Clash of Clans, it could reasonably be argued, is the biggest game on mobile. But repeating success can be hard.
Of the many schools of thought on how to follow-up a smash hit like Clash of Clans, there are two worth noting: you could try to interest your existing audience in a new IP with familiar gameplay, or try to engage them by bringing new gameplay to your existing IP. Supercell tried the former in 2014 with Boom Beach, a modern warfare take on the base-building genre that Clash of Clans continues to dominate. Beginning today, they’re also trying the latter.
Enter Clash Royale.
Taking elements of the MOBA and CCG genres, Clash Royale takes the Clash of Clans franchise into a wildly different gameplay direction while at the same time staying under the larger umbrella of “strategy” that should appeal to current players. Yet simply throwing around terms like “MOBA” and “CCG” undersells what Supercell are trying to accomplish here. They’ve created a new breed of game that’s simple, frantic, and unlike anything else we’ve ever played before.
Players square off against live competition on tiny maps dotted by six buildings; three for each player. The object of the game is to destroy the other player’s castle (middle building) while protecting your own. You’ll do this by deploying troops from a hand of cards (drawn from a deck that you’ve built) anywhere within an allowable area on the field. Each card required a certain amount of mana to cast, but your mana regenerates quickly, so you’re only ever moments away from deploying your next troop or spell. More cards are collected by unlocking chests between rounds (or buying them in the shop), which in turn will unlock new troops you can add to your deck and level up the troops you already have.
You’ll only be able to have so many cards in your deck at one time, so there’s a deck-building element at play here — but it’s a very light one.
With a tutorial that’s only seven battles deep, you can learn the basics of Clash Royale in just minutes. The multiplayer matches we’ve played since that time have been fast, frantic, and impossible to put down. It’s still too early to say if Clash Royale will hold our interest in the long run, but on Day One, it has its claws in deep.
Clash Royale has soft-launched on the App Store in select territories (including Canada and Australia). Let’s hope this one goes worldwide — and to Android — soon.