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Clash Royale Launch Impressions: The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

by Daniel Tack on Mar 07, 2016 at 03:21 AM

Supercell (Clash of Clans) has launched its new strategy title globally as of last week, and it’s quite fun – a bite-sized strategy game that you can punch a few games out in mere minutes. That’s sort of the double-edged sword as well, because unless you’re simply grinding out rank or willing to shell out for pay-to-play options, those mere minutes are all you’re really encouraged to play each day.

This makes it a compelling choice if you want to check in on a game every 4-8 hours with an age old-free-to-play model, collecting the big returns when you wake up in the morning or when you punch out, but most of the time you’re really only incentivized to hang out with your clanmates and watch timers tick down. That’s not the best system (for me, anyway) and it’s fairly frustrating in that regard, but the core game is a lot of fun, so I’ve trained myself to experience the game in micro sessions without microtransactions.

The game itself is like a trading card game combined with a real-time strategy game, with constantly trickling resources, buildings going up and down, and all kinds of various critters to summon to the battlefield, from skeletons to giants. Many of these characters and cards will be familiar to Clash of Clans players, but it’s quite a different game from the asynchronous base assault title. Clash Royale games take place in real time between two opponents, and while there is definitely a pay for power aspect, it’s also completely possible to excel against your peers with well thought out strategy and reflexes. You’ll want to start or join a clan as soon as you can, as much of the experience and gold available to you comes from donating cards to clanmates.

There are a variety of strategy styles to pick from, including setting up defensive buildings and biding your time, creating spawn buildings to gain an edge in the war of attrition, building around flying units to control lanes, or even just building blitz-oriented decks that are focused on dumping difficult to deal with, high-damage units designed to take out towers to win. After 20 games or so you should be getting the hang of it – it’s easy to learn, but it will take you many more games to learn the exact timing on dropping a fistful of goblins in order to counter a charging prince perfectly. As you progress through arenas, your chests start giving more gold and more cards become available, providing a sense of progression. It works. The gameplay, whether you’re being countered by a skeleton army or a baby dragon, is solid, fast, and fun.

After your locker is filled with chests and cooldowns to wait around for, you can keep playing – there’s no stamina gating or anything like that. But you really don’t have any “reason” to do so, outside of having fun, trying out new strategies, or trying to rank up to the next tier of arena for better rewards. It would be nice if there was even just a smidgen of gold or something to work to when you’re capped on chests, but as it is, Clash Royale is a lot of fun – for a few minutes each day.

Want to play Clash Royale with us? We might run out of space fast, but search for clan Overblood - you never know who on the Game Informer staff will be around playing!