Brawl Stars is a worthy, if simple, Clash Royale successor. For quite a while there, it sounded like Brawl Stars wasn’t intending to make it. Supercell’s free-to-play mobile shooter soft-launched in Canada in June 2017 and then reached more countries this past January, however 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 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 manner in which makes perfect sense for pocket-sized touch devices. It’s an objective-based shooter, a battle royale game, a MOBA-lite and a lot more, all wrapped up in an approachable and attractive package.
Both Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have been huge on iOS and Android (and everywhere else) this coming year, but neither is definitely an optimal smartphone experience. They may be certainly sufficient in the event you don’t possess 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 the mobile port. They’re cumbersome and imprecise, and don’t run as well as on older devices. The oft-lengthy matches also aren’t suitable for hopping in for a fast fix.
Brawl Stars doesn’t are afflicted by these issues, because it’s built for mobile and cognizant in the platform’s limitations. Matches typically last a couple of minutes, and the top-down view means there’s no fussing having a camera. One virtual stick controls your character while another aims and fires your weapon; you can alternately tap the second stick to get a single shot in the nearest foe. And as soon as 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 contend with. The matches are fast and fluid, and pretty satisfying despite their compact length. They’ll get the 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 brawl stars hackear gemas experience, a three-on-three offering by which gleaming, purple gems pop from a hole in the heart of the stage. Each team vies to become the first one to claim 10 gems, then hold firm since 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 entertaining mode.
More play options emerge while 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 then try to survive, however the strategic twist includes health insurance and attack-boosting power cubes scattered in treasure boxes across the stage. In familiar battle royale fashion, the play area gradually shrinks over time – here, it’s with poison clouds that creep through the edges towards the middle of the map.
Bounty mode is much like team deathmatch, with bonus points for taking out opponents with long kill streaks, as 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, having a solid combination of play styles found 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 who 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 can quickly sense when some certainly are a better fit for play modes over others, or that a complementary team pairing creates a far more effective unit in battle
Brawl Stars’ diverse array of genre riffs keeps things lively, and like Supercell’s older Clash Royale, this free-to-play game is quite fairly monetized. It is possible to play just as much as you desire without any timers to wait (or pay) through, but you’ll only earn item box-unlocking tokens to your first number of matches of any long session. Beyond that, you’ll must wait for a tokens to recharge before earning any more rewards.
Even amidst a welcome selection of distinctive play modes and characters, Brawl Stars sticks for the same basic gameplay elements throughout. It’s what assists in keeping the action so immediate and approachable, and it’s a sizable a part of why Supercell’s latest game succeeds.
Which also could be what ultimately limits its long-term appeal, however. Brawl Stars continues to be streamlined to dramatic effect, but there’s little depth for the moment-to-moment gameplay. It doesn’t have the sort of strategic hook and outside-the-game tinkering that made Clash Royale this kind of worthy obsession and, eventually, an effective esport. Supercell might have competitive ambitions for Brawl Stars too, however i just don’t see enough tactical potential here to yield something which people would bother to view. In time, that same amount of simplicity might make initially excited players peel away in favour of fresher mobile distractions.
But you never know? Given the time Supercell spent tinkering with Brawl Stars before launch, it appears fair to believe that this studio may put the same type of effort into keeping the video game lively and interesting for the long term. Even when not, Brawl Stars is really a bite-sized treat that one could savor for free today, and it feels just right on the smartphone