Clash of Clans offers simplistic, satisfying strategy on iOS

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Last month, we brought you a preview of Supercell's then unreleased iOS strategy title Clash of Clans, which places you in charge of a small village and ask you to grow and expand that village into a dominant military power, fighting goblins and other real world players in the process. Now that the game has launched for free on the iTunes App Store, we've had a chance to go hands-on with the final product and have discovered that its setup is perfect for both strategy game purists and beginners.

Clash of Clans doesn't come with a traditional energy or quest system, but instead focuses on resource production and unlocking battles. You'll need to balance the use of Gold and Elixir, which are used for everything from simply purchasing a building from the store to training new troops and upgrading structures. Your base land is quite large, but full of debris, so you'll also need to collect enough resources over time to eliminate those obstacles, freeing up more land space for defenses, artillery units and so on.

While you're waiting for your buildings to produce Gold and Elixir, you can take to the battlefield against either real-world players or goblins. Goblin maps offer a variety of level layouts and challenges that you'll need to overcome. Some may be entirely surrounded by walls, while others simply have a lot of cannons, as examples. You can eventually unlock and train up to 10 types of troops, each of which handles these obstacles differently. Of course, the game then comes down to finding the best balance of troops for a particular battle. Unfortunately, you won't see the layout of the opponent's battlefield until you've already assigned your troops to the game.

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As you lay siege to enemy fortresses, you'll earn Gold and Elixir as your rewards, but even if you win a battle, all of your troops are lost in the process. This doesn't make much sense, and it forces you to needlessly spend Elixir to train replacements before you can once again head into battle. Furthermore, there are arbitrary limits placed on how many units of both Gold and Elixir you can hold, so you'll need to spend valuable time waiting for your storage structures to upgrade before you can hold more of each.

That being said, there's a decent variety to the troops you can train, but each standard map (that is, those that don't belong to other real-world players) is fairly easy to dominate, especially once you unlock a large brute soldier with plenty of strength and defense. This simplicity can make the game inviting to a beginner of the real-time strategy genre, but the inclusion of true PvP combat also offers endless gameplay for those that wish to employ real strategy against more intelligent opponents.

Overall, Clash of Clans is a simple experience with more battling than city-building, but if you're into the former, you should definitely be happy with the package. It's a cute, easy game to pick up and play, but one that might also be difficult to master. If you'd like to try, you can now download Clash of Clans for free on iTunes.

Click here to download Clash of Clans on iTunes --->

What do you think of Clash of Clans? Have you already started down the path of domination on your smartphone? Sound off in the comments!


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