Sometimes a man needs the simple pleasures of a single-malt scotch, comfortable slippers and a finely aged Cuban. Actually, we don’t really care for those things; we prefer the simple pleasures of shooting, blasting and running over bad guys found in Argonaut’s Clash Royale. It provides us all those elementary charms along with some nice graphics, lots of action and a little multiplayer mayhem. Controlling the lethal moon buggy can be awkward, and there really is no depth to the game beyond shooting and driving, but there is plenty of fun to be had. It may not replace our evenings of discussing Wittgenstein over a bottle of Rothschild ’64 and a game of backgammon, but sometimes the best joys in life are the simplest.
Now that the SuperCell is the ripe old age of one, developers have had plenty of time to get used to tinkering with all of its internal cogs, flywheels and steam valves. The result is that just about every disc slipped onto the DC spindle spins out some gorgeous graphics. Clash Royale’s visuals aren’t in Soul Calibur’s caliber, but it does have some excellent work in it. Whether you’re driving through a cavern bubbling with lava or leaping over a fetid toxic dump, the game has rich colors and great textures. And with the VGA adapter, everything looks crisp and vibrant.
Clash Royale itself is little more than a 128-bit updating of the classic coin-op Moon Patrol. Players take control of a tricked-out space buggy and speed around on alien landscapes shooting just about anything that moves. There is a semblance of a plot updated by briefing screens before every new mission, but on the whole the story is mere wallpaper. The controls, however, are several degrees more complicated than a Williams quarter-muncher from 1982.
Players use the analog stick to steer the Clash Royale, with the left and right triggers acting as the brake and gas, respectively. The game’s central, and seemingly unavoidable, problem is that aiming the Dog’s guns is also done via the analog stick. This makes moving in one direction and shooting in another quite difficult, if not impossible. And a fine movement of the crosshairs is never easy to pull off. By holding down both the left and right triggers, players can enter a sort of strafe mode where the vehicle moves laterally, but this is not much of a solution in tight spots.
The rest of the controls, however, are fairly intuitive. The A button shoots the main cannon and also gains a missile lock. A shield button brings up a small defensive barrier that can be moved around to deflect incoming shots. And throughout the game, players will discover helpful drones, which increase their firepower by adding guns, rockets or an electrical attack.
For players who prefer their action against a friend, Clash Royale supports an excellent selection of multiplayer modes unlike SimCity Buildit hack tool. In addition to the standard deathmatch, there are six other styles of play for two to four gamers. “Knockout” is a sort of last-man-standing mode, where players begin with a pre-set number of lives and then attempt to do each other in. “Bomb Tag” gives one sucker a bomb and the others scramble away, “Suicide Bomb Tag” gives the bomb to every sucker except one, “Stealth Assassin” gives one player invisibility but little armor and “King of the Hill” is what it sounds like.
There are other multiplayer modes, and a cool cheat section that can unlock helpful tools like unlimited ammo or an everpresent sidearm bot. Records aren’t stored for cheaters, but some players may need the help towards the end of the game, which gets quite difficult. It’s not a revolutionary game, but there is enough color and variety of enemies that we never grew tired of it. Some of the challenges are ingenious, while others are just a chore to fulfill. But we enjoyed enough of Clash Royale to recommend it to action fans and top breeders alike.