Spellbinders sort of fits into the same genre as Clash Royale. It's a simplified MOBA, designed from the ground up for mobile play, but it lacks the spark that makes Supercell's title so addictive.
It's a little sparsely populated as well, and while it has some good ideas, you feel less in control. You're not building a deck, but using the cards the game gives you, with a couple of additions, in order to try and beat a foe.
All in all, it feels like a valiant, well polished try, but one that doesn't quite tick all of the boxes that it needs to.
So lanes and units?
That's the idea, yeah. There are three lanes running across the middle of the screen. You've got a base on the left, your opponent has a base on the right. The aim of the game is to smash the other player's base into pieces.
In the centre of the screen are three cannons. When one of your units reaches a cannon it tries to capture it. Once it's under your control it'll take damage from your foe's base.
Capture all three at the same time and you'll unleash a shot that does massive damage, but relinquish control of the guns.
The various units you control have their own special skills. Some are quick and designed to nab cannons before they're countered, others are bulky behemoths that stomp down the lanes and deliver massive damage if they get to a base before they die.
You've also got spells to use. These change the battle in a variety of different ways. One steals control of a cannon, one shifts an enemy to a different lane. There are offensive and defensive options, and learning what each one does is key.
Units and spells cost mana to use. You also get a special Titan-move that can do huge amounts of damage. But this is controlled by a token, and you don't get very many of them without paying for them.
You can also spend gold at the start of a fight to add a powerful unit to your hand. These are more reasonably priced, and you've got a choice of three depending on how you like to play.
There are also other Titans to unlock, but they're pretty expensive. They add their own distinctive moves into play, but you'll need to grind or pay if you want to try them out.
Hmmm, some problems then
There are. The whole thing feels far less focused than Clash Royale, and, at the same time, less personal. You're not tweaking a small deck of cards, you're bashing out what you're given and trying to make the best of it.
Plus there's really not that many people playing at the moment. And that's a shame, because a solid community would definitely make the game more interesting.
As it stands it's a bit of a valiant failure. It looks good, it plays reasonably well, but the combination of ideas just doesn't coalesce into something you're going to come back to time and time again.