Developed by BNA Studios, LLC, and published by S2 Games (known for Strife and Heroes of Newerth), the free to play multiplayer Collectible Card Arena Brawl of Ages
officially entered Steam’s Early Access program a week ago, and has been available to play. Being a huge fan of the genre, I just had to dive it and try it out.
From your first steps in the game, you’ll realise that Brawl of Ages is heavily inspired from the mobile phenomenon that is Clash Royale. As such, it would be hard to review it without mentioning Supercell’s game.
Just like in Clash Royale, everything in Brawl of Ages starts with a deck of cards that will contain creatures, towers and spells that can be used in battle. These cards constitute the heart of the title, and in the great tradition of the card game, they not only possess a complete set of statistics and abilities, but also an invocation cost and some level of rarity. The players are then tasked with building decks of eight cards that will allow them to triumph in future battles. A choice of cards that can often be an ordeal as the variety of creatures and spells is wide.
In order to enrich their collection of cards, several means will be available to the players, all centered around around the ‘Big Brawls Board” menu where they can spin a board to unlock random rewards. There are four different boards available; Basic Spins, Silver Spins, Gold Spins and Diamond Spins. Basic spins are unlocked through seals that are obtained by destroying enemy towers and winning in Standard matches. A complete victory (earned by destroying the enemy’s castle) provides three seals, while the losing player (as well as the vistorious player if he didn't destroy the castle) receives one seal for every tower he destroyed in the match. As for Silver, Gold and Diamond spins, there are two ways to unlock them. The first one is, you’ve probably guessed it by now, by spending money. The second way is through the Conquest mode that will remind most of Hearthstone’s Arena mode. Basically, players are assigned three lives, and must earn up to 10 wins before losing these three lives though losses. The rewards get better the more wins you accumulate, with 10 wins giving the player two Gold Spins and one Diamond Spin. A system that works very well and is relatively healthy at the moment.
To build a good and balanced deck, it is necessary to test it on the battlefield, because Brawl of Ages is above all based on the clashes between players. Once a game is launched, the player placed on a board that is a hybrid configuration between MOBA and Tower Defense, exactly like Clash Royale’s. From MOBAs, Brawl of Ages borrows the system of fortress and defensive towers that will have to be destroyed to win the game, as well as the principle of "lanes". From the Tower Defense genre, it is the system of invocation of troop that it reproduces, as well as a resource system that allows them to be invoked. At the beginning of each game, the player will have a hand consisting of four of the eight cards from his deck, and he will have to summon them to demolish the opposing fortress. Obviously, it will be impossible to spam the creatures, the latter requiring the player to spend Mana (the resource of the game) which recharges as the seconds pass. Once invoked, creatures will move inexorably towards the nearest building or enemy with their goal being to attack and destroy. From then on, a very interesting game of attacks and counter-attacks is launched, with the most sophisticated strategists emerging victorious.
And to avoid long matches where players just keep countering each other’s cards, they only last three minutes each, with the last minute seeing the rate of Mana generation being accelerated. If at the end of these three minutes, no player has managed to destroy the opponent’s castle, the one that destroyed the most towers wins. Likewise, if none of the players managed to destroy any of the enemy’s towers, or if they destroyed the same number of towers, the game keeps going past the three minutes until another tower or a tower is destroyed. As a result, there are clashes that are certainly very tactical, but also extremely important because of their brevity. Each game is intense, and will require action and quick thinking in order to counteract adversary tactics. This was undoubtedly what made the success of Clash Royale, and Brawl of Ages certainly intends to ride on that wave.
Brawl of Age is exactly what it seems like, a Clash Royale experience on PC. Granted, there are a few changes in the modes, and the cards are, to some extent, different from what Clash Royale offers, but everything that made the success of Supercell’s title is here. Whether or not the fans of the genre will want to move from their mobile devices to the PC platform is an entirely different matter.