Rumble Stars came out of absolutely nowhere, yet it’s already one of our favourite mobile games of the year.
It takes the arena battling formula laid down by Clash Royale and trades the battling for a zany, almost Rocket League-feeling football.
Much like with Clash Royale, you battle your way through a variety of leagues, collecting cards along the way.
You’ll then create a deck of eight cards to bring into battle with you. Again, like its inspiration, these cards represent units, spells, and various other abilities.
There’s a real cutesy visual style here though, with most of the cards taking the form of adorable animal heads.
Rumble Stars has a really cutesy art style that you can’t help but fall in love with
That makes the experience friendly for all ages, and adds a layer of accessibility. It’s almost immediately clear what each animal does without even reading the description.
We know bulls are going to charge down any nearby opponents. That crocodiles will ensnare their striker in their huge, powerful jaws. That frogs will use their extendable tongue to grab the ball from range.
Where it’s not obvious, the characters usually have self-explanatory names. Striker Tiger will probably get you a lot of goals, while Loyal Dog will ruthlessly hunt down the ball, passing it to team mates.
Creating combos out of these characters also provides an insane amount of fun. A popular early choice is firing a Lazy Panda at the opponent’s goal and getting Loyal Dog to hunt down the ball and pass it for an easy tap in.
There are loads of fiendishly awesome combinations to create. Magnetman will pull the goalkeeper aside, allowing Sniper Wolf to take an easy shot from range while Froggy can make a solid goalkeeper in the instances yours is temporarily beaten.
Creating strategic combos out of the various different units is intense, frantic fun
Despite these complex tactical options being regularly available, the actual gameplay generally remains quite hectic. Unlike Clash Royale, which is all about strategy and feeling out your opponent, this is more balls to the wall fun.
While the more strategic-minded will win a lot more games than those that randomly fire out units without thought or care, there’s something a lot more casual friendly about this experience.
We didn’t encounter any progression walls or opponents that absolutely thrashed us. You always feel like you can compete and claw back a goal with determination alone.
Given that the business model is very close to Clash Royale, pay to win could become a bit of an issue. You can pay to get a bunch of new cards quickly and to level up your current cards.
We haven’t experienced any of these problems so far, but during the later game it might start to become an issue.
We absolutely love Rumble Stars and wholeheartedly recommend it
But as things currently stand, we’re absolutely loving Rumble Stars. It offers insanely frantic fun, feels more friendly for casuals, and has a cutesy art style that we can’t help but adore.
If you love Clash Royale but are put off by its inaccessibility, give Rumble Stars a go. It offers a lot of the same fun but is more friendly to casuals.