The Average Gamer

Cloud Chamber Review (Windows PC)

Cloud Chamber - Node Web
Cloud Chamber is a unique game. The gameplay isn’t traditional, but instead relies on social media and the story is bizarre. The idea is that the story is open to many different interpretations. Instead of hacking ‘n’ slashing, shooting or smashing out combos, the gameplay is all about social power. The story is told through videos, pictures and screen captured emails. Each one is locked behind a node. Nodes have different requirements for unlocking them but they’re often unlocked simply by looking at the previous node.

The nodes are spread across a 3D map, ranging from hills and ditches to bizarre things like DNA and minimalistic white. The nodes are linked with a simple line system. They can create a pretty interesting atmospheric feel, partnered with the simplistic music you can get a bit of a shiver down your spine. Each node has a social ticker next to it, referred to as the forum, where players are encouraged to discuss about the node they just viewed.

Some nodes hold more important information; these are raised up higher than the other nodes and players need to get positive feedback on their comments on the social ticker to open them. The problem with giving people a forum to talk on is that people instantly abuse that. And you can report them for it; but not many people tend to bother .

That’s all the gameplay; interacting with the community and thinking of interesting points to discuss about the game.

Cloud Chamber - The Forum

The story follows a couple of scientists; and a documentary maker working for the “Petersen Institute” as they delve into a buried experiment called the Cloud Chamber. The experiment caused the possible death of a scientist called Ingrid, and now her daughter Kathleen is reopening the experiment, smart move…

The developers of the game, Investigate North have one goal in the story, to make you ask what’s happening. Did Ingrid die or did something else happen? There is a hope that you can’t then spoil the ending, because it’s all open to interpretation but you can, easily. The whole game relies on the ability to tell a story through solid acting and hopes to spark the interest of the player by making them ask questions, but the only real question I found myself asking is “What the heck is going on?” Despite having actors from the likes of Game of Thrones, including Gethin Anthony I found the whole performance dull and unengaging. This could be more to do with the story and the writing than the acting performance.

All of the science in the game is apparently actual science. I imagine some people will love it, because you can learn all about the whizzbangs and what have you, but if you’re not a keen science student you’ll find yourself struggling to keep up or even grasp any kind of understanding of what they’re talking about. Some of the more difficult concepts are presented in a documentary style video, so it’s a little more user friendly than writing out complex jargon, but it’s still extremely hard to follow.

In reference to a screen capture from the game, not me. I have porn open all the time

In reference to a screen capture from the game, not me. I have porn open all the time

The game poses no challenge unless you’re heavily invested in the story, and even then you could just spam “Likes please?” until the community inevitably gives in to your terrorist demands and upvotes your constant spam. Without really committing to the community by joining forums, reading countless textbooks or creating huge strings of comments you won’t have a good time; you’ll just feel a bit like an outsider.

I spent the whole time feeling like I “wasn’t getting it”, and it felt like a chore to sit and watch the stale acting. The biggest problem I have with Cloud Chamber is that someone could very easily upload the whole thing to YouTube and save people £10. Plus you’ll get better gameplay out of Twitter.

Cloud Chamber is out now on Steam.

Curious about the verdict? Read our review policy.

5 Comments

  1. gondorle

    25th Aug, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Greetings,

    First and foremost I need to go directly to the point of me being here. I was actually enjoying reading your review when I got to this:

    “The game poses no challenge unless you’re heavily invested in the story, and even then you could just spam “Likes please?” until the community inevitably gives in to your terrorist demands and upvotes your constant spam. Without really committing to the community by joining forums, reading countless textbooks or creating huge strings of comments you won’t have a good time; you’ll just feel a bit like an outsider.
    I spent the whole time feeling like I “wasn’t getting it”, and it felt like a chore to sit and watch the stale acting. The biggest problem I have with Cloud Chamber is that someone could very easily upload the whole thing to YouTube and save people £10. Plus you’ll get better gameplay out of Twitter.”

    I can say for a fact the community won’t allow for like “beggars”. One thing is to go on the forums and ask for help, the Cloud Chamber community is aware of some problems with people waiting more than “normal” to get their nodes unlocked due mostly to the amount of people playing the latter chapters, so we might give a person a like or two just to get him going but NEVER on a post saying “I WANTZ LIKEZ!”. It has to have some kind of substance to it. You sir are not talking from experience as far as I know.

    If someone uploaded the whole thing to youtube it would be a royal mess and the concept of the game would be totally ruined. This just proves you probably didn’t quite get what Cloud Chamber is all about, and that is relatively acceptable I guess, the game is not for everyone and like you said – “I wasn’t getting it”- demonstrates a certain lack of basic understanding of science and real social interaction and cooperation. Also, you got to use your brain, your power of deduction, to unveil and successfully transfer your ideas to the game in a form everyone can read and understand. It is far from being an easy game…actually, it’s not just a game, it’s an experience and it must be experienced fully, not by shortcuts.

    Arrogantly stating a game like this is not a challenge and then concluding with “I wasn’t getting it” is not exactly what I’d call a good review.

    braincrow.ghost.io

    Read some stuff on this blog and you’ll probably get what Cloud Chamber is all about.

  2. Fabbi

    26th Aug, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I don’t often respond to game reviews, but would hate to think that in this case, your poorly and loosely worded review might put someone off, someone perhaps like myself.

    Just to clarify, I’m a massive MMO fan who has been addicted to Wow, battlefield, rift, SWG, defiance and a whole host more over past 15 years.. I had gotten tired of looking for a wow replacement, I had been logging on, shooting/crafting/raiding, but really the minute I logged on my brain logged off. When I downloaded cloud chamber from Steam for a relatively cheap cost, I had zero expectations, it’s was the umpteenth new title I’d thought i would “give it a go”. A couple of weeks later of playing a few hours most evenings, I am a complete cloud chamber fan & convert. The game, it’s incredible story, concepts, possibilities, theory, the incredible music and sound effects, the ability to google the clues and learn a TON of stuff, interact with similar people, and learn real life stuff about our planet has awakened every inch of my rusty brain cells. Hell there is even some hot sex thrown in! I am not a geek, I am not a astro physics guru, in fact I didn’t even know 90% of the terms mentioned in the story before I started. The community is what a real community should be like, helpful, encouraging, not the usual halfwit trolls who stalk most MMO forums.

    When your review says “That’s all the gameplay; interacting with the community and thinking of interesting points to discuss about the game”, well in actual fact no thats so NOT all the gameplay. Watching the atmospheric video clips set to eery music and trying to piece together the timeline of all the various clues which are drip fed to you as you progress through the chapters is part of it, googling some of the refs in the clues in another part of it and finding yourself learning stuff about topics that well quite frankly were way too geeky (my opinion pre cloud chamber) is yet another. Reading other’s theories, some wild and out of this world, literally, is also another part of the experience and commenting on those theories and debating the various alternatives possible. Seeing people “upvote” your comments gives a real buzz and spurs you on to share more of your thoughts or theories or questions.

    In relation to your other comment above “if you’re not a keen science student you’ll find yourself struggling to keep up or even grasp any kind of understanding of what they’re talking about”, I can absolutely say this is not the case. I didn’t even study physics at school and could count what I know about science on my fingers of one hand. The lightbulb moment for me was finding out some startling real facts behind our planet and realising that I was missing out hugely on some really important info by not choosing to be more inquisitive about stuff like how earth’s magnetic shield is reducing and the impact that is having on our planet.

    Your comment “Without really committing to the community by joining forums, reading countless textbooks or creating huge strings of comments you won’t have a good time; you’ll just feel a bit like an outsider”, well again its just not the case. I haven’t joined ANY forums, haven’t read any textbooks and certainly don’t feel like an outsider. I just feel like part of a big club of like minded people who are keen to find out more and solve the puzzle.

    In all of us, there is a little bit of us that likes to solve mysteries or puzzles (the number of puzzle apps on apple store is a testament to that). This is a puzzle like no other, it’s draws you in, compelling you to go the next step to find out some more parts of the jigsaw. Even when I reached the end, I am now going back through the chapters again, helping and encouraging other players. I learn more every time I log on.

    On a final note the lead character is a female. Being female myself, I think this is very clever, there is a whole generation of girls out there who will love this if they dip their toe into it.. Very astute. Hope you ignore this review & try this and immerse yourself in the wonderful cloud chamber experience, but get ready for your mind to be woken up in all ways unimaginable!

    • gondorle

      26th Aug, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      You’ve left me speechless for a few moments there…By that comment you just wrote, you made me realize our infinite quest for truth is far from finished.

      Cloud Chamber is a game – yes, it’s actually a game, for those that think it’s not – and is the start of a beautiful and inspiring mark in gaming history that people won’t forget so easily. What Fabbi said is a true inspiration for a person like me. I’m 30 years old and I’ve been playing videogames since I can remember. I’ve played about every MMO that came out since Ultima Online. I’m a huge fan of great RPG titles like the Fallout Series, Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate and so on. I’ve played almost everything that I ever wanted to play. I’ve spent countless hours inside these immsersive worlds that made me dream of weird but beautiful things and I loved every minute of it. I am definetely a gamer in the literal sense of the word and I’m telling you all, give Cloud Chamber a chance. You can’t kill anyone but you can learn how to think, how to cooperate with each other, and how important research is in a virtual world like a game, or in real life. The world isn’t static, it moves constantly…the Universe moves constantly…we are mere star dust in the imensity of the cosmos so there are wonders out there happening, existing right now that you can’t possibly imagine. Cloud Chamber shows us a minor fraction of the mysteries the cosmos offers us and it is already enough to inspire people like me, Fabbi and many others, I can only imagine what it can do to other people, different people. The game puts in our brain, hands and fingers, the chance to learn, discover, to play together along with other players, other gamers. That is Cloud Chamber.

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