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Uncasual: Cloudstone and The Grinns Tale

cloudstone logo

Well dear reader, I must apologize for the delay. March brought me a bout of sickness, and concentrating on writing was the last thing on my mind. I am back, however, and have faced the wilds of the Facebook App Store once again to bring you the tale of two games. This week we’ll be looking at Action/RPG titles Cloudstone and The Grinns Tale.

Find out if they’re worth your time after the break.

I’m growing so tired, Reader. So very, very tired. All these games are starting to look alike. Sure, the graphics may be different, but the mechanics are all the same. Slap on a new coat of paint, and you’re away to the races. If I have one more game telling me that I need to pay for more energy/water/ power, I think I might scream. Luckily, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and I think I have found two of them. I’ll start with Cloudstone.

cloudstone gameplay

Cloudstone feels in some way like an old-school Japanese RPG – think Secret of Mana or something like that. Combat is in real time, but is reliant on (I think) virtual dice-rolling happing behind the scenes. The player can equip various weapons and armor, level up various attributes, and generally shape their character around their personal play style. My character is currently a level 6 hero studying the Way of the Monk, one of three upgrade trees available. I use metal claws to fight slimes. Kinda cool.

This game is very pretty, with various enemies to fight and items to pick up and chests to open. Caves, fields, and forests are all rendered in a beautiful cartoon style. Missions (generally finishing a particular level or finding a certain type of loot) are given to you by various quirky NPCs, all of which have their own unique style. I actually found myself having fun.

Not all is rosy in Cloudstone of course – the plot is minimal (but hey! At least it exists!), strategy is virtually non-existent, and the game is constantly pestering you to spend money on various upgrades and more advanced armor. Despite these annoyances, however, Cloudstone is one of the first Facebook games that I have played in a very long while that did not make me want to punch a hole in the nearest wall. That says something, right?

the grinns tale gameplay 2

The second game that I want to draw to your attention is The Grinns Tale. This is an interesting game, and the best that I have played in quite some time… despite the fact that I absolutely suck at it. The Grinns Tale combines citybuilding with turn-based combat. Here’s the rundown – you are in charge of establishing a small community at the foot of a giant tower.

First you start gathering resources – metal and wood – and planting crops to feed your heroes. Once those basics are in place, you choose villagers to become heroes, and send them into the tower to face evil beasties. The game allows you to name heroes (most of mine are named for family members) although there is no dysentery, the naming of heroes harkens back to Oregon Trail in a really nice way.

Combat in the tower is pseudo-turn based, a little similar to how Final Fantasy operates. You assign attacks to your party, and they carry them out. Different enemies have different weaknesses, forcing you to be aware of the types of attacks you’re using and which types of heroes you have in your party. Unfortunately I’m terrible at this, and am currently stuck on the 13th floor of the tower. Simply because I am a poor planner does not devalue the worth of the idea, however.

the grinns tale gameplay 3

There is a lot to like about The Grinns Tale. The art is superb in a brownish, strange sort of way. Inventory management is great, and the town builder, while needing a little work, is adequate. Gameplay is fun, and doesn’t limit you to a certain number of turns through an artificial ‘power level’ meter. Your characters do get hungry, however, and food takes time to prepare (unless you want to pay to speed it up…).

I’ve never seen the game ask me to pester my friends, and it rarely interrupts my gameplay to ask me to pay for upgrades. If Facebook gaming gets better than this, I’ve yet to see it.

Next week I’m switching Genres entirely, and looking at the Candy Crush Saga addiction that is currently sweeping the world! Until then, faithful Reader, keep playing!

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About Jordan

I am a writer, photographer, thinker, and chaplain. You can find me online writing about theology and poverty at faithandfrustration.wordpress.com.

Posted on April 4, 2013, in UnCasual and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Let me ask you, do you think this game is ‘childish’ or do you think there is plenty for adults to enjoy as well?

  2. Hey there, thanks for the reply!
    I actually played through a little bit of Cloudstone after having read Jordan’s piece and I have to say, it was quite enjoyable for the time that I spent with it. It had an artstyle and a presentation reminiscent of Bastion, and that click-on-it action RPG gameplay that I thought was great. I really think adults who like action-RPG’s or even JRPG’s will have a good time with Cloudstone.

    Thankfully, I have a lot more patience when it comes to grinding (for loot and stronger armor) that I could still enjoy the game. You don’t have to purchase using real world money to get the good stuff, but prepare to work your butt off if you want the cool items.

    I also agree with Jordan that the story was pretty much a throwaway. I was here because the gameplay was fun. I wanted to play through at least an interesting story, but the one in the game is not, so yeah.

  3. Thanks for reading! Jan said it well – Both Cloudstone and Grinns tale are great for filling some free time, but they are by no means ‘serious’ games. There isn’t much plot in either of them. In my mind, Grinns Tale is probably better suited for older players – there is quite a bit of strategy involved, and a player who enjoys that kind of thing would probably be able to spend hours outfitting a team of heroes and fighting their way up the tower.

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