Games That Don’t Suck: Clash of Clans
There’s a part of me that hesitates to recommend any game that is number 1 on iTune’s “Top Grossing Apps” list, especially a “free” one, as you can assume that there is likely going to be a fairly intense push for you to buy in-game currency in order to enjoy the game. Clash of Clans (free: iTunes) does indeed follow your standard “freemium” model where the game is perfectly playable for free, assuming you are patient, but as you progress you will find more and more temptation to drop real money for the Clash of Clans’ in-game Gem currency.
That being said, this game is a total blast, and if you are into world building, social gaming, and killing strangers you should definitely check it out. The basics of the game are fairly straightforward for anyone who has ever payed any other similar game, such as The Settlers. Basically, you slowly build up your town, defenses, resources, and defenses. Then, it’s off to battle. A nice tutorial upon launch will get you up and running, although seeing as Gems are so precious in the game, I would recommend waiting the tutorial out every time it asks you to rush something by plunking down a few gems.
The artwork in Clash of Clans is simply adorable, and reminds me a bit of Fieldrunner’s graphics and battlefields, which is a very big compliment. There is some very nice attention to detail here, and it’s worth taking a second to zoom in on each structure and see what it going on.
One of the best features of Clash of Clans is the way battles are handled. The game comes with a number of pre-built enemy villages you can cut your teeth on before making the move to online battles against other flesh and blood players. When you’re ready to make the jump, you can simply hit the “Find a Match” button and you will be paired up against a (hopefully) similarly ranked player to see if your army has what it takes to smash their village to pieces. Even if you don’t quite have what it takes to break through the enemy’s defenses, you may still make off with some of their gold and resources.
The flip side here is that your village is ALSO open to attack at any time. Actually, not “any” time – your village can only be attacked when you are offline. When you relaunch the game, you’ll be notified if, and how many times you were attacked, and how bad the damage was. You can replay the battles and see how the enemy was able to break your defenses, and then adjust your buildings and troops accordingly. You shouldn’t worry too much about your town being destroyed, however, as all structures will quickly regenerate, and you will not lose anything you have built. However, you can lose gold and resources just as easily as you can grab them from other players.
One nice touch Clash of Clans has that other similar games lack is a social feature where you can join, or even create Clans of up to 50 people comprised of your Game Center or Facebook friends (my Clan is Clan “Macenstein”, feel free to join me!). While your clan-members can’t directly join you in battle against a foe, they CAN send you some of their troops to help you win, or defend your village. You can also chat with your fellow clan members, or the entire Clash of Clans populous if you’d like.
Anyway, as I mentioned up front, this game is hardly a sleeper hit at this point, but I feel it is worth giving a shout out as I have been playing it non-stop for most of a week, and while the costs of upgrading have started ramping up quite a bit, I still highly recommend this game for anyone looking for a nice 3 minute-bathroom-break type game to add to their “arse”enal.