On Wednesday, Gameloft released its latest mobile offering, Blitz Brigade: Rival Tactics. The game, presumably, aims to grab a piece of the massive mobile gaming pie Supercell has commandeered with their blockbuster hit, Clash Royale. With Clash Royale remaining one of the top grossing apps in the Google Play and Apple App store, even a year after release, it’s no wonder other studios are looking to the game for “inspiration.”
But while taking lessons from the best is one thing, creating direct and uninspired copies of an instant classic just comes off as sad. Unfortunately for Gameloft, this is exactly what’s happening with Blitz Brigade: Rival Tactics. As an avid mobile gaming fan and aspiring games developer, I generally find it difficult to write scathing reviews of any game developers have spent time and energy creating. In the case of Blitz Brigade, however, I’ve been hard pressed to find one even one glimmer of originality in the offering.
Blitz Brigade: Rival Tactics features a wide array of characters to build you Battle Team, that feel like a less inspired make over of Clash Royale’s beloved characters.
If you’ve ever played Clash Royale, imagine a slower, clumsier version that replaces your beloved archers with a pair of lady snipers, your minions with a threesome of cyber buzzards and your friendly Giant with a military tank leveraging a huge chainsaw in front. As with Clash Royale, Blitz Brigade involves assembling a deck of eight characters known as your Battle Squad. Each has its own “unique” strengths and weaknesses. There are air, ground and splash attackers. You have hoards, tanks and powerful melee fighters – just like Clash Royale. There are two lanes of play, with the objective of taking down the enemy’s three towers – er, turrets. To deploy troops you use battery power/mana that slowly builds every second. Matches last three minutes or until you manage to take down the King Turret in the middle. When there is one minute of gameplay remaining, battery power doubles – in the same way elixir doubles during the last minute of Clash Royale. When you win matches you gain medals which allow you to increase ranks and move into new divisions – for Clash Royale players, think Trophies, Arenas and King Tower levels. And just to ensure the photocopy is exact, Blitz Brigade also includes factions you can join, where you can chat, challenge members to “friendly fights” and request troop donations.
Blitz Brigade: Rival Tactics tries to shake things up with an isometric gameplay view but instead makes it difficult to position troops and analyze the battlefield.
In the two years I’ve been covering mobile games, I’ve played a LOT of different offerings. Therefore, I fully expect the games I play to have similarities to other games I’ve played before. As with literature, television and other media, there is truly nothing new under the sun and I don’t really expect there to be. However, when I come to a game I do expect one thing: perspective. Show me a new way to look at something I’ve seen a thousand times before and I will be your champion for life. But offer me a karaoke version of my favorite childhood singer’s biggest hit and I’m not going to be terribly impressed. This is exactly what Gameloft has given us with Blitz Brigade . A karaoke version of Clash Royale. The meat and bones are there, but it lacks the thousand tiny details and nuances that made me fall in love with it over a year ago and keeps me coming back even now. When playing Blitz Brigade, my moves are nearly identical to those I would play in Clash Royale , but somehow it’s lacking the heart. It’s the little things I miss. Like the operatic note my Valkyrie strikes while slashing away at her target. In Blitz Brigade , I get a half-hearted Samurai that grunts and wields his machete. In Clash Royale the battlefield is bright and animated, full of color, sound and light. In Blitz Brigade , the colors are muted and the graphics feel decidedly flat, despite the awkward, isometric view from which we are required to play. Even the PvP matchmaking is underwhelming, as you find yourself pitted against players way above or below your ranking.This has the effect of making you feel it’s never quite a fair fight.
I spent more time than I wanted to playing this game, hoping to find one inspired detail about which I could say something positive, but sadly, I couldn’t. If you’re a Clash Royale fan looking for a fresh take on a winning formula, Blitz Brigade probably isn’t it.