Developer:Supercell (not as cool as perfect cell imo)
Clash Royale is a spin-off of the largely popular Clash of Clans. Clash Royale is a blending of Tower Defense, RTS, and card game elements
for a rather unique game. The question is is it a delicious blend of flavours or is it bland?
Gif of Gordon Ramsey*
Graphically, Clash Royale is one of the best looking games I've seen on mobile.It's simple and cartoonish style really lend a lot of charm to the characters. The animation also helps as it, as it is very well done. My only complaint is if you really watch the character's move they look a a bit on the low side of frame rate. It appears choppy. As far as the sound, well... it's bad. The music is bland and uninspired and the sound effects are annoying. It gets worse the further in the game you are because every troop makes noise all the time, culminating in a cacophony of annoyance. However putting your phone on silence quickly remedies this fault.
The mechanics of this game are both simple and complex. Each player builds a deck of 8 cards. Unlike most card games, you only have one of each card you own. You cannot, for example, have two giants at all. Not just in your deck, it is impossible to possess more than one copy of any card. What happens is in game each player has 4 cards in their hand. You can only have one of the same card in your hand at a time, but once you use that card it is possible to redraw it. So while you can only have one of a certain card, you may use it multiple times during a match. So then, why not stack your deck full of beastly monstrosities of devastation? Well, each card has an associated cost to it. You see, the player has a bar called Elixir. (Why they're too good to call it mana I'll never know.) Some cards cost 5 elixir some only cost one. At any given time the maximum amount of elixir you can store is 10, but Elixir regenerates over time. Playing a card will summon that troop, building, etc on the field of play. Most cards will then attack anything in it's path to get to the nearest tower/castle. However there are cards like the Giant which will just walk right by enemy troops and b-line for the nearest tower castle. There are also building cards which will summon troops intermittently over time. So there's a bit of resource management, like you'd see in any RTS.
Each player has two towers and a castle. Your objective is to destroy your opponents Castle. There are two paths to the opponent's castle. Each one with a tower blocking it. The towers as well as the castle will actually fight your troops once attacked. So, while leaving a tower without defense is unwise, they aren't completely helpless. While you think this would lead to an interesting amount of switching attack points back and fourth, with a lot of misdirection and trickery... it doesn't. There is usually one way to win. Throw everything you have at one path and brute force your way through. This is due to the fact that there isn't enough time to play both lanes. Yes you can run out of time, despite there being a sudden death. Sudden death makes it so the next tower that goes down wins, but even sudden death runs out of time. Even if both of your opponent's towers have 1HP left, and your towers have full health it's still a tie. It's infuriating to outsmart your opponent only to run out of time. There's two ways to remedy this situation. One get rid of the timer in sudden death... or two count tower damage. Either one would solve that issue, however until then really the best solution is just to brute force your way through one path and then go for the enemy castle.
Remember when I said you can only have one of each card? That's true but it's not as though you won't receive a card you already have in a pack(they're called chests). So what happens then? Well young padawan that card is then transferred into exp for that card. Yes, each card has a level. So say you already have a giant card and you get a giant card in a chest. That giant card becomes exp for the one you already have. Once that giant card has enough exp it will be eligible to be leveled up.I say eligible because it will cost you gold. Which you can only get through chests. The game tries to match you based on your king level, which is determined by your card's levels. This I feel can cause a major balancing issue, especially later on. For starters, your king level has nothing to do with your deck's level but all of the cards you own's cumulative level. So if one person only upgraded their 8 card deck and you upgraded all your cards, you'd have a higher king rank despite your opponent having a better deck. Next you could find yourself in a situation where your on the lower end of king level and facing opponents closer to the next king level up and they have much better cards. It's messy to say the least and despite the devs trying to balance it, it's obviously created to suck money out of you. Chests contain gold, sometimes gems (premium currency), and of coarse cards. Now after winning a bout you receive a random chest. However you cannot open it right away. Each chest has a timer that is relative to its rarity. The rarer the chest the longer you must wait till it opens. A silver chest which is the most common drop will take 3 hours. That's not bad you say. Well, you can only store four chests at a time and you can only open one at a time. Chests are the only thing you receive as a reward for winning, so you won't even receive any gold or anything for winning. In fact the game itself says, There's no point in battling because you will not get anything. I dunno maybe I just wanted to play your game because its fun? It's so interesting game design today mandates that a player is rewarded for efforts. Back in my day you played a game because it was actually fun, not because you get some in-game hat! That tangent aside, you can of coarse pay gems to instantly unlock your chest. This seems like an okay business model to me. You'll just progress faster. However consider the point I made above about how you can be at the lower end of the king level facing someone at the higher end. Those chests don't hand out a lot of gold, In fact most of the time I'm waiting for a chest to get gold to upgrade a card, only to get more cards to upgrade and not have enough gold. Never fear though! You can buy gold with gems! Yay... (Admittedly the prices for gold aren't too bad a value proposition but maybe that's part of their evil plan. I
don't know. )
Overall, Clash Royale is a confusing mess in which I'm not sure if I win because strategy or because I have better cards or if I'm actually having fun or not(though that may be because I am a robot and not programmed for 'fun'). Its business model isn't the worst I've seen, but it isn't exactly the best either. I really feel the random aspects of this game are going to cause polarizingly different experiences of this game.However, It's still actually a fun game... I think... -beep-boop- it's not as great as some people(like Totalbiscuit) have made it out to be. However if your a patient person and not one to be suckered into microtransactions easily, it's certainly worth a shot. I don't really think it's personal worth my money... but maybe for you it is. I'm really confused about this game, and the more I play the more confused I am.
Score: A free ride/ You already paid