With “Clash of Clans“, the mobile games maker Supercell has delivered one of the most successful smartphone games to date. According to Google’s Play Store, the title was installed between 100 and 500 million times on Android alone. At the beginning of 2016, the developers expanded their activities beyond the build-up strategy and based on the optics of their blockbuster game “Clash Royale” published. The game was released for iOS in January and the Android version followed in March. The game standard has ventured into the Free2Play universe and looked at the mix of the trading card game and real-time strategy.
First of all, the Free2Play concept, with which both “Clash of Clans” and “Clash Royale” work, is controversial among players. Among other things, because some titles artificially slow down the player’s progress very quickly in order to get him or her to spend real money on shortened waiting times or in-game items.
With “Clash Royale” all-clear is advisable. Of course, you’re agiler when you buy gold and gems by micro-transactions, which can be invested in various things. But even if the title is abandoned, it will continue to be well maintained for a long time. The game principle is kept simple. By opening treasure chests you collect gems, gold, and cards. The latter unlock new units, attacks, and buildings and also serve to upgrade them. The higher the level of the unit, the more cards of the same type are needed to unlock the next level.
From your own pile, you put together sets of eight cards that you can put to use. After a tutorial, you play 1-on-1 games against human opponents over the internet. There is no single player mode. The battlefield is made up of several equally constructed, but graphically differently designed arenas. The two halves of the playing fields are connected by two bridges, each player has two side towers and a king’s tower.
The goal is to destroy more enemy towers than the opponent within the regular play time of three minutes. If there is a tie after three minutes, the duel goes into an extra time in which the player who first eliminates a tower is the winner (Sudden Death Principle). If there is no winner after the extra time, the game will be considered a draw. The King’s Tower is an exception to the regulations. If the player falls, the game ends with a win for the successful attacker.
Draught You always have access to four of the eight cards from the selected set. These have different costs, which are fed from a constantly refilling pool of elixir. A card is used by selecting and placing it on the field. The rest runs automatically. A used card is replaced by another one from the set, with the game giving a preview of the next card to come. However, duplication between the four action cards is excluded.
The game offers some variety. Between simple bull units such as skeletons or barbarians, there are also ranged fighters, specialists for building destruction or flying units. Buildings and machines can be built for this purpose, taking enemy fighters under fire. And long-range attacks – such as lightning strikes or a horde of goblins in a barrel – are also part of the repertoire. Over time, this reveals a remarkable strategic depth despite the simple gameplay principle, which motivates you to continue working on your own deck and develop new strategies.
If you win a fight, you get trophies. The more you own, the more arenas you can participate in, and the more different cards you can unlock for the treasure chest pool. However, in the event of a defeat, cups will also be deducted. For each destroyed tower there is a “crown” at the end of the game, with which regularly available crown chests can be activated.
Every few hours you also get new cards from free treasure chests. For the victory in a game, there is also a chest, of which up to four can be collected at the same time. The fact that it is necessary to collect is explained by the fact that it takes time to open a chest, which can be shortened by the use of gems (not surprisingly).
As a social component, “Clash Royale” has an integrated clan system. Like-minded people can gather in groups of up to 50 players, who are listed in their own rankings. While a matchmaking mechanism chooses opponents at a similar level for normal games, you can engage in friendly duels within a clan, but there is nothing to win or lose except experience.
Other members may also ask for donations of cards. Practical: Both serious and internal games can be viewed in a replay. The menu item “Royal TV” also contains repetitions of disputes from the world’s current top echelons.
Late dry spells
For a long time, the mobile game allows continuous progress as mentioned above. The first dry spells can be found when you scratch the four-digit trophy scale. Here you will then sometimes come across opponents who have extremely well-matched card decks and probably also players who have already invested one or two euros in additional chests and cards.
The title remains entertaining, but the next arena ascent and the leveling up of your own units are getting more and more tedious. If you have had a good time until then, however, you should not be put off by it for the time being.
All in all, “Clash Royale” is a successful title with an easy introduction. The concept of a simple real-time strategy and collecting cards can be captivating and sometimes leads to highly exciting duels, which are decided in the last second.
Developer Supercell doesn’t have anything to give away, of course, but until the first lengths have come to an end, one has already talked with the game for a good four to six hours without having been slowed down excessively by the game. Accordingly, Supercell shows that it is quite possible to design a Free2Play game in such a way that it does not force the player to make micro-transactions from the beginning.
Because you don’t advertise, buying a few gems for a few euros seems to be a fair deal. Strict opponents of the Free2Play concept will not be able to make friends with “Clash Royale” due to its design. Whoever finds the game idea interesting and doesn’t devil free games with micro-transactions per se, can give Supercell’s game a chance. At least in its current state, because of course, it is not impossible that the manufacturer will in future tighten the thumbscrews for free gamers.