Almost a year ago, several of my friends were going nuts on Clash of Clans. I could see them playing during class, while eating, pretty much anytime anywhere. And of course they all spent a lot of money on it. They tried to convince me to play the game with them. However, I did not gain any interest on it. One of the reasons was that the first impression that Clash of Clans gave me was just a ripoff from one of my all time favorite mobile games, Townsmen.
Why I did not like Clash of Clans
Townsmen, by HandyGames, is a city building mobile tycoon game that features the same beautiful village theme as Clash of Clans, but a much more robust and complex resources system. For example, every building requires villagers to operate and villagers actually consume food and water you produced with those buildings to survive. In that case, the whole game was filled with a dynamic on resource management that requires constant monitoring and even more intuitive than the dynamic of money from SimCity. Another thing that really cranked my gear is that, with all the intuitive resource management they did in the game, they even add more livingness of the game by adding actual villager NPCs in the game running around doing exactly what they were assigned of. Although Clash of Clans did the same thing, unlike Townsmen, villagers in Clash of Clans will only jump around and do random things which gave me an impression that the developer did not care about the feature at all. Besides, although Townsmen was a single-player only game, it introduced building soldiers and invading other village way ahead of Clash of Clans. And as I mentioned earlier, with the more robust and complex resources system, you do not just build soldier from nowhere but to actually build a blacksmith factory to produce weapons using resources like iron, wood which you produced by other buildings early on. (I haven’t played through the newest Townsmen but I think they removed this feature to focus on building)
Why I liked it after playing it
However, due to the fact that we need to build a tycoon game this semester as a client project. Despite all the negative comments of Clash of Clans, I actually downloaded it and played it the first time. To be honest, I actually loved it and got really addicted to it. Not only because I tend to get addicted to any game with a “unlock more contents” feature, but also because I just liked how they captured the exact sweet spot of several different genres and made some really smart choices to make the game perfectly for mobile gamers.
Clash of Clans
Born for mobile
It uses the typical long progress time for building and upgrading like we experienced with Farmville. At the first glance , this mechanism seems to be a sole effort to monetize the game with the paid time boost to finish the progress quick and easy. However, there is more to it. From my experience with Clash of Clans, it is the long period of wait made me to not hold my phone all day long, like what I did when I was playing Townsmen, and keep coming back when I have time. I would wake up in the morning and collect all the resources and start some upgrades and then I can just forget about the game. By bedtime, I would open the game again and collect all the resources and fire up another upgrade if the one in the morning had been done. If I have a little extra spare time, I will do one or two invasions with my soldiers and retrain all the soldiers. When I wake up in the morning, all the upgrades or building should be done and I start a new circle. Besides, If I have any spare time throughout the day, I will open up the game and collect resources and check if anyone have invaded my village. To my opinion, Clash of Clans hit every single mark that a mobile tycoon game should have.
You don’t just wait
Unlike Farmville, if you wanted to do something in between the long period of time of upgrading and building in Clash of Clans, you could. The whole new aspect of mixing tower defense and RTS really brought Clash of Clans to a whole new level. I could not stop thinking about strategies that I could use to place my buildings, my defensive weapons and my walls so I get a better defense when I get attacked by other players the same way I care in every single tower defense game. I would also think about how should I place my limited number of soldiers with different classes so I can break through other players’ defenses just like the way I played every single RTS. When I am not playing Clash of Clans as a tycoon game, there are still a lot of ways for me to get involved in the game. And of course, it is called Clash of Clans, they absolutely have the clan system for people to social. And that constant involvement just made the game more fun than simply a tycoon game and more suitable on mobile platform.
I still think Townsmen did a way better job being a tycoon village building game than Clash of Clan, but Clash of Clan did a lot of smart choices to extract the core of tycoon gameplay and brought tower defense along with RTS genres into the game to solve a lot of problems with tycoon games on mobile platform. All in all, if you like tycoon games solely, Townsmen is what I would say a perfect choice that is as good as SimCity. But Clash of Clans is something new.