Battle royale may be the genre of the moment on PC and console, but on mobile it’s the auto-battler. This accessible, fast-paced take on the strategy game is made for the small screen.

Arena Allstars is the latest to hit the app stores, and it looks like a brilliant addition to the genre. Developed by Match Set Games, it sees you going head to head (to head to head…) with seven other players in a series of brief battles. Last player standing wins. 

In case you’re not familiar with auto-battlers, the idea is that your involvement is limited to the planning stages. You need to select your team, buy new heroes, decide on your line-up, merge heroes to level them up, sell unwanted heroes, exploit Synergy effects, and more.

The kicker is that you’ve got to do all this within a punishingly short time. There’s a clock ticking, and when it gets to zero the battle starts, ready or not. Arena Allstars involves passages of frantic activity interspersed with anxious watching.

There are three modes. Solo Free-for-All is the main event – this is the one that sees you going up against seven strangers in a turn-based contest. Then there’s Team Co-Op, where you get together with a friend to bring double the pain. Or something.

Finally there’s Practice, where you can work on your strategies and try to get a handle on the fast-moving gameplay. 

One-thumb warfare

Arena Allstars is the perfect mobile game. It’s cute, colorful, intuitive, and above all quick to play, so you can bash out a session while waiting for your tea to brew. 

It’s not all about throwaway sessions, however. Every month you can enter a grand tournament, vying with countless other players to win loot and kudos, hoovering up gold and trophies as you go.

The heroes are the stars of Arena Allstars. The clue is in the name. And Match Set Games has created a diverse selection of imaginative, beautifully rendered fantasy monsters (and one ordinary nerd) for you to take into battle, all with their own abilities, classes, and races, ensuring almost limitless variety. 

Plus, pets. You get your very own adorable animals to look after. In return they run around on the battlefield, emoting at appropriate moments. 

You can grab Arena Allstars for free right now on Google Play and the App Store