The long-awaited real-time strategy game series is back, and in a format, you probably weren’t expecting – a free-to-play mobile game, available on both iOS and Android. While fans of the classic RTS franchise didn’t get the brand new, PC C&C game sequel they’ve been demanding, all you players out there can be guaranteed a somewhat surprisingly fun and tactical mobile game. Command & Conquer Rivals, isn’t a traditional RTS and draws heavy inspiration from the Clash Royale and Star Wars: Force Arena gameplay format. The series multi-decade spanning PC game franchise’s journey to the controversial world of F2P games feels tragic at first, losing the sentiment it had built with its earlier fans. Vague references to the older games and bringing back characters fail in appealing to the nostalgia of the originals. But treated as a stand-alone, it is at par with its loot-box ridden, grind to win, strategy game counterparts. And very very addictive.
Command & Conquer Rivals Mobile gameplay
The main gameplay in C & C Rivals mobilein a 1 vs 1 PvP battle, where both players objective is to destroy the opponent’s base. Both players bring in a pre-selected team of units – each with their own strengths and weaknesses, which can be spawned against the opposition army. Each map is built out of a connecting hexagonal grid and most units can attack only the hexes adjacent to their own. In addition to this, it stands true by RTS heritage, using the fog of war to add more confusion and strategy to the mix.
The first few hours of gameplay were somewhat easy and the visuals too chaotic, but as I delved deeper into the game, collecting mech soldiers and troops, I found myself engrossed in the tactical decision making involved in winning these short matches of Command & Conquer Rivals Mobile. The secret to victory is understanding when to attack and when to let go, sit back and build resources.
Players harvest and spendTiberium Crystals to create and spawn units and build facilities. Tiberium reserves slowly replenish over time but can be obtained quicker using Harvester units. The harvester units can be deployed to move around the field automatically, searching out for veins of Tiberium crystals. Harvester units can be used to auto-detect veins of Tiberium Crystals and increase the speed of Tiberium Harvesting, adds an edge to your match, by speeding up the production of your units.
I enjoy playing a lot of mobile games but was quite sceptical about it hearing the E3 Announcement about Command & Conquer Rivals in 2018. If EA’s track record is anything to go by, the last game they ‘revived’ a game on mobile Dungeon Keeper was filled with annoying microtransactions and really drawn out wait times. Thankfully, Command & Conquer Rivals M
Command & Conquer Rivals Mobile microtransactions
The game does away with the traditional energy mechanics and wait timers, characteristic to mobile Strategy Titles and doesn’t hinder one’s progress demanding In-app transactions or Diamonds to continue playing. Instead of limiting how often you can play, C&C limits how many rewards you can earn by limiting the number of Chests you can open. Each win rewards you “gas cans” that can be used to claim chests, which can be opened after a few hours wait. The gas cans are limited wins, and eventually you have to wait to unlock your owned chests before you can actually earning more. But unlike in Clash Royale and other titles following a similar mechanic, you are never locked out from winning chests and rewards as Rivals rewards you with chests for finishing challenges and leveling up as well.
Of course you’re able to speed up the unlocking process using diamonds, which you can buy spending real money, the cheapest pack offering 200 diamonds for $2. Well designed titles similar to Rivals, uses good matchmaking algorithms to keep the high level players and whale’s separate from new players and non-paying players. The game has microtransactions built around the core progression system, involving leveling up your forces. Loot boxes or chests reward cards of each unit type, which are required to level up your unit types. While paying to play would definitely give the player an advantage by speeding up progress, the game can easily tilt over to pay-to-win, twisting a non-paying players odds against a paying one quite unfairly.
Keeping aside the microtransactions, the game has good things to offer. Even though the maps are tiny and you are limited to dispatching only six units on the battle arena at a time, Command & Conquer Rivals Mobile successfully takes the basic building blocks that make the RTS genre tick and scale them down to your smartphones. These fundamentals are implemented strongly and are essentially what keeps me hooked, coming back for more.
The game allows room to experiment with different styles, strategies and rhythms of game-play, making every match different with different play strategies.
In conclusion, Rivals may not be the game C&C fans were expecting, but it’s still a really enjoyable experience. The matches are short and swift, the gameplay is largely tactically driven, and there are no mechanics limiting how much I can play. For those looking for a quick round of tactical warfare while waiting in a queue, taking the local bus or merely some time to kill, Command & Conquer Rivals mobile is worth giving a go, but for fans looking for an RTS experience reminiscent to the original C&C games, you can give this one a miss.