When it comes to reviewing games there’s generally an easy way to start because the genre is usually familiar, and from there judgements can be made in comparison to other games that are similar. Cloud Chamber presents a problem in that regard because it’s quite different anything I’ve played before. “Played” may even be the wrong word in this case, in fact “experienced” is far more suited for Cloud Chamber. At it’s most basic core Cloud Chamber is a mystery title, where the pieces are out there and they have to be put together.
Cloud Chamber is a story about a mysterious signal, space, and a scientist’s obsession with it all. That scientist’s name is Kathleen Petersen and she is joined on her journey by Max, a DJ, and Thomas, a documentary maker. When you first begin this journey this is all the information you have, but as you click through different nodes you’re presented with video diaries, footage from documentaries, notes, emails, and drawings. The idea is to work out what these individual pieces mean and how they fit in the overall picture.
It is possible to get through the ten chapters by yourself but that would be detrimental if you want more knowledge. Cloud Chamber requires players to work together and discuss theories for each piece of evidence. You can leave your own theory in the discussion box for the evidence, and other players can reply with their input. There’s also a voting system to promote the replies that add to the conversation, while those that are considered spam can be downvoted and ignored. If your comments get upvoted you can gain access to extra information.
Trying to get access to that information can be a bit of a challenge because you have to post something that someone else hasn’t already considered. As everyone shares the same game this could have been a problem as more players join, as there are only a certain number of relevant questions that can be asked for any situation. The developers, Investigate North, realised this problem and implemented a system where comments disappear over time, so newer players can discover the answers for themselves.
The main cast of Cloud Chamber stars Gethin Anthony – Renly from Game Of Thrones – who plays Max, Gwilym Lee as Thomas, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen as Kathleen, and Jesper Christensen – who starred in Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace – as Gustav. The acting by this cast is very well done, with Sara really taking the spotlight as she goes through a range of emotions as the results of her experiment unfold.
The design of Cloud Chamber is put together very well with each of the ten chapters having a various number of nodes, from four to over twenty, all of which are traversed to by a ball of light. You don’t control that light as it’s actually an animation that leads you to a node you’ve clicked on. There were a couple of times where I forgot which nodes I had already visited, so something to differentiate between would have been good, like having the visited ones turn blue instead of remaining white. The music also plays a central role in the game, and the soundtrack does worm its way into your mind. I recommend listening to the game while wearing headphones for total immersion.
Cloud Chamber is quite unlike anything else I’ve played recently and is a title that could be of interest to those that like investigating, and trying to figure out what is happening with other people. Cooperation and communication is key to unlocking all the secrets that Cloud Chamber holds. The way the cast acts can really draw you in to the mystery, and the amount of documents that have been posted up hold so many theories themselves. What one person may miss another may see, with different interpretations really adding to the experience.
If you want something different from anything else, then this could be for you.