Clash Royale FAQ - Clash of Clans Meets CCG Meets MOBA

What is the game, when will it hit Android, is it any good?

Supercell surprised everyone on the first Monday of 2016 by announcing their new game Clash Royale, a new game in the Clash of Clans universe that soft launched in certain countries. It's a game that makes a lot of sense if you play it, but only certain people can do just that. They released a video that shows off direct footage of how the game works, revealing it to be a curious hybrid of genres including collectable card games and MOBAs. A developer interview also surfaced that discussed the game further. I've gotten to play the game in its soft launch form, and here's all the relevant information you need to know about what could be one of the biggest games of 2016.

What does Clash Royale play like?

Clash Royale Watch Game

Well, it's kind of an interesting hybrid. Imagine the unit-summoning and battling of Clash of Clans, mixed with the cards of Hearthstone, and the tower attack system of a MOBA. You engage in battles in real time with another player, fighting to destroy each other's crown towers. You summon units from your deck, with 4 cards drawn at a time. Each card has a mana cost, and you must have that much mana to use the card, placing it down in battle where you want to summon the unit or ability. When you destroy a crown tower on one side, your units will then go toward the king's tower, and if that's destroyed, you win. Otherwise, the person who destroys more towers within 3 minutes. is the winner.

Does it feel like a card game at all?

Yes and no. You do summon cards with recharging mana, a la Hearthstone in particular, but the real-time aspect throws a lot of things into flux by making you deal with time as well as your mana. You have to think quickly. But, you do build out a deck of 8 cards, with the ability to upgrade your cards as you collect more of them. If you're looking for a Clash of Clans CCG, this is not what you're looking for, it just uses CCG elements.

If I like MOBAs, will I like this?

Clash Royale Gameplay

 It's closer to a MOBA than a card game. With the two towers and one central base, there's the familiar aspect of where you have to make a decision of which tower to attack; if you destroy one tower, you can summon units on that side of the map to go after your opponent's base, but the other crown tower will be able to attack your units going after the main base if they're in melee range. And the mana system, while something more familiar to CCG players, has a lot in common with the cooldown timers that you see with MOBA abilities. You just throw in the randomness with the cards in play, and you get something quite different from the average MOBA. In fact, with the cards and units summoning, this is something far closer to the roots of the MOBA genre in real-time strategy games. But if you've needed something new in the MOBA genre, you couldn't go wrong with this.

How does this relate to Clash of Clans?

The Clash license is the backbone of the game, and summoning units into battle feels familiar to the game, but this is a dramatically different game where you don't need to have any experience with that series to enjoy this, beyond having an idea of what certain units will do. It'll help you understand the language of the game to a better degree, but otherwise, you can jump into this fresh. But if you're looking for a Clash of Clans sequel, this isn't it.

Should I care about Clash Royale?

Yes, you absolutely should. The combination of genres is absolutely fascinating to play with. The mana system means that you have instant risk/reward decisions to make, particularly as if you make a move first, your opponent might make a countermove that leaves them set up well once your attack is snuffed out. You get cards with certain abilities, and while they can be effective, will they be better than using a unit? Because your mana in any one battle is limited, you need to be very careful but quick-thinking in how you use your cards. 

And the game is amazing for pick-up-and-play. I thought that Call of Champions did a great job at being a speedy game. It turns out that was wrong, somehow Clash Royale manages to go quicker, and gets to a really intense point, because any one failure with your towers sets you up for an instant defeat. And with the sudden death if there's a tie, mixed with the last minute's 2X mana, the game gets really chaotic. It's a really exhilirating combination. 

How does being free-to-play affect the game?

Clash Royale Store

Well, the game's progression system comes through chests that you earn through victories, but take hours to unlock. If you're waiting on chests, then you are not earning the extra cards to power up your units, and the extra gold that you could be using to fight more battles and buy new cards from the shop. You can spend gems, the game's hard currency, to skip the wait timers, so it's easy to see where that could play a huge role in the game. You do get free chests and chests for destroying crown towers, but only so many per day. 

Also, because of this system, this means that the focus on balance that exists with many MOBAs does not exist here. Your units can become more powerful if you pay to unlock more chests and get them faster. So, it's possible to fall behind players as you advance up the ranks if you don't pay to get more. You can still enjoy and play the game without paying, but you will hit walls.

When will Clash Royale release worldwide on Android?

So, the game is currently in soft launch on iOS in several countries. Supercell hasn't quite said that this will be on Android, but considering that Clash of Clans is the number one grossing game on Android despite releasing way after the iOS version, Boom Beach is number 8, and Hay Day is at a respectable number 19 on the grossing chart in the US, it would be unfathomable to say that this wouldn't release on Android at some point. It's even possible that an Android soft launch would be possible, too. Supercell made a big PR push about the game, sharing trailers and interviews, and making a point about the countries that the game is available in. It's not hard to think that this will expand to Android before too long, but no one knows when.

The game is already in really good shape, but there's undoubtedly balancing that needs to be done with the game's units, multiplayer battles, and the monetization. Supercell has canceled games they soft launched before, but given the publicity they have brought on the game versus their other soft-launched games that never went global, it'd be a shock if this never released worldwide on Android. And I don't know if you'll have to wait long to play this for yourself.

This just suddenly became one of 2016's most interesting games.

Supercell hasn't strayed far from their formulas yet, at least in a public, worldwide fashion. And with their expertise in making successful mobile games, along with the promise this game shows, this suddenly becomes one of the more fascinating mobile games to keep an eye on in the coming months, as it could become the next big sensation.