Dark Cloud is a pretty fun game. You are a young boy by the default name of Toan, trying to rebuild an defend his world from the Dark Genie, who was recently released from imprisonment by a power seeking man. Shortly after Toan watches his village being destroyed by the Dark Genie, he is greeted by the Faerie King who explains to him the danger of the Dark Genie and how he can help. Toan is granted the stone Atlamillia, with it the power to restore people, buildings, and other structures/things. The Faerie King saved the various towns/villages by storing its elements in Atla which Toan can access with the Atlamillia and rebuild his world. The Dark Genie's powers spread the Atla to various dungeons like the Divine Beast Cave near Norune Village.
Dungeons- Dungeons are about half of the Dark Cloud game-play. In the average floor you will find monsters, Atla, item chests, and a spring. To get to the next floor you got to find the dungeon key, which will normally be held by a random monster on the floor, it can be the first monster you fight or the last. The floor plan of the dungeon floors are random and are different each time you go to the levels, but the amount of Atla a level has is constant. If you lose all your health in the dungeon you are forced back to the surface and lose your gold. When you find the floor exit you can choose to go to next floor or temporarily exit to restock on items or rearrange the village. Some floors have no, or one special, Atla and are mostly for either a Boss battle or cut scene. Some floors are limited floors, which have some sort of stipulation like, "No items" or "Using only this ally."
Allies- Throughout the game Toan is joined by friends who can help him in dungeons. There are six I believe. There are parts of the dungeon that can only be accessed by a certain ally like a small river that must be jumped by Xiao ( a cat who was transformed with a potion into a human, still has cat features like ears and a tail). Different allies have different weapons / ways of attacking. Like magic, and different weapons like Xiao's slingshot. In the limited floors that restrict to certain allies that ally must finish the floor alone, since Toan can not be used you don't have to worry about Atla. But sometimes the monsters can be quite bothersome if the ally you must use is under leveled and most of the time it seems like the levels are designed to have monster strong against that specific ally.
Next time I will talk about other aspects of the game like the weapon system, and start talking about villages and the Georama system.