Floating Cloud God Saves The Pilgrims In HD Review

More indie goodness comes to the PS Vita with the latest offering from developers Dakko Dakko, with Floating Cloud God Saves The Pilgrims. Yet another game to receive the HD treatment after a previous PS Mini release. 

Floating Cloud God Saves The Pilgrims is essentially a 2D sidescrolling shooter, but with an interesting concept, rather than the traditional lives based system. Your task as the aforementioned Cloud God is to keep the pilgrims alive, shooting down the various enemies that seem hell bent on killing the unfortunate targets.

Starting with eight pilgrims under your watch, they act as something of a health meter, as well as your own mobile power-up station. Each time a pilgrim is hit by an enemy, they will die before floating off, leaving you with one less to protect. At the same time they will pump out hearts regularly, that allow your Cloud God to increase his powers.

What is clever is just how it works. There is a risk versus reward system here that has a huge bearing on the outcome. Kill an enemy and the hearts start flowing, kill more and those hearts get bigger and increase your power quicker. However they won’t float for long and if there is a lull in the action, they will simply disappear. You need to make sure you are positioned well enough to collect them, while making sure at the same time, you are not putting the pilgrims at risk by allowing the enemy to get too close and lower your numbers.

As long as you have at least one pilgrim alive, you will be able to progress through the levels. Once they are all dead, then that’s it! Game Over! Initially the levels you play seem simple enough, but as you progress the difficulty soon ramps up. The action comes thick and fast and collecting hearts, whilst killing enemies and keeping pilgrims alive becomes one hell of a challenge.

The hearts you collect aren’t permanent either, so simply holding the right stick in a direction and firing constantly will see the extra firepower end quickly, leaving you and your pilgrims vulnerable. The colour of your cloud signifies how much of a powerup you still have, so needing to keep on top of those hearts is vital.

You can retry levels as many times as you want, or you can go back and attempt to ‘re-write’ history. Each level is scored based on how many pilgrims have been saved. So should you get through a number of levels with all the pilgrims in tact, then find on a later level you lose a lot, but then continue through, you can go back to a specific level and continue from there. Or start from scratch if you so wish.

There is no leaderboard, no online competition or any real scoring, It is simply a case of playing through and keeping those pilgrims alive. Whilst initially it seems a bit of a let down not to have any competitive scoring, it does make sense. This isn’t a score attack game, that isn’t the goal. There isn’t any real incentive for getting through a level any quicker. To have a score system artificially inserted would take away from the charm of the game.

The drive of the game is that you simply don’t want to lose. Save all the pilgrims in a level and they get new hats to wear and whilst the hats have no real value, or offer anything in terms of bonuses, it is a striking visual clue as to just how well you are doing. Just getting to the end of the game is an achievement in itself, getting  there without losing a pilgrim and seeing all the cool new hats along the way adds a little something extra.

Floating Cloud God Saves The Pilgrims is another excellent game from the team behind The HD Adventures Of Rotating Octopus character and again is a perfect fit on the Vita, looking stunning on the OLED screen. The Vita is being pigeon holed as an Indie machine, but if the games continue to be of this quality, then bring it on.

What you have here is a game that has that special something, simple to play, but extremely difficult to master. It gets the balance so right, that any frustrations of difficulty are completely eradicated as you want to tackle levels again and again just to get each one perfect. A wonderful addition to the Vita’s impressive Indie library.