Cloudstone starts from a dream, a dream about lost stones, slaying dragons and awakening of a powerful sword, a dream of an adventurer’s. And that adventurer is just you who wake to get the feeling that the real adventure is yet to come, or rather continue where the dream stops. By alternating between comic book-style narration and practical combat in starting scenes, the game tells a vague back story about lost stones, dragon guardian and upcoming adventure while at the same time familiarizes you with basics in terms of movement, combat, skills, equipment and energy design.
After the tutorial, you are on your own to explore the world. Sassafra Island being the starting point, exploration in the map, node to node, constitutes the bulk of gameplay. As you clear one level and unlock the next, you are always offered certain objective to achieve, collecting 20 jellies here and retrieving stolen goods there, but have to fight your way through all the time. But you don’t have to single-mindedly focus on the quest goal; and it’s kind-of pleasure to do certain bywork along the way, helping several contractor NPCs collect some items, such as leaves sparking in the trees that are used to make a magical garment, some parts to make a backpack, or leaves with unnaturally sharp edges to piece a decent weapon. Both completion of quests and leveling up will grant coins, weapons or outfits.
Not only are weapons and coins, you also gain one skill point per level up. Although you don’t select any class in the beginning, that doesn’t mean there isn’t the class design. In effect, you will find three classes when you come to learn the skill section, which are list as Warrior, Wizard and Monk with distinct skill tree each. And you can freely develop your avatar, blending all three types or focusing on one single archetype. Three skill trees develop mainly around the feature of three classes – skills in the category of Warrior are for close quarters combat and swordsmanship; those for Wizard are around spell-casting in ranged battles; and those for Monk are about healing and speedy attack.
New skills unlocked will be automatically placed in the hotkey. Combat is quite simple – basic attack drains health quickly and accumulates mana that is required to initiate skills. Skills are more powerful than basic attack, but have cool down time. Varied in effect, skills are well-rendered with visuals as well. For instance, Heal Bomb presents a circle of rolling balls around you to deal damage to all enemies around you; Crushing Blow shows great power to crack the ground; and Power Burst makes the air around you to explode to drive away nearby enemies. It’s enjoyable to see the power of each skill, only that they drain mana quite quickly after several uses, especially when you are cornered by a horde of enemies.
To explore, you can summon a friend to go together with you. While you can easily handle enemies in all but the last node of a map, you need friends’ help to defeat the boss and hordes of minor monsters there; otherwise, you are likely to die alone, surrounded by looking-down enemies, as health points hit zero. If you don’t have many friends in the game, it’s suggestible to save the summoning for the last fight, for a summoned friend also has cool-down time, almost two hours. Upon death, you can choose to instantly recover in the spot by spending five Rubies, the premium currency, or give up to start over this node at the cost of 2 more Energy. Yes, energy bar is set in the game, which is consumed every time your start a new node, five points each. Yet, energy bar doesn’t pose too strict a constraint on gameplay, not in the beginning levels at least.
If you are tired of adventure, you can return to the Sky Haven. There, Flying Pig Tavern is for all adventurers to chat in the 3D room; Job Board is open for players above Lv. 10, and a Home is promised to come soon. Although the Practice Field there sounds interesting, it turns out a bore and redundant, with only three scarecrows standing there for you to hack.
Cloudstone depicts a beautiful and stylish wonder-island where even the enemies you confront are cute and chubby. Gameplay is simple and linear, all in casual and lighthearted manner to attract youngsters most. If you love casual gaming, it’s not a bad choice to take a little adventure is the floating island.