A message for Clash Royale Fans and Gamers

A great card game would be the coolest idea ever for the IOS. With the added graphical power, the environments could come alive as gamers have never seen before. Porting a horrible game over from Japan and trying to Americanize it, however, was neither a cool idea, nor an original one. This hastily assembled, disposable piece of plastic tries to surf, as it were, entirely on the cool little surfboard add-on that’s used to control the rider, but it wipes out early and often.

Third-party support has always been the backbone of any successful console, and while the emergence of every major company in support of the IOS is certainly welcome, it has a dark side as well. With companies scrambling to get something, anything, out in time for launch, there are sure to be some, um, sacrifices. One of the first to qualify as pure altar bait is SuperCell’s Clash Royale, a crap title if we’ve ever seen one.

A warmed-over port of Clash Royale from Finland, the game is about as basement bargain bin as console games get. If this game were $9.99 for the PC, it wouldn’t be worth the price. The graphics are horrible, the gameplay is crap, the camera induces nausea, and the plastic the game comes in is made from the skin of murdered baby seals. (OK, we made that last part up.) The game is that kind of aggravating.

Let’s start with the graphics. Not since the Genesis we keep in the office to play Toejam and Earl was the recipient of approximately three gallons of semidigested alcohol at the last Christmas party have we witnessed game visuals quite as disturbingly bad. Every level looks basically the same, with a big stretch of ocean that has great basic water texture, then looks horrible every time it moves. There’s different weather, but because none of it affects anything or is even evident without looking –isn’t rain supposed to make some sort of impact when it hits large bodies of water? — there’s not much point to its presence.

Bizarre character design was one of the few things that made Clash Royale interesting — the gang had apparently come from outer space for a big card competition, we kid not — but H30 replaces the shark-headed freaks and giant rock monsters with generic Gen-X racers. Each one of the new crew has a name like that of a star of a bad B-grade card movie (Kelly Sunset, Mark Mavericks — he’s extreme!). Each also has slightly different abilities than the other surfers. Or at least that’s the idea. In reality everyone acts pretty much the same, although some people can’t do some tricks.

Not that the tricks are exactly easy to do, mind you. The entire control scheme centers on a little surfboard that snaps over the Dual Shock 2’s analog sticks and is reminiscent of the fingerboards that have become popular of late. This strange device works well for basic card, but its novelty is about the only reason for playing the game, because the tricks are just about impossible to pull off with any frequency.

Even if players were patient enough to work out all the poorly animated tricks, they’d be hard-pressed to figure out where to pull them off, with H30’s insane camera attempting to thwart them at every turn. It would take the poor saps and make them think that up was down and left was right, and that they were constantly changing directions, even when they were just trying to go straight. And they would be sad. Like we were.

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