The first thing that I noticed right away when I started playing Negative Nimbus, the first offering from developer CloudKid, is that the game looks great. It has a sharply realized look and style, with all of the characters, backgrounds, and colors seamlessly blending together.

It should come as no surprise that CloudKid's background is in animation. That skill is on full display in this game as all of the characters have smooth and rich animations that make multiple playthroughs quite enjoyable.

The game play in Negative Nimbus is simple. You have to guide the main character, who happens to be a depressed little cloud, through a horizontally-scrolling level, trying to avoid raining on different amusing characters, while making sure to rain on all the flowers in order to earn points.

Nimbus is raining all the time, so in order to keep everyone but the flowers dry, you have to tap on him to hold it in. But he can only last so long before he has to let out the rain he's been storing up. You also receive awards for raining on pretty much everything, so it's worth it if you want to unlock all the hats and comics in the game.

Even though you might not guess from the kid-friendly look of the game, Negative Nimbus will make you laugh. I couldn't get enough of the voice of Mr. Nimbus. I could listen to the funny way that little cloud says, "Sorry about that," "I apologize," and "My bad." all day long.

And like some of the best children's entertainment, Negative Nimbus has jokes that will go over the heads of little kids, but that the parents will get.

Don't let the cute look of the game fool you, it's hard. The balance you have to achieve between tapping, holding, and slashing can get fast and furious at times. Once you get the hang of the game and it starts to seem like you've mastered it, you will be on to the next level that will up the challenge factor quite a bit, adding in new twists and turns.

If you don't score at least enough points to net one star on a level, you won't be able to progress. I won't lie, there were a few levels that turned me into a Negative Nimbus myself and I had to get pretty used to seeing this screen.

At first, I was able to make it through levels with just one hand tapping and swiping. By the time I made it to the Pirate Sands world, I definitely needed two hands to make it through.

In fact, there are several levels in the beginning where you can float through and not do anything. Any time I found myself in a new world with new characters to rain on, half the fun was not avoiding them at all, but seeing the funny animations that would happen when you rained on their parade. Perhaps there will be an actual parade that you can rain on in a future update.

In other areas of the game, it's clear that this is CloudKid's first title and a new step into the world of iOS games. The menu system is a little herky-jerky when you're navigating around, which is a bit of a contrast to how smooth the animations are in the game. It's also hard to track some of the achievements as they happen. It feels more like random occurrence rather than goals you're aiming for.

But these are just minor things in an otherwise polished product that is a very impressive first offering from CloudKid. I also want to tip my cap to the developers for releasing a first game that's directly tied to their name. Delivering as advertised!


App Store Link: Negative Nimbus for iPhone & iPad | By CloudKid | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.1.1 | 49.6 MB | Rating 4+

8.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating