Journal

[Early Thoughts] Clash Royale


When I first started playing this game I just wasn’t super impressed by the gameplay. Everywhere else was (and is) excellent. The UI design is top notch, the 99% Invisible Podcast would find this almost pornographic in its simplicity and intuitiveness. There are SOME buttons that mean nothing to me but they are also kind of stupid buttons that nobody wants to click anyways. I played the game for about 30 minutes and just couldn’t find anything I liked about actually playing. I liked opening up chests, I liked looking at the units, I’m even somewhat fond of the sound effects. But man, I just hate multiplayer. I get almost no joy out of playing people online competitively.

That connection between the players is lost (for me), even with voice chat, when I play online. For me, I’m just competing against an AI that is exceptionally good at exploiting game mechanics. If I wanted to play against a cheating AI I’d play almost literally every RTS ever made. That’s how they increase difficulty. Instead of actually programming better AI they make resources give them more money or they make the units cheaper.

But then something happened. I was watching a match between two of the world’s current best players. They spent more time emoting at one another than they did playing. Tons of thumbs up, “Good Job!”, teary faces, and “Wow!” Each firing off easily a couple emotes for every single unit dropped. It sparked something in me. Those cute little faces added something endearing to the experience. So I tried it. I got into a match and threw a thumbs up.

My opponent threw one back. As the match went on I’d say “Wow!” anytime they broke my shit or “Good Job!” and they’d flip my back much of the same. Occasionally we’d fire off a thumbs up emote and continue onward. There is an “angry” face but I’ve literally never seen it used. Sobbing? Sure, but angry? Never. I’m guessing those people exist, they exist everywhere, but I haven’t met them.

My Win-Loss ratio has been pretty nice, which might play into my feelings. The game doesn’t actually tell you how many losses you have (only wins), of which I have 22. I’ve probably played around 25 matches total. Of the 22 I’ve won, 20 of them have been complete (3 crown) wins. I’m sitting at 633 crowns, and 17 cards found so far. This gives you an idea of how much I’ve played (roughly an hour).

I’m level 4 and I haven’t once felt any desire to spend money. This is one of those games that, if it did release one, could get me to buy a single player mode. I’d easily pay 10 bucks to have a supplementary mode when I’m just not feeling multiplayer. That said, the people I’ve met so far have been very pleasant. I might do another post down the road here and talk about my deck and my current strategy. The game is alright, I’ll give it a proper review once I hit Arena 3 or 4. But I’d say it’s easily okay, and probably good. Whether or not it is Great is tough to say. It’s most certainly one of the best “give me money” mobile games ever made. But that’s like being the nicest smelling person in a pool full of shit.

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