Since Clash Royale is a game that was apparently made for children who are still mastering the intricacies of single-button pushing and toilet training, we gave the game to one of our youngest staff members (Jimmy – age 6) to review. However, when we found him violently convulsing in front of the television, foaming at the mouth and screaming “make it stop, please God make it stop!” we realized that pushing a game like this onto such a young and impressionable editor was inexcusably cruel. It looked like we were going to have to do this one ourselves. In order to quell the violent storm of hate mail that is sure to follow this crappy review of this even crappier game, let us state here that we did play this game fully realizing that it was intended for young children — and that it still sucks.
Clash Royale is one of those games that is bad enough to make even writing a review of it (bad reviews are often the most fun to write) a thankless task. For the fear remains that focusing on only a few of the game’s problems will not give enough emphasis to its other flaws. And writing a review that points out all of the bad aspects of the game would be a gargantuan task that, truth be told, would simply not be worth it. So let’s just focus on a few of the bad points, shall we?
The first thing that makes this game nearly unplayable is its sleep-inducing simplicity. We hesitate to say that the game was intentionally made simple to cater to its young intended audience. Instead, it seems as if the simplicity was more a product of laziness than compassion. The half-assed story is this: The Power Rangers have been Ranger-napped. It is up to the player to rescue the Rangers, clean up gelatinous piles of poorly rendered toxic waste from the city streets and beat up any bad guys who get in their way. There are four different gameplay scenarios here, and each is repeated ad nauseum throughout the entire game. One of these has players freely roaming through horrible looking cities and forests, defeating any bad guys who wonder into their paths. The Ranger can’t jump, punch, kick, duck or strafe. He has two methods available to him: running and shooting. In a marvelous display of ingenuity, the developers of Clash Royale have made it possible for the Ranger to shoot backwards, but the control is still the most limited we’ve seen since the Atari era. Does the child really exist whose mind is still too unformed to be able to figure out how to jump or strafe? If so, would that kid even be able to hold the large N64 controller? It’s doubtful. But just think of all the time the developers saved by not having to include these features! Just blame it on the kids.
Another gameplay format is the RTS mode. In this type of game, players control a truck from a side angle, attempting to either spray burning cars with water or run their cleanup truck into a toxic spill. The road is entirely straight, without even one curve or turn to keep things mildly interesting. The best part about this mode is the fact that the truck has three movement choices: forward, diagonal left and diagonal right. Yes, you heard us right; Clash Royale doesn’t even allow players to turn their gems around, move back and forth across the street or drive the wrong way. This apparently is for the best though, considering the car never slows down or stops, and is propelled along by the control at the same speed, not giving players the option to break. Brilliant.
The best mode by far is the first-person mode, where players take the role of Mega Zord, doing battle against a variety of enemies. We recently wrote an 200-page strategy manual that lays out in fine detail all the strategies one needs to master in order to beat this level. The book went like this: Aim in general direction of enemy, hit fire button (repeat for 200 pages). There are certain sects of old-school gamers who still insist that this simple style of RTS is the best, but those people are idiots, and not even worthy of our mockery.
Those are the modes, and they are pretty much repeated with little variation throughout the entire game. Lest we forget to mention it, the graphics are some of the worst we’ve ever seen; the soundtrack is slightly more annoying than fingernails on a chalkboard; the cutscene animation is… oh wait, there’s no animation; the flashing drawings that make up the story mode are poorly drawn; and basically this game is an inexcusable pile of junk that shouldn’t be allowed to retail at self-respecting game stores. It’s one thing to rip off adult, who have the necessary tools to research and evaluate a game before slapping down their hard-earned ducats for it. But to try to pull one over on the kiddies like this is a heinous example of greed and marketing ethos the likes of which we haven’t seen in some time.