Sawbuck Gamer

Flying Kingdoms

Castle On A Cloud

The cute Flying Kingdoms lets you adventure one click at a time.

By Samantha Nelson • May 30, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Early in Flying Kingdoms, your adventurer gets some friendly advice that gathering lost chickens is just as heroic as fighting rampaging monsters. It’s a good thing, since you’ll be doing a lot of both.

This chipper blend of role-playing game and city-builder has you alternate between questing and rebuilding your airborne kingdom. The two elements are cleverly interwoven—a quest to clear out some carnivorous plants might require some magical weed killer, which you get by building a potion shop back in your kingdom. The plots are cute and entertaining. For instance, you have to deal with a gregarious companion who turns into a horse after eating a witch’s apple and then wants you to help his new equine friends. While the script is endearing, Vostu is based in Brazil, and their English translations leave something to be desired. Most issues are just typos, like the ubiquitous “misterious” chests, but some are more problematic, requiring you to puzzle out what the original Portuguese quest objectives might have been asking.

You can make plenty of progress through the plot without involving any friends, but you’ll want to start recruiting in order to unlock bonus objectives and skill ups. Even with a good social network, your progress is regularly stalled by, say, waiting around for energy to refresh after you clear a row of bushes for your city. Still, the charm and addictive feeling of progress make the game worth a few repeat visits.

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730 Responses to “Castle On A Cloud”

  1. Limeade Youth says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’d like to suggest that Vostu games be banned from this site due to their blatant cloning. 

    • HobbesMkii says:

      To be fair to Vostu, they are stealing from the biggest thieves in gaming right now.

      Look, I’ve got a Michael Arrington-penned techcrunch article too:

      • Limeade Youth says:

        Interestingly, when I started Netflix it was through one of the offers on Farmville described as a scam. It wasn’t a scam to me and I continue to be a netflix customer (albeit streaming only).

        I’d like to think the average consumer does basic research before getting in on these deals/scams, so it’s pretty hard for me to feel much anger at Zynga when a third party screws up.
        That said, in the context of this site, stealing from other developers deserves a whole ‘nother level of scorn than just ripping off the typical customer (see today’s $20 article).

        (And to be clear, it’s not like I’m going to boycott the site or anything. It just seemed important to mention before you committed your eyeball ad viewing dollars to a particular developer.)

        • HobbesMkii says:

          Arrington actually doesn’t describe Netflix’s offers as a scam (he says they got ripped off), because you actually do get a service. It was the mobile offers, where you signed up to get a “free” daily horoscope that charged you $20 a month through your phone bill in the fine, fine print on the third sign-up page under a mound of legalese.

          But even if it weren’t for Scamville, which is more or less over now, it’d still be their policy of blatantly copying games (FarmTown, for instance) and then going “well, everyone else is copying games, too.” See the chart made by the developers of BINGO Blitz in this article:

          And it wouldn’t matter a tinker’s cuss to me, if it weren’t for the fact that after making those statements, they go and sue the people who copy them.

        • Limeade Youth says:

          Actually, you have a point with the copying. However, by the time I started playing they had diverged to where they were distinguishable.

          Either way, I think we can agree that bad actions on one’s part does not allow for bad actions on the other party’s part.

        • John Teti says:

          I didn’t know about any of this, and I’m very interested in steering clear of shameless cloners. We do spike potential Sawbuck writeups if we find out that Game Y is a straight-up ripoff of Game X. So thank you for bringing this to our attention.

        • Girard says:

           “That said, in the context of this site, stealing from other developers
          deserves a whole ‘nother level of scorn than just ripping off the
          typical customer (see today’s $20 article).”

          Funny, because that’s pretty much been Zynga’s business plan from day one. I’ve never heard of Netflix and Mobile scams before, but Zynga’s wholesale stealing of other developers’ games is much more widely known, and is a practice synonymous with the company’s name.

        • Samantha Nelson says:

          I had no idea either. I’d done a bit of research on the game and company but didn’t come across this controversy. I haven’t played Casteville so I didn’t notice the similarities.

  2. memaxar says:

    This sounded interesting until I got to the part about the energy based system. I can’t stand that anymore.

    As for Vostu, the part where the copy even the bugs is pretty damning. Not that zynga is any better themselves really:

    If these companies both dropped of the face of the earth I wouldn’t mind.