If you’re longing for a true blue MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game on mobile, chances are you’re still looking. The only notable player here is Vainglory, but you’ll probably tire of the 3v3 format pretty quick. Also, Vainglory’s high graphics requirements will make it unplayable for a slew of lower midrange devices.

Enter Arena of Valor, the real MOBA offering from Tencent. Apologies to all of you Mobile Legends players, but we all know how that game ripped off Riot Game’s League of Legends (Riot is a subsidiary of Tencent, so there is some delicious tension right there). Tencent had finally had enough of this Mobile Legends hullabaloo and finally put out a MOBA game of their own.

Not surprisingly, the game bears a lot of resemblance to League of Legends – so much that you could say this is the real League of Legends for mobile. The format is the familiar 5v5 match, rushing down three lanes, toppling down towers until you get to the opposing team’s base and destroy everything in sight. The controls are familiar – a D-pad on the left and skill buttons on the right. The animations are great – if your phone can hack it – and it’s easy to sink into the game in its very familiar aesthetic.

Hero selection

Because Arena of Valor (AOV) arrived late in North America, players in this market have one advantage over, say, Europe or Asia where it arrived earlier – that is, the amount of heroes available to play is just crazy. There are 38 heroes available in AOV at this time, and that’s a veritable army compared to the usual 10 to 12 heroes you can play with on usual mobile MOBAs.

The partnership with DC brings popular characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Joker (among others) to the hero selection, and it only adds to the premium feel of the game. Of course, playing the Dark Knight will feel a tad bit out of place when you’re playing with other heroes that are not of DC canon, but hey, you can’t have everything.

Buying heroes are also on the expensive side. Expect to splash the cash – around USD$5.00 to USD$10.00 – if you want to buy the other heroes. Otherwise, you will need to grind for long periods of time if you want to “earn” enough in-game currency to buy those.

Casual gameplay

Most first time players will appreciate how AOV introduces the basic concepts of the game – this is from the start where the extreme basics of the game are introduced, until it gradually progresses to new subsystems and features of the game. The process is so natural that there never really is a time when you’ll feel overwhelmed with the features and modes in the game.

If you play MOBAs for fun like we do, AOV can be pretty fun. Not everybody needs to be a professional eSports to enjoy AOV. The gameplay is pretty simple – there will be no frantic tapping here like on PC. The D-pad on the left controls directions of your character, and your skills and abilities show up on virtual buttons on the right side of the screen. The buttons also show that particular skill’s level and cooldown, if you just triggered them. For skills that need to be aimed, you just drag the ability button in the direction you want to fire your skill shot. Pretty simple, and you learn to do that pretty quickly as well.

Play League of Legends on mobile, practically

If you’re even slightly familiar with the gameplay of League of Legends, then the heroes of AOV will be heck familiar to you. Arthur in AOV is basically Garen on League of Legends. Some of the scripts and lines are even familiar, but shuffled around to other characters. There’s a Baron and Dragon equivalent that you can take on (with enough levels on your character, of course) for additional buffs.

And if you’re looking to show off your 5-kill move, there’s a cool feature where you can now save game highlights, something obviously lacking in other mobile MOBAs. This feature will extract all your great moves from in-game, if you’re the type to analyze what you did right or wrong in your game. This will also work great for doing reviews and tutorials and stuff.

Conclusion

If you sink your teeth deep into Arena of Valor, you’ll find yourself looking to play “just one more match” – taking more and more time to play. It’s that enjoyable. Tencent is saying they got over 80 million daily active players, so you’ll have no lack of players in the game. And it’s easy enough to add your friends to get a team of 5 all huddled together in your living room playing AOV on your phones.

If it’s good enough for over 80 million people every day, you would have to say, there’s something special in Arena of Valor. I bet that if you would check the game out, you’d probably be playing with all the spare time that you have (and even sneaking in a game or two in between tasks). For this specific MOBA gamer, Arena of Valor is probably the best MOBA game in the Play Store today – at least until Vainglory releases its 5v5 map. Then we will have to revisit that opinion again. But until then, AOV is the best MOBA you’ll get.

DOWNLOAD: Google Play Store