My moment to moment interest in mobile gaming changes based on what type of projects I have going on at home. In short, if I'm not able to sit on the couch for long stretches of time, I'm not going to play mobile games. However, all it takes is 1 or 2 good sessions to get me hooked on a mobile game to where I start playing it away from the couch and I suddenly find myself carving out time to play it specifically. Currently, I have enough time to kill inbetween chest unlocks in Clash Royale to tell you about my new problem called Clash Royale.
Now, I cannot talk to you about your Clash of Clans as I have no interest in such grandiose designs. My focus is much smaller, and Clash Royale appreciated my attention span. All I care about is the fight I just finished and what I'm going to change to win my next fight. In and out, that's how I get hooked on a mobile game. If that's fun, I may stick around a bit longer to figure out if there's anything deeper going on.
Fortresses of Fast Cards
Clash Royale is fun. You have 3 fortresses to defend as does your opponent. 4 cards are drawn at random from your assembled deck of 8 cards. Each card represents a unit (or group of units) that can be used to attack the enemy or defend/buff your own units. Each card requires a set amount of elixir (energy) in order to play it. You can play as many cards as you want as long as you have enough elixir. Elixir recharges over time or through the use of units designed to give you more elixir. The winner is the player who destroys more of his/her opponents fortresses before time expires. A 1 minute sudden death period is added on to prevent help prevent draws. In the 50ish battles I have completed, I have yet to see a draw.
Clash Royale's tutorial is simple, quick, and easy-to-understand - so, mission accomplished there. The trick to whether I keep playing a multiplayer games, though, is that first impression I get from my first match against another stranger. I felt prepared and I knew for better or worse that it would be over quickly, as each battle in Clash Royale is action-packed and pretty short. At this point, I don't even remember if I won my first battle, but I did immediately play another, and another, and another...
My focus is much smaller, and Clash Royale appreciated my attention span.
I was surprised that I wanted to play so many rounds right out the gate. I hadn't had that welcomed push into a multiplayer game since Hearthstone. The cadence of playing multiplayer matches in Clash Royale may actually be even faster and more enjoyable than my initial experience with Hearthstone. It could get frustrating to play if you end up losing a bunch of battles in a row, but the matchmaking balance should drop you back down to play with other players around your level if you start getting in over your head.
The Fun Thickens
Clans are also a part of Clash Royale. The grind to get to level 3 to unlock them, though, was really the only chore that roughed up my introduction to the game. Once I was in a clan, communicating with friends and sharing cards to benefit the both of you has been really engaging.
Of course, being a relative of the addictive cash cow that is Clash of Clans, Clash Royale has its progression system figured out. After 23 victories into my career, I have plenty of carrots to chase without feeling the need to engage in any microtransactions. Progression is mainly associated with victories, but even in defeat you can make progress as long as you destroyed at least one of your opponent's structures. Victories also unlock chests that are full of currency and additional cards that add new units and upgrade existing units. These chests take time to open (3 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, etc) so once you have a full inventory of chests, the immediate need to start more battles starts to wane. For me, this is perfect, though, as it prevents me from burning out and playing a ton of matches in any one session. Instead, I find myself returning for a couple matches here and there throughout the day. Right now, it's the perfect filler for when I have a couple of minutes when I'm waiting on something else going on around me.
The cadence of playing multiplayer matches in Clash Royale may actually be even faster and more enjoyable than my initial experience with Hearthstone.
I tend to only play one competitive or addictive mobile game at a time and I've burnt myself out before, so I'm curious to see how long I stick with Clash Royale and if I end up spending any money in the game. The battles are short and sweet no matter if I win or lose, and there are so many addictive progress bars to keep track of that I should be set for quite a while especially if my clan sticks together. It's going to be a royale summer and I could be in trouble.