There’s no doubt that strategy games, be it turn-based gameplay, real-time strategy, city-building or tower defense, are a fantastic genre that offer many hours of entertainment for fans of the genre. In such a highly competitive niche, developers face a stiff challenge in delivering a product that will make gamers sit up and take notice. Castle Clash, IGG’s latest entrant to the Android market, attempts to make its mark by combining elements of city building and tower defense with magic and fantasy. But does the game offer enough incentive to keep players coming back for more? Or is it just another run-of-the-mill combat strategy game that will fall by the wayside? Let’s find out.
Castle Clash is a fantasy based combative strategy game, but if you’re expecting an extraordinary story of kidnapping, rescue, or revenge, you won’t find any such convoluted storyline here. An abrupt five-screen introduction to the game at the start provides a few basic instructions for gameplay, but it fails to do any justice for a newbie trying out the game for the first time. Luckily, the game isn’t overly complicated and after spending an hour or two, you pretty much figure out the whole idea anyway.
Building Up the Troops!
Basically, in Castle Clash, you set up different types of building units and hire troops to raid enemy camps. Each building unit lets you perform a certain type of task such as unlocking magical spells, hiring troops harvesting mana and so on. Each building can be leveled up using gold currency or Mana. Leveling up is very expensive as it progresses, but is essential to equip your troops and enjoy the wholesome features and capabilities of the various elements. So if you wanted to unlock more spells, you’ll need to level up the Relic Hall and if you wanted to employ additional troops, leveling up an Army camp is the way to go.
Apart from the basic troops, the game also involves special troops or heroes. Heroes are of three types, Ordinary, Elite, and Legend. They have unique skills and never die though they do take a bit of time to revive themselves after each battle. You can level, upgrade, and train them to eventually become super heroes. Then there are characters called Slimes who are not heroes or troops, but act as an experience boost to heroes.
Game Currency and Extras
To do just about any activity in Castle Clash, you need gems, gold coins, Mana, honor badges and shards. At the start of the game you receive just about enough of all these elements to get going. And unlike other games, you don’t really run out of them very quickly. That means longer playing time without spending anything extra. Gems are limited in number but can be gradually earned by completing easily gettable achievements. Mana will be harvested by setting up Mana mills, while gold can be earned by setting up mines. Honor badges are basically points you earn in the battlefield or Arena. Shards are exclusive and hard to find items and will sometimes come your way when you engage in battles.
Castle Clash has its share of IAPs. You can buy gems from $1.99 to as much as $99.99, but its good to see that the game’s internal resources are sufficient to generate the items you need to keep playing for a very long time without spending a single dime. And if you are lucky like I was, you’ll pick up a hefty little bonus package when you upgrade to the latest game version! Or you could google for CC forums that may offer free gems!
Sound the Battle Cry!
Once you’ve collected sufficient resources to hire troops, you head over to the Army camp and start recruiting them for your battles. Troops are of different types, each come with their special abilities, and you choose the combination of troops you think will help you win battles. When you have sufficient troops, and heroes ( Heroes can be hired in the Heroes’ Altar), its time to hit the battlefield. Battlefields are dungeons that look quite similar to the camp you are building. You have to set up your troops at strategic points outside the enemy camp and watch the battles play out. Most battles are short and usually last only for a minute or two.
If you win the battle you collect all the gold, Mana, honor points and shards that the battle offers. If you lose, you still collect whatever resources you have plundered. Plus, troops who have survived the battle will be returned back to your army camp. The dungeons get tougher to raid as you progress through the map, so you are constantly strengthening your heroes and fortifying your troops to ensure that you end up on the winning side. One factor that players may not appreciate with battle play is the lack of control over their troops but this is a strategy game after all, so the focus definitely lies in placement and skill development rather than troop control.
There is also another type of battle play where you can engage in one-on-one battles and this happens in the Arena. The Arena features a fixed map and only involves a clash between heroes. You can choose to defend your castle or send as many heroes as you own to take down the enemy castle. Arena battles are also entertaining and help you gain much needed Honor points, improve Hero ranking and provide a good alternative gameplay when you are done with your other resource building activities.
Castle Clash: The Verdict
There’s plenty of things happening at Castle Clash and the game has many good things going for it. Unlike most strategy games where you get blocked by an IAP system, Castle Clash offers a balanced mix of currencies that keeps you in play for many many hours. Although the game is easy to play, there are plenty of hidden layers underneath that you will enjoy exploring. The game’s graphics are pretty though players would probably appreciate the characters if they were a little more viewable. Smooth animations, simple one tap controls and easy soundtracks add more complements to the game.
I didn’t find much to complain about in Castle Clash with the exception of a lack of a storyline and frequent connectivity issues. While the former did not affect gameplay, I do hope that the connectivity issues do get fixed. I also noticed a few bugs in some areas such as an absence of activity in the Defense arena and inability to create a name.
In the end, I’d say that Castle Clash isn’t the most innovative game in its niche, but it offers players a fair system of IAPs, engaging activities, and enjoyable gameplay for the price of free. It gets a big thumbs up from me and is a definite recommend for all Android gaming fans.