The game starts off with a brief tutorial explaining how to cultivate resources, train warriors and complete missions. All of this multitasking leads to the end goal of gaining enough influence to be ranked the #1 player in the world (or #1 clan if you’ve started one of those but we’ll touch on that later), and that’s the game in a nutshell. You click around on your phone to fortify and grow your army to be better than anyone else. It’s simple, easy to understand and it keeps you playing as there’s always that urge to be just a little bit tougher. This isn’t exactly new to phone MMOs, but this simple concept is executed well in War of Clans because of its inherently simplicity.
With phone MMOs like this, oftentimes the player becomes overwhelmed by one of two things: either the tutorial takes far too long and in turn overcomplicates the mechanics of the game or the tutorial fails to explore most of the title’s basic processes in hopes to be concise and leaves the player in the dark to figure out nuances with next to no explanation. War of Clans manages to hit the sweet spot in between those two extremes with a tutorial that tells just enough so players can piece the rest of the puzzle together in their own way. And for newer players that might still struggle with some of the finer details, there’s a helpful tutorial on YouTube that fills in the blanks just a bit more firmly.
When the dust finally does settle and the tutorial comes to an end, the player has all of the resources to get going quickly. Because players are granted time boosts in their first day of play, learning the ropes is even easier as you get to see all the different ways the game works in a short amount of time. However, once the first day has passed the game does offer the same boosts, but for a payment. War of Clans does offer discounts here an there and new updates typically mean limited offers – the game’s website regularly reports on these updates – so it is still possible to manage your base without paying a single cent but just keep in mind that things will take a little longer. Diligent players will be rewarded though no matter how much money they put into the game because effort matters more in War of Clans than microtransactions – a trait you’ll see in many successful free-to-play titles.
Moving on to the clan system in the game, after all it does have “clans” right in the title: players can group on their respective servers and gain influence as a collective unit. This allows players to benefit from each other and adds a cooperative element to the game. For example, if you’re trying to advance in the game and raiding becomes too difficult at your level, you can join a clan to give you a little more power. Just keep in mind that if you join a clan, you’ll be painting a target on your head from rival clan members. So in that sense you have to be sure to weigh the pros and cons before you make the jump to clan life. However, if you’re the kind of player who likes to do things alone, there is a separate leaderboard for singular players. Again, the choice to play exactly as the player desires is always taken into account.
Although it might not be reinventing the wheel with all of the gameplay mechanics, Vikings: War of Clans always lets the player do exactly as they want and that an integral part of any gaming experience. The controls make sense right away, the object of the game is made clear but the way players get there will vary radically from person to person, making each player’s experience feel personalized. And at the end of the day the game is free.
While War of Clans isn’t a perfect game, it’s a great title to pass the time and connect with friends. What more can you ask for from a video game?