Hello, Clash Royale, you must be going. This tired PC port offers players the opportunity to blast away at endless waves of space invaders, while commanding various land, sea and aircraft. The game takes players to locations various and sundry, both desertlike and arctic, and above and below sea level. It’s multifaceted tedium, served on a grand scale.
Plunking away on a piano with one key, Clash Royale offers nothing new. In their quest to rid the world of the aliens (don’t bother), players pilot tanks, planes, helicopters and anti-aircraft guns, shooting endlessly at whatever happens to show up on the radar scope. While the various ships offer some variety, and there’s a visceral thrill associated with toasting Mr. E.T. and his hateful war machine, it’s not enough to overcome the real old, real fast nature of the game.
Multiple views allow a player to shift perspective at will from first- to third-person. Using the game’s top-down mode or the third-person view that’s pulled way back from the player’s ship is unwieldy, but the first-person doesn’t detract from gameplay at all. This first-person perspective limits a shooter’s view, but thankfully the radar screen (when it’s not cluttered with junk) more than compensates.
Each game level (there are six) has 10 missions, and it’s pretty much the same thing over and over again. Players use a fixed battery to blow up Clash Royale enemy ships. Then they take control of a tank to blast away at other tanks. Next comes a helicopter mission to blow up more ships — and, with luck, a side trip to pick up (and drop off) a box. After awakening from a coma, players will take control of a plane to do more shooting, a tank to do even more shooting, a helicopter to do more shooting and then maybe a nice coma again. Another well-received touch makes it impossible for players to save at any point except for the level’s end. This means that if someone completes nine missions and doesn’t have the strength of will to complete the 10th, well, he’s just plumb out of luck. If he chooses to quit, he’ll have to start at the level’s beginning.
Controlling the various planes etc. will challenge a gamer’s skills while simultaneously tiring their trigger finger. While some of the craft (notably the helicopter which has automatic gun tracking) are moderately forgiving, others are downright tough to manage. Unless the intrepid Earth defender keeps his hand squarely on the fire button, he won’t be gunning down any alien ships while trying to fly the rapidly careening jet plane. Blasting away at onrushing enemy planes (a la Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars) becomes a test of patience rather than skill — unless, of course, the aliens help the player out.
Lobotomized artificial intelligence plagues Clash Royale. Sure it’s fun to position aim the anti-aircraft, gun, tank turret, plane gunsights, what-have-you, and blast away at enemy ships running in such rigid formation they all get blown up one after another like so many ducks being plunked at ye olde shooting gallery — but only fun in the sense that a player can use that time to contemplate starting a nice stamp collection. Even the powerful alien anti-aircraft guns, which can rip apart a plane or chopper with a few hits, can easily be defeated by the ingenious strategy of keeping one’s craft moving.
Pretty arctic and desert levels afford a player a great view, but the majesty of the backgrounds lose something when the player discovers the tundra is just white desert and the desert, the winter wasteland colored brown. Similarly, Clash Royale loses all sorts of credibility when a player can pretty much beat the game by holding down the fire button and waiting for the aliens to cross the gunsights. Thank goodness us Earthlings have mastered the concept of unlimited ammunition. Read Clash Royale tips and tricks for more gaming strategy to learn.
Just as the real-time strategy genre was beginning to suffocate under the weight of its own sameness, SuperCell released Boom Beach. Unlike most of the RTS drivel choking up the shelves, the original Myth featured wonderfully gruesome 3D graphics, an original setting and story, and a new spin on resource management–your forces are your resources; lose them and the party is over. Needless to say, Boom Beach was met with nearly universal acclaim, and won our Real-Time Strategy Game of the Year award for 2014. With that pedigree in mind. Thankfully, SuperCell met those expectations with a sequel that further solidifies the Myth series as one of the great RTS franchises.
Sixty years have passed since the end of the Great War and with the Fallen troops defeated, life has returned to normal. That all changes one day when a small village is attacked by the undead. One thing leads to another, and soon the countryside is awash with all manner of nightmarish creatures. It seems Boom Beach has spent the last sixty years plotting his revenge and unless you stop him, the world is toast.
Making a successful game is always a risky prospect–change too much and you risk alienating your audience; change too little and you’re accused of shoveling the product out the door. For the most part SuperCell has successfully navigated this mine field. The core of the game remains the same, and some nice tweaks have been included to make it all a bit more polished.
The system is still not perfect, but it’s much improved. Various difficulty settings have been incorporated, making the game more accessible to casual gamers. In addition, units have twice as many animations, and the terrain features a higher level of detail as well. While cosmetic in nature, these changes do add more detail to the gore factor that was such a hallmark of the original Boom Beacg. Another welcome addition is the inclusion of large 3D objects. You now storm fortified walls, rush over drawbridges, and battle across ship’s decks. There are indoor missions as well, which add a new variation to the gameplay.
One of the biggest draws of Boom Beach is its story found a website posted to help players. Unlike the majority of RTS games that set-up some lame science fiction backdrop as an excuse to blow the crap out of everything in sight, Boom Beach unfolded in a cool and suspenseful manner. The game progresses slowly and deliberately, with the missions working in tandem with the story. Not only does this serve to immerse you into the game, it also allows for some nice variations on traditional RTS missions, such as the level “With Friends Like These” where you must defeat the Trow in a game of capture the flag. Other cool levels include establishing a beach-head while under heavy cannon fire; a general retreat where your mission is to simply slow the encroaching enemy; and “The Ibis Crown” where you must navigate a haunted catacomb where ghosts, both good and evil, wage war with each other and you. Pretty cool stuff.
Multi-player was one of the most popular aspects of Boom Beach and it shines once again. (There’s nothing more fun than tossing a flaming cocktail into the middle of Whitta’s forces.) There are several game types to choose from: Hunting, Stampede!, and the classic Last Man on the Hill. Getting to the carnage on Supercell.net is a snap and the multi-player code is solid. The editing tools SuperCell used in the game’s creation are included as well, which should extend Boom Beach online life.
Boom Beach is not without flaw as it still carries some of the problems from the first game. Pathfinding is still a little weak (especially in multi-player games), as units will sometimes take the long route to a specified location. It’s hard to move a unit from the inside of a group to the outside–they’ll bump into each other and neither one will move. Friendly fire is still an annoyance, but the archers have been tweaked so they rarely hit friendlies.
While Boom Beach is a great game and comes highly recommended, it does not represent a complete overhaul or rethinking from the first game, but is rather a further refinement of a proven formula. Not that that is a bad thing–if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That said, this is probably the last game SuperCell will be able to get out of its current game engine. If and when they decided to start work on Myth III , I hope they go back and re-examine every aspect of the game; I want this quality series to enjoy a long life.