App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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It's easy to get cynical when big game franchises come to mobile. Let's face it: almost every console property that comes to mobile is a cheap cash-in game that relies on its brand power to attract players and get them to spend money. This most certainly continues to be true with Titanfall: Assault, a multiplayer game that tries to leverage the Titanfall name to prop up a cheap (though expensive-looking) Clash Royale clone.
Clash of the titans
By just going on screenshots, it might be hard to tell that Titanfall: Assault is anything like Clash Royale. It's got a gritty sci-fi aesthetic and involves trying to capture points on a map rather than specifically destroy towers. Otherwise though, it's still a game about collecting cards, using them to build an army, and deploying them strategically in real-time against an enemy player.
Other slight differences in Assault are that some cards can only be played at certain points in a match. Specifically, your gigantic robot units (aka Titans) can only be deployed a minute into the match. There are also multiple maps that don't just look different. They can change throughout the course of a match and provide alternate paths for your units to follow.
Outside of the multiplayer matches, Titanfall: Assault's similarities to Clash Royale continue. There's a store where select cards are on sale for you to purchase and an interface for unlocking loot crates to give you random cards. Collecting enough of a certain kind of card allows you to level it up, which makes it more powerful in battle.
It is notable that Titanfall: Assault has a decent diversity of cards, but some cards feel overly specialized, and the game doesn't do a great job of explaining what kinds of cards are good for what situations. This forces you to have to experiment (read: lose) a bunch just to find out what cards work well together and which ones don't. Thankfully, there is a single player component to Titanfall: Assault which has a decent AI for you to try out new cards and combos out on.
Titanfall: Assault looks great, but that alone doesn't make it a quality Clash Royale competitor. The other changes that the game makes to the real-time, card-combat formula are so slight as to feel arbitrary, and in some ways make the game a little more confusing.
A lot of what makes Clash Royale so satisfying is how simple and readable the entire experience is, but Titanfall: Assault loses all of this in its attempt to shove aspects of Titanfall into the mix. While there are lanes on every map, for example, certain units will just ignore them in favor of vaulting over walls and buildings toward their objectives. I get why something like this would be put in a game that's trying to capture the spirit of Titanfall, but this also makes lane control feel less important and can also make it really hard to know how you or your opponents' units will move once they've been deployed.
The bottom line
Titanfall: Assault is largely just a gussied up version of Clash Royale that leans mostly on its brand to make itself stand out. It definitely looks great and has things reminiscent of Titanfall in it, but it doesn't surpass (or even match) the level of quality of the game that it's borrowing from.