Clash Royale is a blend of MOBA, tower defense and the collectible card game genre to create a unique mobile game; players compete in quick PvP MOBA-style battles with the aim of destroying the enemy King's Tower to claim victory. Troops can only be summoned using cards which are drawn into the player's hand and are based on the valuable Elixir resource which regenerates over time.
Players can also play the game competitively as there is a strong eSports scene for the MOBA-style mobile game. There are in-game tournaments to join and also tournaments held through third parties such as ESL.
Clash Royale is the latest mobile game from mobile game developer Supercell who also created the incredibly popular Clash of Clans strategy game. The game stands out from all other mobile games due to the unique genre blend it's been formed from; Clash Royale is an MOBA crossed with both the tower defense and also the collectible card game genres.
It brings some of the best gameplay features seen in current PC-based MOBA's and adjusts them to suit mobile devices while also adding a tower defense twist to the game.
Clash Royale features solid graphics for a mobile game of this genre; it uses a more cartoon-style than some other games but it perfectly suits the Clash series as it matches Clash of Clans well. The in-game graphics are smooth and could almost be called 'blocky' which is usually seen in Minecraft-inspired games; the troops are well animated in battles and it's pretty clear which troops belong to each player.
There are currently ten arenas in the game for players to battle on; nine of these are exclusive to the multiplayer battles and each one has a different theme to make them stand out. While there is a nice arena variation, they each have two lanes and both players have three structures each.
The cards in the game are well-designed to be clear and the graphics on them work perfectly for the game; new players will find the card system easy to use as a result of this.
Mobile games can suffer from bad interfaces and menu's which can really bring them down but thankfully, Clash Royale has a smooth interface that makes gameplay simple and makes it easy to access the different points in the game.
The game features interesting gameplay while also keeping it simple enough for all players to understand; while the gameplay is interesting, there's only one game mode which can become repetitive and tiresome over time.
Matches are fought in 1v1 fights where players fight in small arena battles; each arena has two lanes where the players place their troops. There are three main structures on the arena for each player, the main King Tower and the two towers that guard it. Each structure has a set amount of health and deals damage to approaching enemy units that are within in their range.
The collectible card aspect is extremely important in the game as this is how the player summons troops which are sent down the lanes to attack the structures; summoning troops is based on Elixir which as the 'mana' in the game. Elixir is regenerated over time and is spent when summoning troops, it's a simple and clear system which is similar to systems seen in tower defense games.
More cards are collected from Treasure Chests which are rewarded to players at the end of the match; there are various types of Chests in the game and different cards can be gained from each arena. Chests use real-time to open and players need to wait a set time before it opens. However, only one can be opened at once which means the player needs to be strategic so they can maximize their daily rewards.
Opening more Chests at the same time requires that the player purchases and spends premium currency, it's also possible to instantly open a Chest and purchase higher quality Chests using the in-game premium currency.
At the start of the game, players are greeted with a tutorial arena which is the only single-player mode in the game; this also needs to be played with an internet connection. The player is slowly taught the basic mechanics of the game through this and is given various cards as they learn how to play the game.
The final 60 seconds of a match are slightly different; players are given cards at a completely different pace and the Elixir regenerates at a faster speed which allows for more frantic gameplay. It's possible for a game to completely change in the final minute as a result of this and makes for much more interesting matches.
Clash Royale features a basic control system that works perfectly for the game; players just need to drag the cards to where they want to spawn their troops. Everything in the game is done by tapping or dragging which makes the game easy to control.
There are no particularly difficult controls in the game and the tutorial explains the basic mechanics thoroughly; scrolling through the main menu is done with a simple swipe in the direction of the menu the player wants to access or just by tapping the main button at the bottom of the screen.
Controlling this game is simple and easy to learn for players of all ages which makes this a great multiplayer game for casual players.
Replay Value 6/10
While the gameplay can become repetitive when playing for long periods of time, every game is different which means the game is entertaining for long periods of time. The first tutorial arena can feel a little slow as the AI is not particularly difficult but playing against other players is entertaining despite the short match times.
There's a large number of cards to collect from Treasure Chests which adds a collectors value to the game and as cards can also be upgraded to be more powerful, there's a reason to replay early arenas later in the game.
The Bottom Line
While the overall game is great, there are a few issues with the game in terms of pay to win; the game can certainly feel balanced towards pay to win considering the Chests System and expensive store. This does mean that free-to-play game lovers will struggle at the higher levels of the game and when playing competitively. For casual gamers, this shouldn't be much of an issue, however.
Despite this, Clash Royale is perfect for casual players who are looking for a fast-paced game to play every so often; it uses simple controls with easy to understand game mechanics which makes it a solid multiplayer game for all skill levels. There is no need to play the game on any competitive level but there is a strong competitive scene available for the game which is rare for a mobile game.