Ærena: Clash of Champions – Review
Follow Genre: Indie, Strategy
Developer: Cliffhanger Productions
Publisher: Cliffhanger Productions
Platform: PC, Android, iPhone, iPad

Ærena: Clash of Champions – Review

Site Score
Good: Free to play, interesting gameplay, tactical aspect, graphical style
Bad: Connection issues, not very variated sound wise
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Ærena: Clash of Champions is a new competitive game where players take it up against one another for the sake of eternal glory and pots of gold. No, I didn’t mean that literally so if you’re here to expand your wealth, I must disappoint you. Although, if you’re looking for some tactical chess like entertainment, make yourself comfortable.



Not a whole lot to say here. Basically, the previous captain of a flying ship has been wounded badly and from now on, it’s your job to take it up against other captains of ships and try to beat them. This “storyline” is just a way to give meaning to the game itself and to let you get familiar with the game mechanics. Other than that, there’s no story to be found as this game is designed to be played online.


Ærena is situated in a unique “Ætherpunk” styled universe and although the graphical level is average at best, the atmosphere is certainly right. The ships could’ve used some more care and the backgrounds look a bit hollow. This is in fierce contrast if you start looking at the characters which all have an unique look to them (which is quite representative for their abilities). If you take Crank for example: he’s a huge muscular guy with robot arms attached to his back. He’s method of attack is hand to hand combat and he possesses a decent amount of health, a perfect tank in other words.

The battle arenas look decent but as you’re supposed to play in something that resembles a stadium, some cheering crowd would’ve been a nice touch. Now all you see is a bland, static background picture and it just feels like it could’ve been much more vivid.



Ærena has some fitting soundtracks ready and they sound pretty alright but it did get monotonous after a while thus some more variation in background music would’ve been more than welcome.

As you go through matches, a commentator calls out you’re champions which adds to the “stadium-feel”. A couple more lines might make things a bit less superficial but overall, it’s cool to hear your champions’ name when you summon them on the field.


If you’re having trouble defeating opponents in the online multiplayer, then there’s always Metropol, where you’ll be fighting against bots. It’s perfect to try out the abilities of new crew members but it lacks in tension and excitement which one experiences when playing against real people. The fights do get harder and harder over time, but still, there’s nothing better than outsmarting a fellow gamer.


Now some more about how the game plays as a tactical multiplayer. The main goal in Ærena is a rather simple one: destroy the enemy’s ship. To do this, you’ll naturally have to bring the “health” of the opponent’s ship to zero, which is done by either attacking the flying boat itself or by killing champions from the opposing team. Each turn, you can call one of your crewmembers to arms (at the beginning of the game or when one of them is defeated) until three of your desired soldiers are on battlefield. From that point, Ærena feels a lot like a game of chess, where you’ll have to anticipate every possible move. What champions will be thrown on the field? What abilities can be used here? How many more hits until the ship falls? Those kind of questions are bound to keep your head busy and that’s the reason why anyone would care to play strategic games.

As already mentioned, every character is unique and this doesn’t only concern their looks. Aurora for example, can move more tiles in one turn than Crank. The Bug is a very good pawn for attacking at a distance but in close combat he won’t last long. While dealing damage and taking hits, you’ll earn points for both your champions and ship which you can use in devastating special attacks. The key here is to conserve your points for the perfect moment and strike hard!


Some issues tend to put an end to the fun. It happened regularly that I got disconnected in the middle of a match or my opponent suddenly decided to do something else which gave me an instant victory. Winning is great but not really like this as there’s no satisfaction whatsoever. The developers might think of some kind of penalty as used in Awesomenauts where you gain a lot less experience if you quit the game early.

Multiplayer games are all about taking it up against people from all over the world but it’s always good fun to play some matches against your buddies. As you’ll probably notice when trying to match up with a friend, there’s no invite option at this time. Fear not though, as the developers have plans to implement this option in the near future.



Although Ærena does its very best to become the new multiplayer hit, it comes short in a couple of basic aspects which would make it an even more enjoyable experience. The gameplay itself is quite innovative and entertaining, but the regular connection issues and players leaving the match early among other things just don’t help to take this game to the next level. If you’d like to try out Ærena for yourself, nothing is stopping you as the game is one of the free to play kind. If the above mentioned problems are handled, I’m sure to pay another visit to Ærena as it succeeded bringing my most strategic side to the surface.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Ærena: Clash of Champions - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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