Cloud Raiders
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Cloud Raiders review – Cross skies (and platforms) in this Windows Phone raiding game

Clash of Clans is one of the most profitable mobile games in existence. But developer Supercell has so far refused to bring Clash to Windows Phone. That refusal opens up the doors for companies like Gameloft to swoop in and make their own Clash-like games. But Gameloft’s Total Conquest sits on the buggy side of things, so maybe you’re looking for a different game to play involving clans and clashes.

That’s where Game Insight’s Cloud Raiders comes in. A competitive raiding game set within a Skylanders-like world of floating islands, Cloud Raiders shows loads of polish even during its first official month of release on Windows Phone. With casual strategic battles, base building, clan support, and unrivaled cross-platform support, Cloud Raiders is both a great replacement for Clash of Clans and an impressive game all on its own. Read on for our full review.

Like Robinson Crusoe in the sky

Cloud Raiders Windows Phone

At the start of the game, the player’s airship falls prey to an attack from rival sky pirates. It quickly crashes, stranding the crew on one of the fantasy world’s many floating islands. The team will have to build a base in order to keep those pirates at bay, and take back some loot in the process.

Your base is centered around a building called the Stronghold. This building determines what buildings and items are available to you and how far you can upgrade your existing buildings. You’ll want to upgrade it at every opportunity since it directly impacts your offensive and defensive capabilities. At the moment, the Stronghold maxes out at level 6. The game teases several units and items that can’t be built just yet – not until game Insight raises the Stronghold level limit.

Defenses

Cloud Raiders Windows Phone

To defend your island, you’re going to need guns and arrows. Well, cannons and crossbows to be specific. Placing these types of turrets wisely requires some trial and error. Each one has a certain radius and might be stronger against some enemies than others. One turret only attacks aerial enemies, which 99 percent of players don’t use so it’s practically worthless. I think Game Insight plans to add another type of aerial unit in the future, which might make them more prevalent.

AI raiding parties will attack your base intermittently, but luckily those attacks only begin with your say so. Human players on the other hand will attack several times a day. Depending on how successful they are, they could come away with lots of the gold and clouds you’ve accumulated. Stand up to player attacks sufficiently well and your rank will increase; lose and it drops down a hair.

Building walls also plays a huge role in base defense. Walls cost lots of gold to build, and can be upgraded several times for increasingly steep prices. The overall idea is to protect your Stronghold and coin and cloud reserves sufficiently with walls, which slow nearly every enemy unit down. Meanwhile your turrets will pick off the invaders, hopefully before those baddies get to the good stuff. Base layout really offers a wide array of strategic possibilities.

Offenses

Cloud Raiders Windows Phone

The real fun in Cloud Raiders is attacking other players’ islands. Each time you go out on an attack, you’ll bring an army of units. These include infantry, archers, strong guys, bomb dudes who blows up walls, and a few more types. Each costs a certain amount of clouds to create, takes up a different amount of space in your attacking team, and prioritizes specific targets. A few of the units can be upgraded eventually, but (annoyingly) not all of them.

The game automatically matches you against an opponent. You get fifteen seconds or so to study the rival player’s base and decide whether to attack it or not. If you the recommended target looks too tough or (more likely) has too little gold to be worth the effort, you can spend a little gold to re-roll… and re-roll… and re-roll. The matchmaking could be a lot better. My vote is to let players prioritize gold, clouds, or valor (PvP points) in order to cut back on the repeated searches for decent targets.

Having settled on an opponent, it’s time to deploy your units! Players don’t directly control their units in this game, which might make you think the battles lack strategy or are too hands-off. But in fact, the choice of where and when to deploy each unit plays a big part in winning the battle. Knowing what your units will attack and providing them with proper support can make all the difference. Once you get the hang of things, these casual strategy battles get pretty fun.

After returning from battle with the resources you’ve stolen, your units will be exhausted. Rebuilding a raiding party can take up to 30 minutes depending on the level of your buildings and the size of the raiding party. The wait can be a drag, but games like this want you coming back throughout the day.

Coins, clouds, and gems

Cloud Raiders Windows Phone

In Cloud Raiders, players will mine and steal two types of soft currencies: coins and clouds. Coins are mostly used for building and upgrading defensive buildings and walls. Clouds pay for unit production, some non-defensive buildings, and clearing away obstacles from your island. Eventually clouds will pile up while players constantly scrounge for gold; the two currencies don’t have a perfect balance.

The premium currency is gems. Although completing missions (such as clearing away obstacles and upgrading specific buildings) rewards players with gems, you can also choose to buy them with real money.

Like with most free to play games, gems can be used to speed up building times and other processes like unit production. Speeding up unit production can be especially useful since it lets you attack other players and steal their gold faster. If you’re trying not to spend much, speeding up stuff probably isn’t the way to go.

On the other hand, Cloud Raiders is one of the most fairly monetized free to play games I’ve come across. In almost every way, not buying gems won’t put you at a disadvantage. The one and only aspect in which ponying up is strongly encouraged would be builders.

See, you can only upgrade one building or structure at a time by default. These things take minutes, hours, or days to complete on their own. A second builder costs 500 gems – five bucks, basically. Extra builders get more expensive after that. But if you get into Cloud Raiders and seriously dig the gameplay, buying that second builder is practically a necessity. And that’s fair, to pitch in a little something if you like a game and plan to continue playing it for very long.

Clans and cross-platform

Cloud Raiders Windows Phone WPCentral clan

Being inspired by Clash of Clans, Cloud Raiders has full clan support. Right now, joining a clan lets you share units with other clan members (so you can take more units into battle than a clan-less player) and engage in asynchronous clan chat (global chat is coming soon). Clans have their own leaderboard rankings, providing an extra level of competition to the game.

It just so happens that Windows Phone Central has a clan of its own. After restoring the clan headquarters building on your island, request to join the WPCentral clan. You must have 250 valor (PvP ranking). I look forward to teaming up with you guys!

Clans and all of Cloud Raiders’ features are cross-platform right from the start on Windows Phone. Players can jump back and forth between Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and Facebook without losing any progress. Playing with friends regardless of their platform preference is just too cool. The upcoming Windows 8 and RT versions will be cross-platform too.

Overall Impression

Although Cloud Raiders has a bit of an AI campaign, there’s no real story to it and you’ll eventually run out of campaign raids to complete. The real meat of the game is raiding other players over and over – hence the game requiring an online connection. If you’re a competitive player with a mind for strategy, you’ll love endlessly raiding hapless (and not so hapless) bases.

It’s great to see Game Insight branch out into games with core appeal on Windows Phone, especially with full cross-platform and cloud save support. Let’s hope they continue releasing games like this in addition to their stable of city builders.

  • Cloud Raiders – Windows Phone 8 – 84 MB – Free – Store Link

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Comments

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CX1 says:

Another pay to win game.

kenzibit says:

Pfffttt no thank you

Sam Sabri says:

Not really. I haven't spent a dime on this game and I'm doing quite well ;)

efektos says:

Yeah, but once you'll be pitted against a player which is just as good as you - but which is also spending real money on the game - you won't stand a chance...

Paul Acevedo says:

That's not how the game works at all. You guys need to read the review before commenting.

kabirdhawan says:

That is if the app was better designed and your finger does not accidentally press a speed up button costing you your hard earned 150 gem yeah
Then maybe not

I like this game. I can't seem to get into clash of clans , I've tried several times now.
Don't be put off this isn't just another clone either , it's actually added its own extras and features!

Sam Sabri says:

Fun game. Didn't think I'd like it as much as I do.

SamiHanna says:

I'm only playing royal revolt 2

Kdawg1989 says:

As much as I like royal revolt 2 I am so sick so losing my game save. I have lost it twice and you have to run through the tutorial again and then email support and they can restore your account.. They claim the next update should fix it so until then no royal revolt for me.

Moodi1520 says:

Yeah I was so disappointed when I lost my game save, I mean I lost everything. This sucks hope they will fix it in the next update.

Kronus24 says:

Not to mention its not a universal game between mobile and pc, Only clouds saves your pc games. So you have 2 different accounts one for your mobile and one for your pc. Who wants to play 2 differents accounts , how lame.

vielze says:

there's crazy trick to instantly train troops without speed up using gems . hope this get fixed .

Moodi1520 says:

What's that trick?

vielze says:

its kinda complicated and it doesnt work anymore to me after i upgrade my storage (cloud and gold) above lvl 5 . so this mean maybe this trick require storage below lvl 5 . i just accidentally find the trick lol

Game developers hate him.

Aashish13 says:

So what if super cell doesn't make clans for wp. We have similar good and better games like cloud raisers,total conquests, kingdom n lords. Even ages of empire is coming especially for us.

bcasteel says:

I would go nuts over age of empires on tablet

drlemmy says:

I hate these pay for play properly games. In the end you always have to pay lots of money!

vielze says:

developer need to live too :)

dakranii says:

There's no need to pay to play it.  There are no special things you can accomplish by paying other than speeding up the progress.  The nice thing about this model, though, is it's open for everyone but allows those who want to suppport developers to do so.  I haven't paid in this game yet, but on Clash I paid to get some extra builders.  My thought is, I've played this game so much, I would have been willing to pay $15 for it.  So I paid $15 in upgrades.  Now I'm done paying and can get on with playing the game.

fishfingers says:

As the article says in this game you don't get punished for not paying. It's actually a great game!

dakranii says:

It's not a bad game and definitely fills a hole that Clash of Clans is leaving.  I play it and will continue to do so, but I'm not super excited about it.  My comparison is this:

Target and K-mart are essentially the same store.  They sell pretty much the same things, are laid out pretty much the same, and both fill pretty much the same role.  But there's a noticable difference.  Target's products are better, their selection is a little nicer, the store seems more polished and put together, and there are a lot more shoppers at Target.

Clash is Target, Cloud Raiders is Kmart.  It works the same, plays the same, is essentially the same game...but it's missing the polish, the nicer touches, and the shoppers.

Paul Acevedo says:

What do you specifically like better about Clash?

dakranii says:

I think the visuals are better, the animations are more fluid and paced better.  Cloud's animations are jerky, less fluid.  So from a polish stand-point, I think Clash is more visually appealing.  Second, Cloud feels empty.  Clash is likely, and as such feels, much larger in terms of users.  When looking for someone to attack, or looking to join a clan, having a larger populace just adds to the game for me.

Otherwise, they're pretty much the same game.

semerdar34 says:

Loving the game, do I wish we had clash of Clans... Yes just so WP can say "yea we have that also" but this game is great cant wait till PC/RT app comes out

aschaps says:

So how does this compare to Total Conquest. Currently "invested" in that one. The instability of it pisses me off though. Also, Total Conquest seems to cook my battery. How's this one hold up?

bcasteel says:

I'm hoping to get an answer on that point too!

Paul Acevedo says:

This one requires a constant internet connection also, so it will still drain battery. It's not buggy though.

bcasteel says:

Can someone comment on the quality of this game vs total conquest?

Sin Ogaris says:

Personality I ended up uninstalling total conquest, I still have cloud raiders thing, it just feels more enjoyable.

irvin792 says:

My notifications stopped working for this game which really is a bummer

Onur ALTUN says:

i'm a fan of this game. programmers should also earn money, right?

Ben Hanchett says:

@paul acevedo, how do you leave a clan? I'm in a clan that doesn't have any active players.

irvin792 says:

Go to your clan information screen and in the top right hand for er of that pop up should be a leave clan icon

Tjalsma says:

I know it's probably been mentioned a million times and I know there are probably 5 million reasons why you don't want to.  However, I really think you should work towards a scoring system for reviews.  Even a "should you play it - yes or no" type of thing.

Great review though, as always.  I've been meaning to give this game a shot, I think I will now.

Paul Acevedo says:

Thanks man. I would use review scores but the bosses decided against them.

laynardi says:

Allow me to ask something paul. If i want to IAP and update game, do i have to change region to do it? Sorry but i really don't know.
as usual i always loved your review. I think you always review a great game hehe..
sorry for my unfluent english.

IzaacJ says:

Every time there's a review of a game I beg that its an Xbox title. Rarely is these days. The "Xbox" in windows phone is deteriorating faster and faster. Bought most Xbox titles and taken as many achievements as possible without horrific grinding (Connect 4 etc etc), and when I'm out of new games I'll probably end up buying an iPod touch or something for the gaming part, which sucks. I love my 1520, I love Windows Phone, but one of the major features in my eyes is being ignored. Disappointing...

coip says:

I'm with you, man. But it's Microsoft that needs to hear you: Let them know via the #SaveXboxWP movement, detailed here.

firdausikal says:

The only problem is this game is not available in Indonesia.

laynardi says:

I agree with you bro. Hate have to change region. Guess i stick to RR2. Don't have problem like anyone else :)

saulgould13 says:

Not another freemium

I hate these kind of games

Stars conquer is a good game too.

imranjazib says:

Off topic, asphalt 8 not available in the store? Paul?

Paul Acevedo says:

Imanjazib, I checked and it's still available for me. have you tried again? What region do you live in?

AndrewL920 says:

I have a question please. How do I change my name on this game? Reinstalling the game didn't work.

Paul Acevedo says:

It might not be possible, Andrew. I would ask Game Insight on Twitter or through their support channels and see what they say.

imam arifin says:

how to reset this game?  i'll play a new game   tell me pliss

 

Booston says:

Hey guys - I made a WPCentral2 Clan as the other is full. Send a request if you want to join.

Animation and graphics need to be improved.

No story. Story plz.

Paul Acevedo says:

Try not to make nonsense comments please.