Hi-Rez Studios is bringing a new spin on their popular Smite MOBA to mobile, with Smite Rivals. Described as a “collectable card arena,” you’ll be taking a deck of 8 units – one of which is a god from among Smite’s pantheon of gods from various cultures – into battle, trying to take down your opponent in three-minute battles. Each side has 3 towers and a base to take down, with an overtime period if the number of towers is tied at the end of regulation. If you’ve played Clash Royale [Free], then you’ll be immediately familiar with the basic mechanics of Smite Rivals, but Hi-Rez has applied a few of their own twists to the formula.
There are three major changes off the bat. One obvious one is that there are three lanes. These are a bit more rigid than Clash Royale, where you can place units and objects in the free space between the two lanes, though units would obviously migrate to either lane eventually. Here, the 3 lanes are fixed, but you have cards like Trojan Horses that drop in two spots between lanes that enemies are drawn to. Also, as opposed to where you can place a unit anywhere on your side of the map, in Smite Rivals, units have various rules for their placements. For example, some units can only be placed starting from your towers’ origin point, where other units can be placed anywhere between the origin and halfway. A few units actually can be launched straight at the enemy tower. The second big change is that each deck has a hero unit, based on the various heroes from Smite. These units often have their own special abilities that make them a cornerstone of your deck. Thor can be launched straight at a tower, so you could interrupt an enemy onslaught with some other units, and then launch Thor right behind them. The third thing is a special hero spell that costs mana, but can do things like provide faster mana regeneration and unit damage bonuses when you activate it, though it recharges over time.
Smite Rivals will interestingly not only be on iOS and Android, but also on PC. This is definitely a game that is primarily a mobile experience, but playing on PC has its advantages. I’ve certainly sat in front of my laptop while looking down on my phone playing Clash Royale instead – if I could have just played it on there easily I’d have just done that. Which seems like the appeal, people might get hooked on mobile but would continue on PC in a supplemental experience. Plus, there are intended to be various bonuses between Hi-Rez’s library of titles, such as new costumes being unlocked for various achievements in Smite or Paladins. It should be interesting to see just how many PC players get into Smite Rivals.
Time will tell how Smite Rivals fares in this sort of mobile MOBA-style genre. Hi-Rez has a lot more experience in the eSports/competitive gaming genre than Supercell did when they launched Clash Royale, but nobody’s quite made eSports work on mobile at all, if that’s what Hi-Rez even wants to try doing with the game. Smite Rivals is going into closed beta,