Dark Cloud (2000)

by Christopher
5 minutes read


Dark Cloud combines strategy, combat, and creative building elements in an epic tale of rebirth and hope, making it a classic in the RPG genre.


An introduction to Dark Cloud, a groundbreaking RPG that combines traditional role-playing elements with innovative town-building mechanics.


The game uniquely combines the mechanisms of action role-playing games with elements of city-building games. The story revolves around a group of adventurers who band together to fight against the Dark Genie, who has attacked and destroyed many villages. The main protagonist and player character is Toan, a boy who is given a magical stone called the Atlamillia by Simba, the Fairy King, granting him the power to rebuild the destroyed lands.

The player’s role involves sandbox micromanagement themes, where they are tasked with building facilities, connecting utilities, and managing staff. The player is responsible for the finances of their prison, and for meeting the needs of their prisoners, such as sanitation. The player is able to implement various reform and labour programmes that reduce the specific prisoner’s recidivism rate.

The game takes inspiration from Theme Hospital, Dungeon Keeper, and Dwarf Fortress. The player can allow additional conditions to be applied to their game, such as simulated temperature, gang activities and more extreme weather conditions, to increase the difficulty of the game and to simulate a prison in conditions nearer to reality.

A major component of Dark Cloud’s gameplay involves special items called “Atla” which are used to rebuild the world outside the dungeons. Atla, which are present in most dungeon levels, are large spherical objects which can be retrieved by Toan only.


Detailed descriptions of key characters in Dark Cloud, including Toran, the evil demon spirit, and other allies and adversaries encountered throughout the game.


An analysis of Dark Cloud’s gameplay mechanics, including combat, puzzle-solving, and the Georama system for building towns and landscapes.


A concluding assessment of Dark Cloud’s legacy as one of the PS2’s first RPGs and its lasting impact on the genre.

Review Score



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