Clash of Clans has long stood atop the highest-grossing App Store products chart (currently #2 below Candy Crush Saga). It is also a game that I have personally logged more hours playing than I care to admit.
In Clash of Clans, members create their own villages, grow their own economy and raise their own armies. In addition, once players spend enough time getting their village started, they become immersed in a player-versus-player (PvP) world which pits them against other players of equal standing in the fight for power. Clash of Clans hearkens back to classic medieval RTS games like Warcraft and Age of Empires by arming the game’s soldiers with swords and spells rather than guns and grenades.
Ultimately, the goal of the game is to unite with up to 49 other players and form the world’s premier clan by attaining the highest aggregate total of trophies, which are won by individual players in PvP mode. Actual battles take place in the form of invasions in which a player chooses another player to attack and unleashes his army onto the other player’s town. Unfortunately, the game play itself falls flat during these attacks, as units are uncontrollable and often ineffectively waste themselves on low-priority targets. Rewards, in the form of trophies and resources, are stolen from the defender based on the percentage of their base left intact after the fight. While the matchmaking system (MMS) is designed to arrange fair battles, players often abuse the system by purposely losing many fights with a single unit, thereby lowering their rank in the MMS to farm resources easily from newer players.
Development of a player’s village is a process which, although initially rapid and satisfying, eventually grinds to a screeching halt before players can unlock anything considerably cool. Like any successful App Store game, Clash of Clans draws players in with fun, fast-paced and easy game-play then reaches a plateau of “pay-to-play” (or, more fittingly, “pay or make negligible progress”) which accounts for its mind-blowing $2.4M/day gem sales, which are used to expedite upgrades and purchase additional builders. Furthermore–and I know this because, of course, I invested real money in Clash of Clans–enjoyment of the game is limited by monotony and constant setbacks. Being successful requires daily investment of time updating your village and attacking others, all while facing the constant threat of being attacked yourself and losing your hard-fought resources.
Despite my hang-ups over the game, I would have to reward it with an overall 4/5, simply because of the format in which it operates. No similar game available on a cellular device is offering the same level of complexity and competitive play as Supercell’s Clash of Clans application. However, it is incredibly Farmville-esque (tedious) and is only free to play if you have no desire to play it after a few months. Easily-addicted gamers be wary.