Brawl Stars is actually a worthy, if simple, Clash Royale successor. For some time there, it appeared like Brawl Stars wasn’t going to make it. Supercell’s free-to-play mobile shooter soft-launched in Canada in June 2017 and then reached a few more countries this past January, nevertheless the lethargic rollout suggested that Brawl Stars wasn’t able to join the likes of Clash Royale and Clash of Clans as being an international smash.
Its creators agreed, apparently. During its 500-plus days in limited release, the Finnish studio reworked the controls and progression system, shifted the screen orientation, and made myriad other tweak. Supercell has a medical history of killing soft-launched games that couldn’t match its vision, but Brawl Stars finally emerged from the gauntlet alive, and seemingly better to have experienced it.
Brawl Stars smartly adapts team-based multiplayer shooters for mobile in a way in which makes perfect sense for pocket-sized touch devices. It’s an unbiased-based shooter, a battle royale game, a MOBA-lite and much more, all wrapped up in an approachable and attractive package.
Both Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds happen to be huge on iOS and Android (and everywhere else) this year, but neither is definitely an optimal smartphone experience. These are certainly sufficient if you don’t use a current console or even a capable PC, or you’re just hungry for competition on the go, but they’re awkward in all of the ways you’d expect from a mobile port. They’re cumbersome and imprecise, and don’t run along with on older devices. The oft-lengthy matches also aren’t suitable for hopping set for a simple fix.
Brawl Stars doesn’t are afflicted by these issues, because it’s designed for mobile and cognizant of the platform’s limitations. Matches typically last a few minutes, and also the top-down view means there’s no fussing with a camera. One virtual stick controls your character while another aims and fires your weapon; you are able to alternately tap the second stick for any single shot on the nearest foe. And when your ” special ” attack charges, another virtual stick activates to aim and launch that.
That’s all there is to it. It works impressively well: Movement and aiming both feel spot-on, and there’s essentially no learning curve to cope with. The matches are fast and fluid, and pretty satisfying despite their compact length. They’ll get your heart pumping too; I’ve already cursed aloud (to myself) at many random opponents (who can’t hear me) when gunned down in the heat of battle.
Gem Grab will be the conseguir gemas brawl stars experience, a three-on-three offering in which gleaming, purple gems pop out of a hole in the center of the stage. Each team vies to be the first to claim 10 gems, then hold firm as the timer ticks down. But a well-timed shotgun blast or luchador elbow drop will scatter the defeated player’s stash, quickly turning the tide in this particular entertaining mode.
More play options emerge when you gradually accumulate trophies. Showdown is Brawl Stars’ 10-player take on the battle royale, and comes in both solo and duos variants. It’s pretty straightforward: you’ll fire away at foes and try to survive, however the strategic twist comes along with health and attack-boosting power cubes scattered in treasure boxes around the stage. In familiar battle royale fashion, the play area gradually shrinks over time – here, it’s with poison clouds that creep from your edges towards the middle of the map.
Bounty mode is similar to team deathmatch, with bonus points for taking out opponents with long kill streaks, while the MOBA-esque Heist sends your team off to destroy the enemies’ safe before they eradicate yours. Brawl Ball is … well, it’s soccer with guns. That’s pretty amusing.
The cartoonish look is sharp throughout, from your level backdrops towards the characters themselves, with a solid combination of play styles within the currently 22-strong hero roster. An Elvis-esque cowboy with powerful pistols aujoxu should be precisely aimed? A robot bartender who lobs explosive bottles for ample splash damage? Think about a hero that can summon a lumbering bear to hunt down foes? They’re all here.
Granted, the characters don’t pack much personality beyond their vibrant looks, however the diversity in attack and attribute cocktails keeps things interesting. The heroes feel different on the battlefield, and you could quickly sense when some are a better fit for play modes over others, or which a complementary team pairing makes for a far more effective unit in battle
Brawl Stars’ diverse selection of genre riffs keeps things lively, and like Supercell’s older Clash Royale, this free-to-play game is extremely fairly monetized. You can play just as much as you would like without any timers to wait (or pay) through, but you’ll only earn item box-unlocking tokens to your first number of matches of a long session. Beyond that, you’ll must wait for the tokens to recharge before earning further rewards.
Even amidst a welcome variety of distinctive play modes and characters, Brawl Stars sticks towards the same basic gameplay elements throughout. It’s what assists in keeping the action so immediate and approachable, and it’s a big element of why Supercell’s latest game succeeds.
That also may be what ultimately limits its long term appeal, however. Brawl Stars has become streamlined to dramatic effect, but there’s little depth towards the moment-to-moment gameplay. It doesn’t have the kind of strategic hook and outside-the-game tinkering that made Clash Royale this kind of worthy obsession and, eventually, an appropriate esport. Supercell may well have competitive ambitions for Brawl Stars too, but I just don’t see enough tactical potential here to yield something which people would bother to view. Over time, that same degree of simplicity can make initially excited players peel away in support of fresher mobile distractions.
But that knows? Given the time Supercell spent tinkering with Brawl Stars before launch, it seems fair to assume that this studio may position the same kind of effort into keeping this game lively and engaging for the long term. Even if not, Brawl Stars is really a bite-sized treat that you could savor at no cost right now, and it also feels perfect on the smartphone