With familiar characters, short, tense battles and a simple premise, Clash Royale has moved the goal posts of free strategy games. Much like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale challenges players to use strategic hero deployment to defend against attacks and destroy the enemies’ towers. Clash Royale is a rather faster paced game than Clash of Clans, with all the focus on the battles and less of the distraction of having to develop your city. While completely engaging, Clash Royale is not over-complicated, unlike games like Hearthstone which you are still learning even after a thorough review of the tutorial. One of the appeals of Clash Royale is that you only need eight unique cards to begin. For the avid gamers out there, this might sound a little too basic but it works remarkably well and enables players to fully understand the mechanisms of the game without needing to know every minute detail.
Clash Royale uses elements of both real-time strategy and multiplayer online battle arena games, both of which place as much emphasis on speed as strategy. This game has simplified these elements and drawn them out a little to make it that bit more accessible. To move up the levels, you need to unlock new troops by collecting cards that are stored inside the chests that are awarded to the winner of each tournament. The battles are riveting and short enough that you can play at any time. Each tournament lasts just three minutes, unless there is a draw and extra time is allocated. Every unit operates slightly differently with some consuming much larger amounts of your precious Elixir than others. Interestingly, it’s not always the most expensive units that win – it’s more about playing the right cards at the right time in order to get the best effect. Although the card pool is much smaller than other similar games, it doesn’t undermine the depth of strategy in the slightest. Once onto the third level, you can scout around for a clan to join and can then really unleash the multiplayer capacity of this free game. At that stage, you can start to set your sights on the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy king. A fabulous free game that might irritate your nearest and dearest – unless you download it for them as well!