This review originally appeared on PSPMinis.com back on June 25, 2012. Read my Postmortem about that website, soon.
Dakko Dakko’s inaugural entry in the Minis program was The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character, whose quirky title directly reflects its core gameplay. Now, the developer is back with yet another game with a playful title, Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims. The fact of the matter is Dakko Dakko just titles their games descriptively faithfully, albeit a tad long but indeed accurate.
This particular Mini greatly reminds me of past Japanese games which possess eccentric gameplay and spirited animations. It’s difficult to categorize this game. Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims is part shooter, part defense game, a la Who’s That Flying?!. But one thing is for sure: this game is a whole lot of fun.
In Cloud God, you control a deity riding a cloud, just like Son Goku of Dragon Ball. I just can’t let up with the Japanese references, forgive me. Back to the game, your job, as a god, is to protect your pilgrims in their journey across perilous territories. There is no actual health bar, but the game definitely ends when your pilgrims meet their maker—well, they somewhat already did, but what I mean is that it is Game Over once every single one of them dies.
The pilgrims also empower you with their . . . love. You must get all of the love (given form as hearts) that they excrete, which then makes you much more powerful than you already are. You increase in size, look more menacing, and your attacks are more powerful. The pilgrims get the most excited when they witness ambushing ghosts and ghouls get annihilated by you. When they are excited, they produce more love, meaning more power to you.
However, you have to be very careful when shooting. You grow weaker with every shot, so try not to channel your inner war-freak and have a little restraint, for the good of both yourself and the pilgrims. You also lose some of your steam if you get hit by enemy forces. And sometimes, the situation calls to for you to sacrifice your mightiness and provide cover to the pilgrims from the enemy assault with your own self.
There are two types of attack: the normal shot (by pressing X), and the bomb shot (by pressing Circle). The direction of the normal shot depends on what direction you are pressing, so there is some strategy to what part of the screen you should be shooting from. Being too far from your pilgrims is very dangerous but allows you to cover more ground, while launching a full frontal assault can protect your pilgrims by absorbing all the incoming fire. You have to think through, in real time, what tactics you would like to employ. You can always get in the middle, then rush forward, then get to a safe distance; mix and match, and you got yourself going.
The bomb shot is used if you are above the enemy. But that’s not all, as some enemies can’t be killed with the bomb shot, only with the normal shot, and vice versa. There are also enemies where you have to inflict bomb shot damage first before switching to the normal shot to take them out.
You can shoot your own pilgrims, which makes them lose their hats. They won’t die, but it’s just a nice touch for cuteness. Also, the pilgrims upgrade their hats every time you complete a level if, and only if, no one dies. I haven’t really tried losing a pilgrim, since I readily reset the game if I suffer casualties—come on, you have to save them! They’re all too adorable. But they’re also all too weak, just one shot and they’re dead on the spot.
Enemies are varied, and they look good, even if they are vile and evil. There are boss fights, too, to keep you on your toes. The game art is astounding, really astounding. The animations are fluid, the music heavenly. The backdrops and environments look very good. Crazy, I so love it.
Admittedly, this game has its weaknesses. True, it has plenty of levels, but we’ve seen other Minis released with so much content. Cloud God could have included much more content, but I won’t whine about that. The game already offers too great an experience in a small package, and it’s just too pleasant to play this game.
Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims is charming, lovable, and ultimately relaxing, so much so that writing this review hasn’t seemed like a chore; instead, it seems like I am sharing the love as the pilgrims did to me while I was protecting them from harm.