There aren’t a ton of RTS flash games, but maybe that scarcity is why the good ones tend to be popular. Cloud Wars is the latest game added to the (slowly growing) list of RTS flash games. It might not be as complicated as actual real time strategy games, but it is still a fun interlude if you’re looking for a basic strategy game to kill time.
Phage Wars and Civilizations Wars are two of the biggest RTS flash games, and the gameplay in Cloud Wars is very much the same. You start with a territory -marked with a big cloud- and your job is to take over other territories until you’ve conquered the entire level. There are no real resources outside of the amount of units you have available, which accumulate over time. In this way, Cloud Wars, and games like it, are the most basic type of real time strategy.
The Good Stuff
What really makes this game entertaining is rushing for upgrades. Every once in a while, a star will spawn on the map and the faction that gets it and brings it home gets an upgrade for one of their base clouds. You will not be able to keep up with their expansion or be able to defend yourself effectively if you ignore the stars and do not upgrade. Being the first one in a level to get to a star and bring in back can put you at a significant advantage, and continuing to compete for and gather stars as a level progresses is more than half of the fun. The other half, of course, is defending your territory and amassing a huge cloud army to take over your rivals.
There’s no doubt that Cloud Wars is fun, but I have two basic complaints. The first is that it’s just too easy. Even on normal and hard difficulty, you probably won’t be having too much trouble defeating the computer opponents. The second is that the game is too short. There are only fifteen levels, and because they are generally short you’re not going to spend a lot of time playing and finishing doesn’t feel rewarding.
Cloud Wars would be more popular and better remembered if it were longer and more difficult, but as it stands it won’t leave a lasting impression on you. The mad race for upgrades is a nice addition to the standard RTS flash game formula, but the lack of lasting power really puts a dent in its chances of being one of the “big” games in the genre.
It’s fun, it’s charming, and it eventually falls flat on its face. It’s a shame.