Review – Realm Royale
With my weapons of choice, the giant hammer and equally oversized crossbow, I ambushed my opponent in the middle of the small town that had been selected as the finish point by the random number generator. From 100 combatants at the outset of the match, it was down to two – and I had designs on being the last alive.
Hammering through his life bar, I chased his chicken form around a house trying futilely to land a killing blow with my hammer throws before changing to the crossbow and putting a bolt in his feathery back for the win.
The game is Realm Royale, and it’s the latest entry in the increasingly-crowded battle royale genre – a genre that’s still young but is already well-defined enough that this feels like a shakeup for the formula. Yes, there’s 100 combatants dropping onto a map and – sure enough – you’ll need to source your weaponry from what’s available in the environment before the circle of unexplained death starts closing in, inexorably forcing players closer together to encourage conflict, but there’s also a lot here that’s new and interesting.
First off, instead of creating your own character you’ll choose one of the hero classes: Assassin, Hunter, Mage, or Warrior. Each has their unique perks and skills, including specializing in different weapons. Mages, for example, do more damage with the Staff’s fiery bolts while Hunters get bonus damage when using a Bow. Each class also has unique special attacks and movement traits. Hunters can dodge roll, while Mages can fly – for a limited time.
Another divergent mechanic is the crafting system, which takes shards – gathered by defeating enemies or ‘sharding’ equipment or skills you don’t want to use – and lets you craft armor, weapons, potions, and skills. The catch here is that you must use a forge to do it, and there are only a handful in the game at the start with the full map available. Once the fog starts to roll in, there are less and less opportunities to forge new equipment without getting jumped.
Realm Royale draws heavily from Paladins, a previous game from developers Hi-Rez Studios, and that includes the art style, which is best-described as a mix of Fortnite and World of Warcraft. The chunky, cartoony style works well to make this less of a bloodthirsty bout of combat and more of a lighthearted ‘fun’ bout of combat…including the way your opponent turns into a giant chicken when downed and you need to chase them down to put an end to them before they switch back and re-enter the fray.