Take a gander at the top grossing games on iOS and one game that’s been there for an incredibly long time is Supercell’s Clash of Clans [Free]. Combining freemium elements with base building and combat, Supercell managed to create a compelling system to encourage players to come back (and spend some money). Now, the freemium powerhouse has returned with the worldwide launch of Boom Beach [Free], the spiritual successor to Clash. Offering a similar experience in a different setting with just enough tweaks to make it unique, Boom Beach isn’t going to offer a radically different experience, but that might not be a bad thing in terms of approachability.

If you’ve played Clash of Clans, then Boom Beach is going to look pretty familiar to you. Players start out with a simple island base with the goal being to explore the surrounding areas and free the surrounding island natives from villainous servitude. You’ll free them by building and upgrading ships, namely a gunship and landing boats, that you’ll use to deploy landing parties and take out opposing headquarters. Freeing islands rewards both immediate and long term resources. In addition, islands are constantly being taken back, affording players an opportunity to retake and earn additional supplies. Eventually, the retaken islands become player islands which, provide even more resources along with medals, which are the primary measure of success.

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Sounds simple, but you’d expect from Supercell there’s a bit of strategy involved. Landing boats can be outfitted with a wide variety of different units, each having pros and cons in terms of health, strength and weapons. Gunship weapons, as well as each of the landing units, can be upgraded as well as the ships themselves. Meanwhile, base buildings include the standard defensive mechanisms, as well as resource gatherers, structures that allow the aforementioned upgrades, and so on. Of course, all the building and upgrading is buttressed by a freemium timer system that applies to all facets of the game.

As someone that was a bit intimidated by Clash of Clans, I was surprised by how inviting the introductory phases of Boom Beach were. Currency is simplified at the onset with secondary currencies slowly introduced as you upgrade your headquarters. Premium currency, which plays the standard role of speeding up timers, doled out on a regular basis (although still a bit slow for my tastes). Even the game’s combat system is paced really well with a player’s zone of influence (and potential opponents) being small at the onset but gradually expands at whatever pace the player desires.

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Of course, as friendly and interesting Boom Beach is, it’s important to note that it’s still a freemium game at its heart. The building, recruiting, upgrading and resource systems are all premised on timers, with the only alternative to patience being to use premium currency to speed up the timers. Also, once you get into mid-game and additional currencies start appearing, Beach has a nasty habit of pushing you to instantly upgrade fundamental buildings for said new currency. Considering the fact that combat only occurs when you explore new regions (which take coins and radar upgrades) or when conquered islands are retaken (which take time), long session players will quickly find that Boom Beach plays best in smaller, more frequent sessions. I won’t get into a theoretically debate about freemium, but all I’ll say is this style of play fits perfectly for my lifestyle, which is why it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

Now, I’m a fan of the streamlined gameplay but it does come with some costs. As far as building bases is concerned, there’s some loss in customization. In fact, taking a glance at the top players it also seems like there’s some loss in terms of viable endgame strategies as everyone seems to have the same exact base layout. There’s also very little in social integration currently available, which I thought was a pretty big part of Clash. I’m sure such additions will get updated into Boom Beach eventually, but right now it’s a bit bare.

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Regardless, pacing, balance and approachability are important facets to a successful freemium game, and I think Boom Beach succeeds well in both in its other non-base defense aspects. Assuming you aren’t too obsessed with the end-game or social aspects (and you don’t have an irrational hatred for freemium games) Boom Beach continues the showing seen in Clash of Clans. Whether it has enough staying power as its spiritual predecessor will depend greatly on the inevitable tweaks to the core gameplay. Meanwhile, it’s worth a shot.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • hellscaretaker

    and now the argument of freemium and regular price games starts in 3...2...1...

    • nini

      It's a communal sport based around how much money you spend on a leisurely pastime, bitching for others not spending enough on the right kind, bitching about the wrong kind and being bitchy about ratings and those who don't agree.

  • Fangbone

    Zzzzzzzzz

  • rewind

    Very sad review, I feel like he didn't look into the advances in the genre and the different gameplay. This game deserves another star.

    • Gamer1st

      I'm enjoying it. I have nothing but time on my hands and jump in and out of short sessions frequently. I tend to get several different games of a similar type and rotate through them without paying or having the timers become too big of a pain.
      My only gripe is that the standard "cram everything close together" setup is a pain to deal with until you get to the fourth group of fighter class.

      • MrAlbum

        If you aim at the corners of buildings clustered together, you could, in theory, take them all out with well-aimed opening shots. Remember: aim for where the buildings touch each other. Just a tip ^_^ Makes assaults against those kind of players easier.

      • rewind

        Yes, what the guy above me said. You can take out 4 buildings with one artillery shell if the building's corners are touching.

    • nini

      How dare you like this???! It's contributing to the downfall of ALL GAEMING!!!

      It's a solid game but we've got vocal people who'd argue it's worth less than one because anti-IAP talking point #74.

      • the_rebel14

        *GAMING

        Sorry. Just had to point that out.

      • sbnewsom

        He purposeful spelled it wrong. Welcome to the internet.

      • the_rebel14

        Trust me, I got him.

  • http://www.nafna.com/ nadav bar kama

    no. no. you got it wrong. its not freemium, its not F2P. its PAY TO WIN.
    i have downloaded the game the moment it became available ... and have been almost constantly "in it" doing more or less whats supposed to be done ...
    its not the 57 medals that just give me position 1621 on the Spanish lead boards ... its a fast look at the top 300 positions! no way jose! these people, bought the way to the top.
    that is totally cool, but you got to name it as it is: PAY TO WIN.
    and yeah, its a totally ok game ... these supercell guys know their stuff.

    • shcgzb

      You are too focused on ranking than enjoying the gameplay. Even single player, you can be ranked

  • ImJPaul

    This game has consumed my life. In a good way, of course. Pay model isn't offensive and as long as you have a little patience this one will be good to you. Money drops at a good rate and it's a lot of fun building up your defenses and offense while rationing out all your resources. I never have more then 15 minute blocks to play iPhone games anyways so the timers don't bother me.

  • sakara214ever

    It is a good game. But i got bored too soon and deleted.

    • Leeabe51

      I would argue that, if it was a good game, you wouldn't have gotten bored with it "too soon". I tend to play good games and keep them to come back to later when they are good.

  • falco

    There are very little free to play games that worth playing like Hearthstone.

  • rbates

    I enjoyed this game for about a week. Then I caught myself waiting 10 minutes for my army to respawn, afraid to close the app because I did not want to get raided by players twice my level in the meantime. That is when it stopped being fun and I deleted it.

    • Dammster

      In this game, after a certain period of time, you can be logged out to be attacted even if you are online. :)

    • Vexka

      Haha, very similar thing to what happened to me... :/

  • peaThere

    I don't know about you guys but I like this game it's not that complicated like most and it's a lot more casual with pvp. What I found is that no matter how strong you have your beach set up there will always be someone higher level than you to take it down. There should be in option to battle your friends if they except the invite while they are online just an idea.

  • JJE McManus

    It was mildly amusing for about a week then entered a permanent state of crashed on my iPad 2. Not all that invested in getting it fixed, I've moved on to other games in my library.

  • trazer

    All I do is wait insanely long times for upgrades now. I never get raided successfully, I came home to 22 raids toady and not a single one was successful. Awesome, but I'm playing defensively. Headquarters is level 7, and I'm trying to max out all buildings, and ships before upgrading radar again. Radar is only level 3. Going to take two weeks to max out my buildings at the rate I'm going now, and I'm building non stop.

    Maxed gold, always empty of stone and lumber... Annoying.

  • TeddyNYC

    Anyone notice something familiar about the soundtrack? Something that you heard before if you watched a popular TV show which also involved an island.

  • philadendron

    This review isn't up to the normally high TouchArcade standards. I winced too many times from typos.

  • tekn0wledg

    I tried playing this game after being a clasher for 1.5 years and I just couldn't do it. It seems cheap and childish in comparison. Am I missing something? I'd love a reason to like this game

  • http://www.tohodo.com/ Tom

    I stopped playing this after several weeks, but have been playing CoC for almost a year now. I can't put my finger on exactly why it became boring for me...maybe it's the lack of walls and the fact that you only get one builder, which makes upgrading a chore.

Boom Beach Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3.5