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“Dad, let’s play another battle in Clash Royale!”

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“Dad, let’s play another battle in Clash Royale!”

A couple of weeks ago I posted an article about how I became a regular Clash Royale player. Induced by Diego, my eldest son, in three months I have played more than a thousand games and I will surely continue playing for several more weeks.

It is very unusual for me to get that engaged to a mobile game.

I had tried other games of the same kind, either driven by curiosity about their popularity, or because Diego wanted me to play with me. I installed Candy Crush, the many Angry Birds versions, the fast paced Geometry Dash, and even the Fallout Shelter we developed with the Behaviour team.

Imágenes de juegos móviles
I’ve played Candy Crush, Geometry Dash, Angry Birds and Fallout Shelter, among other mobile games. None of those has been as fun as Clash Royale.

All have their merits, but none entertained me as Clash Royale. What is so special about Clash Royale that leads me to play several times a day?

I felt it was interesting to get deeper into this because the elements that have made Clash Royale the great success it is now, can be also applied to many other games. Therefore, as a game developer, I felt the need to understand why it works and why people like it so much.

After thinking a lot, I have concluded that there are three reasons that explain my great affinity with the game, and surely apply to many other players.

Battles against other people

The first reason is that the matches are real-time battles against another human opponent. In Clash Royale, there is no “single player” mode. There are training matches plus a tutorial that teaches the basics, but most times you are playing against other people.

This social experience is enhanced by a “greetings” system that allows the player to send the opponent a few predefined images or short messages while the match is played.

Clash Royale messages.
There is nothing more satisfying than making the opponent furious after destroy his towers. You can also send short predefined messages to greet or congratulate the opponent.

I can’t deny the satisfaction I feel when I make a complex maneuver to destroy enemy towers and my opponent sends me a “I’m furious” message symbolized by an angry red king picture.

Similarly, I am filled with rage when I get defeated in a disputed game and my opponent literally mocks at me by sending me a “I’m laughing out loud” message”, symbolized by laughing king picture and sound.

Clash Royale is a hard game

The second reason is related to its difficulty.

Although the rules are very simple, the gameplay in Clash Royale has a depth and complexity that surprised me the first few weeks I played it. There are details that strongly influence the outcome of each match such as which cards to use, in what order you play them and even the location and the exact moment that each card is used.

Clash Royale battles
In Clash Royale, the battles take place in Arenas. Each player must try to destroy as many opponent towers as possible in three minutes. To do so, cards are played to place characters with different features in the Arena. Those characters struggle to reach the other side and destroy enemy towers.

Thus, when you overcome the opponent, you have the genuine satisfaction of deserving the win, whereas when you suffer a loss, most of the time you know that you made some mistakes or that the opponent took better decisions than you.

The learning curve is steep and therefore the challenge of being a good player and climbing in the ranking is really high. For competitive players like me, that really like to win, this translates into an excellent incentive to keep playing matches.

Short and intense combat

The third reason has to do with the intensity and duration of the games.

Clash Royale is not the first game that makes me bring out anger or satisfaction so eloquently. Years ago there was a time when I enjoyed long Call of Duty matches in which we played in teams of four or five people among coworkers, or Starcraft matches with college peers.

Being strong in those games was also difficult and triumphs sometimes required a lot of effort and coordination. Therefore, the satisfaction of victory usually came with big laughs and teasing the opponents, while defeats caused huge disappointment and frustration.

Call of Duty screenshot
In Call of Duty I participated in lots of battles in which each team worked hard to defeat the opponent. I have great memories of epic matches with my coworkers.

But the interesting thing about Clash Royale is that it makes you live this kind of experience in a more casual atmosphere, in matches that last three to four minutes, and that can also be played on the mobile device anywhere with internet access.

This is ideal for me. With a lot of family and other responsibilities, I do not have the time to play 30 or 60 minute matches of minutes Starcraft or Call of Duty. But I do have the time to play several games Clash Royale throughout the day: one at lunch, one in the morning, a couple of matches while waiting at the bank or… in the bathroom.

What casual games have you played? Have you ever been “captured” by a casual game like me in Clash Royale? What elements of the game are the ones you think that make you play it again regularly?

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Juan Pablo Lastra

Juan Pablo makes videogames since he was 8 and he is a father since 2004. Today, he has three children and he has worked in more than 20 videogames. He got interested on how paternity and the videogame industry are related and he decided to write about it, founding "Papa Game Dev"

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