App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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It would be fairly easy to look at Clash of Clans and think “Oh no, another town-building freemium game.” Easy, but also largely inaccurate. Sure there are some town-building elements, but it’s really more like constructing a base or stronghold. The key difference being that defense is every bit as important as upgrading resource production or building more houses.
Clash of Clans puts players in charge of their own village/township/whatever it is clans hang out in and tasks them with not only expanding their colony but attacking and defending against others. The typical song and dance of creating new buildings, upgrading existing ones for improves output, unlocking new options, and so on is certainly a main focus. However it’s also important to construct cannons, walls, and whatnot in order to better protect the tiny digital berg from would-be raiders. That and to train an army of soldiers (comprised of various units, naturally) to would-be raid someone else.
Aside from the vibrant and rather distinct visuals – especially the quirky little warriors when viewed up close - Clash of Clans also does well to cater to both major player camps; those who prefer to go it alone and those who crave some human interaction in their games. While it’s not possible to cut out the online portion entirely as this is a game that requires an online connection to play, there’s still a healthy amount of content for anyone more interested in attacking someone who won’t potentially crack inappropriate jokes upon losing.
While Clash of Clans has a lot going for it in terms of play style variation and player interaction (Hurray, a chat window!), it probably won’t sway anyone who simply despises the format or genre. Another less generalized problem is that the text for everything - everything - is just too darn small on an iPhone screen. At least on a 3GS screen, anyway.
It’s great to play an online freemium game that doesn’t shy away from the singleplayer experience but also offers up some honest-to-goodness direct interaction, which is a very rare combination these days. It probably won’t warm the hearts of any haters out there, but it does give genre fans something with a bit more action and strategy than they might be used to.