Clash Royale mashes together elements of tower defense, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), and deck-building card games to create a new format that's both unique and familiar. And despite having all the trademarks of a soulless cash grab, the strength of the core gameplay here is too good to pass off as just another interchangeable mobile game. It's a premise that has legs and enough strategic depth to be esports-adjacent.
What's especially surprising about Clash Royale is how natural all those sub-genres are blended together. Despite packing in the complexity of multiple different genres, everything is neat and intuitively visible. Even better, you can navigate almost everything with just a single finger. Everything from firing an offensive in the heat of battle to customizing your deck between bouts can be mastered in a very short time.
If you've played a popular mobile game in the past few years, chances are that you've seen many of the mechanics at work in Clash Royale. The focus here is on multiplayer, and the options are pretty robust. Clans allow you and a committed group of teammates to work together towards common goals and rewards, while a rotating series of tournaments and special events force you to stay on your toes and mix up your strategy if you want to succeed. There's a surprising amount of variety at work here, and the huge collection of cards gives you a lot of options to build a killer deck.
That card collecting constitutes the one worrying issue with Clash Royale - its commitment to microtransactions. Requests to purchase special packs are persistent, and de facto energy timers ensure that you can never get too far without paying first. Fortunately, the core game here will be solid enough for many people regardless.
- Interesting blend of multiple strategy style
- Bright and colorful cast of characters
- Aggressive microtransaction strategy
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