The makers of Clash of Clans have an all new way for us to battle one another. Clash Royale delivers a real time strategy game that is made accessible for quick online multiplayer challenges. In addition to the strategy gameplay, there’s also a card collecting component with upgradeable and unlockable cards of the well-known characters from Clash of Clans. There are dozens of cards included, and you can join a clan of friendly players just like in Clash of Clans.
Clash Royale is essentially the battle portion of Clash of Clans in a streamlined fashion. You don’t have to worry about building up and protecting your base, and instead can just participate in a head to head duel against an online player. Each match lasts up to just three minutes to make for well thought out on the go gaming. That includes the ability to play the game in portrait orientation with one touch to command your forces. The core game revolves around letting your elixir stock up to put your cards into play to destroy your enemy’s main base. Each card has different pros, cons, and elixir cost to consider as you put them into play.
Clash Royale is easy to pick up and play as all you have to do is drag the different cards into battle, and watch them go. There’s still nice strategic depth in using the proper timing for an offensive with multiple units, while still counteracting the cards that an enemy plays. The game features varying unit types with knights, giants, troops, and special abilities with new stronger card types falling into those categories. Clash Royale features a finely tuned matching system, so that each random online match is against a player with a similar card deck, so that both players have similar tools to work with. The game does a good job of giving you a quick burst in which each decision matters, as you only have so many moves before either your castle is destroyed, or the three minute timer runs out.
Clash Royale is made to be as inviting as possible, and some of the positive quick pick up and play features have some detriments. The main drawback is that the strategy gameplay is a bit on the simple side to be easy to understand, but that creates a lack of strategic depth. After a few matches the game becomes a bit bland and repetitive with the limited maneuvers you can actually pull off. There are clear strategic benefits to enact, and it’s tough to keep coming back with so many matches playing out relatively the same. You do have to grind to get better cards, but those cards still play in a similar manner, just with more power. The arenas change design as you go, but never add new environmental elements to contend with.
Clash Royale is free to play with in-app purchases tied to speeding up the timers on unlocking your earned chests to get new cards. The game can be a bit of a grind to play for free, as you can’t earn anything from won matches when all of your chest spots are filled, and waiting to be opened. You need the chests to upgrade and unlock cards, and with the upgrades drawn out when playing for free, the matches in the interim play out very similarly, as mentioned above.
Clash Royale (Free, Universal) is an accessible strategy game with quick online duels that is worth picking up, but is a bit simple with a grinding free to play system over the long term.