Earlier in the year Supercell, the mobile game developer behind the widely respected Clash of Clans, brought a new game to the market in the form of Clash Royale, further increasing their share of the mobile gaming audience. Now normally that wouldn’t really attract our attention. But whilst eating breakfast this morning, I unlocked my phone, opened Clash of Clans and came to a shocking realization. Clash of Clans is officially my most played game ever!
And by a big margin, how is that possible? I’ve been a gamer for the best part of 20 years now and have never invested the same amount in a game as I have in Clash of Clans, a mobile game that has, until now, sat in the back of my mind baring very little significance over my prized collection of AAA console titles. The truth of the matter is however is that it’s not really all that surprising when you consider that the platform is literally with me wherever I go, Supercell designed Clash of Clans to be a long-term commitment and despite having played the game for so long, I’m still nowhere near what could be referred to as the game’s ‘endgame’.
So with that in mind it was only natural for me to get excited when Supercell announced the release of Clash Royale, a real-time, head to head battle game based on the Clash of Clans universe. Aside from the tutorial, Clash Royale is multiplayer experience where the objective is to destroy your opponents castle through strategically placing cards into the arena which then animate into the battlefield to do your bidding. It’s a simple concept and one that’s already attracted a large following in the world of mobile gaming. And there’s a very good reason for that, well two technically. Supercell already had a huge following of gamers thanks to the success of their previous titles which is always going to help when you release a new game, but the real reason Clash Royale has become so popular is because it’s so damned addictive.
So as previously mentioned Clash Royale is an online multiplayer game which pits two players head to head in the arena. Players are first tasked with creating their battle decks from a selection of 48 cards representing various minions, spells and defensive/offensive structures ripped straight from Clash of Clans. The idea behind the game is each player enters the arena with an 8 card deck of their choosing, each card has a cost which depletes a growing pool of elixir. The objective is to destroy your opponent’s tower using your deck before they destroy yours. Sounds simple enough, right? Well no. The beauty of Clash Royale is that while it’s simple it is also incredibly competitive. Minion cards each have their own unique mechanics which give them advantages and disadvantages over other minions, the Giant for example has a huge pool of health and will always head straight for your opponent’s structures, but has a high casting cost and will often be taken down quickly against larger hordes without support. It’s a pretty flawless system actually, balancing your deck with higher than lower cost cards holds the key to victory.
Progression through the game is also transferred straight from Clash of Clans, winning matches awards players with trophies which then decide your matchmaking bracket in the form of different arena levels. Additional cards are unlocked through chests awarded by progressing through the various arenas and duplicate cards are awarded to level up your favorite minions, making them a more formidable force in the battle arena. Clans have also made an appearance in the new game but they’re not really all that relevant.
Clash Royale also takes full advantage of any and all modern-day hardware boasting impressive visuals in the form of crisp cartoony style graphics, though I can’t help feeling that Supercell should move away from the annoying music and sound effects we’ve become used to. But that’s just a personal thing and the game is still fully playable when the sound is turned off. Frame rates are equally as impressive as the graphics and despite the youthful age of the game, I’m yet to uncover a single bug. Supercell have once again delivered an exceptional title to what is an otherwise very crowded, and typically repetitive market. And I really mean that, if there’s one game to download on your phone today, make sure it’s Clash Royale.
However, no game is ever perfect, and of course Clash Royale is not without its flaws. As with any mobile game, the dreaded micro-transaction is present and can be used to purchase gems, one of the two in-game currencies. Gems can then be used to purchase Gold (the in-game currency) or additional chests. As previously mentioned, chests can also be earned through winning but there’s a limit as to how many you can hold as each one then takes time to unlock. Silver chests are the most common and take three hours to open, so once you’ve won four 3 minute battles, you’ve got a long wait before it’s worth playing again. And that does somewhat take the fun out of the overall experience, especially when you’re addicted to playing.
Having read some online reviews it’s become relatively obvious that this feature has annoyed a lot of people who have tried the game but for me it’s not really a big issue. For me, gaming using a mobile device is something I only do for very short bursts at a time and more often than not I find myself forgetting about the games I do play, until a notification pops up.
Reading that last paragraph, you may get the impression that I’m trying to cast poor light on mobile games, but that’s not the case, Clash of Clans and Clash Royale among other games have given me hours of enjoyment when I have no other platforms at my disposal and for that reason alone, I urge anyone with a powerful enough smart phone to download and indulge.