‘Cloud Raiders’ is a tower defense-strategy hybrid inspired by Yes, Gorillaz, and ‘Warcraft 2′

March 13, 2014
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Ever since that madman at Reese’s combined peanut butter and chocolate, people have been jamming disparate things together, hoping they’d come up with something good. The latest of these experiments is Cloud Raiders, which gets elements of real-time strategy in my tower defense game—or maybe it gets elements of tower defense games in my RTS.

And as innoWate CEO Anatoly Ropotov admits, there’s a bit of rock & roll in Cloud Raiders as well. 

TabTimes Games: What kind of game is Cloud Raiders?

It’s an action-strategy game that combines elements of tower defense games with real-time strategy games. We wanted to build a game where players attack hordes of enemy troops with their squads.

In Cloud Raiders, players must defend their base from invading pirates by building defenses, hiring troops, and placing those troops in bunkers. While the enemy is attacking, players can call in a battle carrier fleet equipped with a variety of upgradeable power-ups, such as freezing cannons. Or they can just deploy troops from bunkers and send them to attack the enemy directly. Some missions require strategic thinking, such as rearranging buildings in multiple layers, so that while enemies crawl through defenses, your turrets and battle cruisers will have enough time to destroy them.

Once an attacking fleet is defeated, you can pursue the enemy to their home base, and once those map parts are collected, they’ll lead players to new lands, which are coming in new updates.

There’s also a full-featured, online, competitive player-versus-player mode with leaderboards and a plethora of upcoming clan features, such as chat and co-op quests.

Where did the original idea come from?

While working on real-time battles for another game, we came upon the idea of a classic RTS mode with endless waves of enemies coming and attacking players’ bases. As players recruited more troops, and received more and more damage, their action point meters would fill up until they were able to start launching fireballs. This idea was inspired by an old game, The Horde, which had a special trident that could summon a meteor shower. It looked so cool that we wanted to build a whole game around it.

When I hear “floating island,” I immediately think of the album covers Roger Dean did for Yes back in the ’70s. Is your art style influenced by Dean?

Many years ago, we built a puzzle game about floating islands in the ocean, with each of the islands representing such elements as fire and ice. We started evolving this idea and sketching things floating in the skies with the same lead artist. The first thing floating in the skies was an amazing fortress inspired by the works of artist M.C. Escher.

As we continued development, we drew inspiration from Roger Dean’s work as well, but we’ve also been obsessed with a game from late ’90s called NetStorm.

Though the day our art team started working on characters, we knew the islands had to change. Their main source of energy is Cloud Nectar, collected by Beacons and stored inside Silos. That led us to create a series of buildings powered by Cloud Steam…with flying Battle Carriers. Soon, we were introducing even more steampunk items into the game. But since we’re huge fans of strategy games, there’s also a little touch of Warcraft II in there. 

The final details of the island, with propellers and rivers, were inspired by the Flying Windmill Island that appears in some of the music videos by Gorillaz.

You’re going to be introducing clans to the game. Does this mean Cloud Raiders isn’t for people who don’t play well with others?

Ha! We know that lone, clan-less warriors can do as well as the best players in clans. It’s all about dedication. But with chats, clan leaderboards, ways to exchange troops, and much more in upcoming updates, the game really becomes social. Players will also be able to join a clan and receive support in the form of extra troops from their fellow clan members. Oh, and did I mention the weekly gifts of unique, limited troops to the top-ranked clans?

Cloud Raiders is available for Android now, and it's coming soon for Windows tablets and iPads. Since the game has a player-vs.-player element, can you play against people on other kinds of tablets?

That’s one of the killer features that we are focusing on adding. We’d like our players to have a seamless, cross-platform experience.

(For the best iPad game news and reviews, sign up for the free iPad Games newsletter.)

Your game is free-to-play. But some F2P games have come under a lot of scrutiny lately for being aggressive about microtransactions. How does your pay structure work, why did you choose this method, and what are you doing to make sure you to don’t annoy your players?

It’s pretty straightforward: players can access the contents of the entire game just by playing. No content is locked for paying customers only. However, throughout the game, enemy waves get tougher, and it’s up to players to decide whether they want to gradually build up a stronger base before taking a shot at incoming enemy waves, or whether they want invest in improved defenses right away. Though we’re also going to provide daily units as gifts on our Facebook page, so there will be plenty of ways to receive stuff for free on a regular basis.

(For the best Android tablet game news and reviews, sign up for the free Android Tablet Games newsletter.)

Lastly, this is not the first game made by innoWate. Which of your other games do you think fans of Cloud Raiders would most enjoy and why?

2020: My Country is a city building game that features an amazing range of futuristic buildings and dozens of life-like disasters, from traffic jams and robberies to hurricanes and alien invasions. It’s available for iOS, Android, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8, and we’ll be also bringing it to Facebook soon with cross-platform play.

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