Many knock Facebook games for only allowing players to enjoy said games for a few minutes before giving them "the ultimatum": Either pay up, or wait a few hours to play again for free. The worst kinds of Facebook games turn those few minutes into a series of mundane tasks you wouldn't even want to do in the real world. The best kinds, however, take those few minutes and make the best of them, taking you on a bite-sized adventures that will have you craving for more. Cloudstone is one of those games.
Developed by Playsaurus and published by Nexon, Cloudstone is a fantasy-themed action RPG for Facebook in the same vein as classics like Diablo, albeit far more adorable and even more accessible. You're an inhabitant of the Cloudstone isles, a series of floating islands riddled with treasure-laden caves and dungeons just waiting for a bloke like you to ravage them of their monsters and loot. Like any decent release in the genre, the story is not important--it's just a means of getting you to the good stuff.
Those familiar with the old guard of PC action RPGs (or just about any Facebook game, for that matter) will feel right at home in Cloudstone. Clicking anywhere on a given dungeon map moves your fully customizable character--a fire-flinging wizard, an unwieldy warrior or a masterful monk--and holding the left mouse button allows your avatar to move constantly in that direction. The addition of special abilities, like bursts of flaming bats and crushing sword blows, require you to press the number keys.
In short, the controls are nothing the average Facebook game fan couldn't navigate. Where Cloudstone delves a bit deeper are in features like skill trees that, as players gain strength and level up, unlock interesting new abilities and the oodles of equipment that enhances a player's statistics. Granted, these could be better explained to the uninitiated, but it's nothing simple logic couldn't deduce: Wizards are probably going to want to wear items that increase their Sorcery, for instance.
Where Cloudstone succeeds is in that it allows players to almost instantly leap into a dungeon filled with slimes, bats and other baddies that guard stashes of gold and other goodies for players to gobble up. It's the classic RPG beat-em-up distilled into a formula that time-stretched social game fans can appreciate. And players don't even have to be without friends: The game takes a cue from similar offerings in the genre in allowing players to asynchronously summon friends' characters to their aid.
For those with more than enough time to spare, Cloudstone offers real-time multiplayer as well in player vs. player combat. All this and more is plopped in front of players in gorgeous form, too, with detailed, seemingly hand-drawn environments and goofy, animated monsters and characters. One thing: Can a player get some full Facebook canvas action? (Especially considering pressing keys in full screen mode throws players back into their browser window, a Flash limitation.)
Regardless of commercial success, Nexon has been on a tear when it comes to games on Facebook. And Cloudstone is vivid proof that, if Nexon isn't making them, it sure knows how to pick them. Cloudstone just might the quick fix of a dungeon romp you've been waiting for.
Click here to play Cloudstone on Facebook Now >
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