Clash of Clans: Review

Bite-Sized Fun

Clash of Clans
Supercell | iOS | August 2, 2012
Also Available for Android

You start with a small village and work you up to creating the most powerful kingdom in the land. Players are in charge of gathering resources, improving their land and demolishing others. Clash of Clans is broken into four gameplay mechanics. Players build their base; this includes setting up tower defenses to thwart attackers and upgrading resource collectors. There is a single player campaign against goblin villages, this serves as a combat tutorial and a decent way to test strategies. Players can attack other players in an attempt to steal resources and trophies or engage in full on Clan Wars.

Clash of Clans is a freemium game with all the pitfalls that free to play games are known for. The opportunity to provide cash to the developers for the premium diamond currency; this will allow players to purchase additional builders or speed up the process or complete construction instantaneously. In the beginning an upgrade will take five minutes in real time, this will quickly escalate to five days and beyond. Unlike other games in the genre, there is almost always something that players can be working towards, even when all builders are occupied.

What is a Critical Hit!

There is a sense of reward as your plot of land is transformed from a desolate hut to a sprawling kingdom. Each building goes through an evolution and is visually different at each stage of development. Unlocking new soldiers in the barracks will make your army feel drastically different. When unlocking new building options through upgrading the town hall, you could decide to change the entire town layout. The game is consistently providing new tools in the player’s arsenal.

Every time you boot the game, especially in the beginning, there is a tree that can be cleared, building to upgrade, single player campaign or enemies to attack. Completing any task will improve a player’s score, move the progress bar for achievements and the potential to earn premium currency. No matter how you are playing the game, almost every task is met with a small reward which can culminate in a shiny new toy.

In a recent update, Clan Wars were introduced which truly impact which clan you sign up with. Leaders from the clan challenge each other to war. Victory is determined by which clan wins the most stars in a series of battles. Each player can win a maximum of three stars. This quickly levels the playing field, a clan with five top-level players can still lose the war if the rest of the group is afk or demolished by mid tier players. The wars are mini-events which take place over a few days and encourage clan conversations and strategy.

Clash of Clans does not require a single cent of your money and is not a pay to win game. During matches, you can scout enemies beforehand and decide who to attack. The game will pair you with foes of a similar strength, though picking on those weaker is the easiest way to gain wealth. If a player decides to use the premium currency, they will upgrade their village faster, this will have no impact on the individual battles.

What is Not Very Effective…

The AI controls all combat, defense and offense. This game is not an RTS and players can be frustrated with the lack of options available during the attack sequences. There is no way to prioritize targets or coordinate assaults. The only option for players is tower placement or troop deployment locations. It can be frustrating to watch a battalion of archers get wiped out because they spent time destroying a clan castle instead of the cannon that is actively attacking them. Players can try and outsmart the AI or use its priority to their advantage, but this is not always a guarantee as multiple troops dropped in the same spot will attack different buildings in a different order.

Patience is a virtue. When the town hall is level one you will quickly build it to level four within a day of gameplay, getting to level five will take exponentially longer. With only two builders to start off with, and build times of four days at level seven, there can be a lot of dead time in the game. Players can build troops and participate in Clan Wars, the campaign or attacking others during this time; but any gains without a builder available can be taken while on the defending other attackers.

Status Summary

Clash of Clans is best played in small doses instead of one long sitting. The game contains simple and easy to pick up mechanics, but a layered and deep combat system. What you think is the most obvious town layout or attack strategy is not always the most effective. The game does a great job rewarding risk vs. reward and offers plenty of ways for players to feel like they are progressing towards a goal. The AI can be frustrating at times, but everyone is handicapped by the same wonky logic.

If you enjoy building, upgrading and managing your own medieval kingdom and have the patience to reach the maximum level only after months of play than you want to be part of this clan. If you prefer your gameplay to be fast paced, story based or allow players to micro-manage troops, than this game will clash with your personality.


Score: 7.0 /10
+ Progress Rewards
+ Clan Wars
+ No Money Required
– AI is Dumb
– Repetitive
– Premium Currency

Level Up, Friends!