XBLIG Review: Nuage – A Mellow Trip, Man

Nuage is interesting.  Collect clouds in order to form a rain cloud with which you water the land to make plants and flowers grow. Gather enough clouds and you become a thunderstorm, use up all your rain and you shrink back down to a single cloud on a sunny day.  All set to some very mellow music.


Reviewing Nuage in a traditional sense really doesn’t work.  Nuage isn’t a game in the traditional sense of the word.  There really isn’t an end, there is no score and your success is mostly a matter of how you feel.  Is your world a blooming garden or barren, that is really all that defines “winning” in Nuage.

Once you have a total of five clouds you can begin to rain, collect many more and you become a full on thunderstorm, the sky growing darker with each cloud added (though lightning, activated with LT doesn’t seem to do anything).  Collect blue raindrops falling from the sky to produce rain for longer and move the clouds around in order to water more of the land.  Various creatures wander around and bright illuminating flowers bloom and plants sprout up as you progress forward and disappear without water to sustain them.

Really, Nuage is what indie games are supposed to be about.  Trying something new and different that no major developer or publisher would honestly touch.  It is a hard sell admittedly, but there is something mildly addictive and fun about collecting the clouds and watering the earth. The music, which is a very calm, mild soundtrack, helps to create a laid back, easy-going atmosphere. It is certainly more calm than the last XBLIG I reviewed featuring a cloud.

Nuage may not, and probably will not sell enough to become the next big thing, or even a thing at all, but it is a very interesting concept; a sort of artistic take on the gaming experience. The kind of thing you really only see from someone in college to be a game designer (yes, that is the case here)  An experience that does serve to help someone relax after a long day at work.  It is hard to say how it could have been better without turning it into a traditional game, something it clearly wasn’t meant to be.  So trying to keep in the developer’s intention, the main thing that could have been improved in Nuage is the visual presentation.  There just isn’t enough variety in what grows, and everything has a very simple (almost Microsoft Paint) kind of look to it.  Take the very basic concept of Nuage and apply it to some truly beautiful graphics and you would certainly have a casual experience that would catch more attention.

Ultimately, Nuage is an idea destined to fly under the radar because it is just very different.  Different enough that I’ve decided to forgo the typical review score in this case as it is pretty hard to give a review to this type of game.  What I can say is that there is a simple sort of pleasure to be had in it; enjoyable in spite of or because of a lack of almost everything else that typically defines a video game.  It’s different, which is something indie games are allowed to be, which is part of why we like them.  It may deserve a look for that if nothing else.

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
Time to completion: N/A
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: N/A – Copy furnished by EdensPuzzle Games
Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price: Can’t go cheaper.
Why you should buy it: It’s unique.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Not a game in the typical sense.

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About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.