounds ominous

Yup, they're bad news. There are smaller ones too, and towers that fire out rockets at you. Water is scarce, and it's fair to say that the equipment you're using is far from high-tech. It's wood and cloth against technologically advanced vapour farming behemoths.

Sounds like it's a bit of a fight for survival

Absolutely. You won't just run out of water, you'll lose health from random encounters as well. Some events you can avoid, others creep up on you. You might fall down a cliff, or take a risk climbing into a cave only to end up with a nasty gash.

A nasty gash? Hardly a life-ending wound

It is if you're travelling across a desert with limited drinking water, and the cut is slowing you down. Everything here is potentially dangerous. It reminded me a bit of Out There in that respect. It might not be as big in scope, but it's just as grim in its outlook.

A right barrel of laughs

Well, it's not supposed to be. There's a message behind the gameplay, about how simple it is for people in the developed world to get water, and how we often take that fact for granted. Everything is hard, every choice is life or death, and the consequences can be absolutely heartbreaking.

I like games with messages

Then I reckon you're going to like this one. It's got real heart, and there are some interesting ideas in play here too. It's not perfect, and after a while it does get a little repetitive, but it's still an engaging ride while it lasts.

That'll be a recommendation then?

It will indeed. It's worthy, but not in a preachy way. It paints its world in shades of grey, and let's you experience a world you're unlikely to ever experience. And that's exactly the sort of thing games should be doing.

Cloud Chasers - Finding the drops in the desert

A sad and sometimes difficult game about how water is the difference between life and death
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.