Uncasual: Cloudstone and The Grinns Tale
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 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 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.
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!