Cloud Raiders Survival Arena preview screen

Cloud Raiders is a successful cross-platform multiplayer raiding game that allows Android, Windows Phone, Windows 10, iOS, and Facebook players to form clans and engage in strategic battles with each other. That tight cross-platform integration has made Cloud Raiders one of the most successful challengers to Clash of Clans.

We recently visited Game insight's Innowate studio in Riga, Latvia to check out an upcoming spin-off called Cloud Raiders: Survival Arena. The new game brings competitive tower defense to the Cloud Raiders universe, and it will do so both as a game-within-a-game in the original Cloud Raiders and as a standalone game. Read on for our exclusive hands-on footage and impressions of Cloud Raiders: Survival Arena!

From real-time strategy to tower defense

The original Cloud Raiders is a Clash of Clans-style strategy game in which players attack other players' bases, deploying troops and watching as they battle AI defenders. Those sorts of battles can be fun, but they differ greatly from tower defense. In tower defense games, players simply build turrets that will fire away at AI invaders.

Cloud Raiders Survival Arena (which we'll shorten to Survival Arena) cleverly transplants the characters and setting from Cloud Raiders into a true tower defense framework. Players start out with a large empty field in which to build. At one end lies the Skyshard Generator, the heart of your base. At the other end, one or more entrances from which AI invaders will attack.

Because the field always starts out completely empty, players will have to construct their own paths using the available turrets.

Cloud Raiders Survival Arena preview screen

In the build I played, you have four turrets to choose from. Each has a specific strength, such as the all-around Cannon, the slow and powerful Big Bertha, and Sky Harpoon that zeroes in on aerial enemies. Different towers cost different quantities of gears, the building resource. Once you've spent all your gears, you'll have to earn more from fending off attacks before you can build additional turrets.

Before the wave begins, you'll quickly deploy all the towers you can afford. Placing them strategically will force the bad guys to follow a path when they enter, with the base's guns hopefully taking them down before they reach the Generator. Gamers can also fire a variety of spells directly at enemies, but each spell takes a while to recharge after use.

Cloud Raiders integration

Much as popular MOBA Defense of the Ancients (DotA) started its life as a game within Warcraft III, so will Survival Arena be playable directly within the main Cloud Raiders. Survival Arena players will earn Skyshards which can be spent at the Skyforge building in their Cloud Raiders bases. The Skyforge offers unique upgrades that you can't get anywhere else, so Cloud Raiders players will definitely want to give Survival Arena a try.

Survival Arena also directly integrates with Cloud Raiders clans, allowing clans to work together to compete on leaderboards and earn more prizes. And while you play, a real-time meter on the left will show your current position on the leaderboard as compared to your friends – a cool incentive to do your best and try new strategies. Limited-time and long-term tournaments will further encourage cooperative and competitive play.

Cloud Raiders Survival Arena preview screen

Cloud Raiders: Survival Arena will launch within Cloud Raiders in the near future. Shortly thereafter, it will also become available as a standalone game. The standalone version will play vertically instead of horizontally, allowing for one-handed play. It will still integrate with Cloud Raiders, and will be completely free to boot.

We look forward to Cloud Raiders: Survival Area arriving on Android, Windows Phone, Windows 10, iOS, and Facebook in the weeks to come. Not only is this a clever and unprecedented direction to take a raiding game, it's also fast and genuinely fun to play.