Vikings: War of Clans is an MMO strategy game developed by Plarium, available to be played on both iOS and Android. Mobile games often feel small in scope, and inevitably struggle to match the graphical capabilities of browser games. War of Clans defies traditions in this regard, with its charming visuals and its rich gameplay providing a gripping MMO experience.

War of Clans manages to straddle the line between providing something refreshingly familiar and providing something completely innovative. The familiar is found in the shape of traditional MMO strategy elements: town construction, resource collection and unit development are all present in War of Clans. However, these classic strategy elements feel fresh and exciting in the context of the Viking world, one where alliances are constantly shifting and where the graphics are beautiful.

Vikings’ distinctive appearance and lifestyle have given them an enduring allure, which is evident in movies and television. The How To Train Your Dragon movie trilogy provides a softer depiction of the Norse way of life, giving new generations an introduction to Viking apparel and technology (although real Vikings didn’t have dragons). A grittier example of Vikings in popular culture is, of course, the television show Vikings, a six-season drama inspired by true Norse stories. While there is no denying that Viking warriors were fearsome and powerful, not all Vikings were warriors.

Construction, farming and diplomacy were all key aspects of Viking society, so these are all represented in War of Clans. Players can construct their own mighty Viking settlement, choosing specific buildings to add specific Town bonuses. Creating and managing resources is a huge part of War of Clans. Choosing how to produce the five key resources (food, lumber, iron, stone, silver) is pivotal to the development of your Town. While Viking warriors may be naturally strong, they’ll be a lot stronger with a full stomach and shiny new armor.

You can click here for War of Clans strategy guides to help you through the more complex parts of the game, just so you can be prepared when you enter the Kingdom. Preparation is particularly important given the emphasis on diplomacy within the game. You can’t fight everyone (although you can certainly try), so forging alliances is integral to your Town’s survival. After all, this game is called War of Clans. That clan aspect is one of the most distinctive and memorable features of this strategy game.

When you first join War of Clans, you’ll be added to the most recently-launched Kingdom as a Jarl of your Town. That Kingdom is safeguarded from enemy attack for 30 days. After those 30 days, you can then look outwards and plot your moves against rival Clans. You can work with fellow Clan members to meet certain objectives, you can scout other Clans to see if you wish to shift your allegiance, or you can even start a Clan of your own. Each move comes with its own risks. Weighing up those risks is one of the most gratifying aspects of War of Clans.

With its distinctive graphics and its intuitive gameplay, War of Clans is a strong addition to the MMO genre. Few, if any games, give such a deep insight into the world of Vikings. If you have any aspirations to be head of a Clan that is looking to dominate a Viking kingdom, it’s a safe bet that War of Clans is your best possible way of realizing that dream.