When it comes to the mobile phone craze, there are few games that are actually fun and addictive, just addictive. “Time-wasters” is the term people often use, whether it’s about actually achieving nothing by using popular iPhone apps or commenting on games others deem bad. Clash Royale is much different, taking the mobile phone genre into previously unsuccessful territories: competitive play.
Prior competitive games included Words with Friends, where each turn had no time limit and could be played in a way similar to sending text messages. Others heavily relied on leaderboards, just as classic arcade games did, but made it personal by concentrating mostly on your Facebook friends (its effectiveness depending on how close you actually are with your Facebook friends). Ones that utilized real time often failed, the only true competitors being mobile versions of actual games such as Street Fighter Volt and Injustice Mobile, yet even these suffered from lag and an obsession with pay-to-play.
Clash Royale is much different. Supercell’s smash hit after Clash of Clans, another FarmVille copy, takes all of their characters from that game and transfers them into a fun game. Clash Royale lets you make a deck of up to 8 cards, ranging from single units to troops, ground and aerial, spells and buildings. Every card has a level, and the goals are to take down the enemy’s royal towers during a 3-minute battle. You get Elixir every second or so until the 1-minute mark where you get Elixir twice as fast. The graphics aren’t bad for an iPhone game, but the fact that there are hundreds of strategies for this game is what proves how impressive it is.
It’s still a mobile phone game, so of course, there’s a catch. Each card, tower, spell, etc, has a level and therefore heavily relies on getting more of said card in order to level them or to simply progress through the arena to increase your player level. Every time you win you get a chest, which you can only hold four of at a time and takes hours to open. You can get a chest that opens upon taking ten towers, yet only one is generated every 24 hours. It’s a waiting game except it’s not very fun. You can, of course, pay to win, and in this case, that’s not even an exaggeration. Over leveled cards are monsters, even the low-cost cards can take you down in seconds. It doesn’t matter if you have multiple counters out for a single card; if it’s over-leveled, you can’t stop it. Lastly, the ability to shut off “king chat” is a godsend, as players can be infuriating mid-battle, laughing at every move you make, even when they’re the ones losing. You might be able to feel some camaraderie with the thumbs-up and “well played” reacts, but it’s mostly just a bunch of mouth-breathing nerds mocking you for using your own strategy in order to feel powerful.
Regardless of stupid crap, the game is a unique experience. Engaging at its core, the medieval, fun characters will provide the fluff as they welcome players into its violent atmosphere. The game will entertain most everyone who plays it, save for those who don’t like competitive games. Considering it’s a free game, Clash Royale‘s innovations make it the king of mobile games.