An awful lot of developers want to emulate Clash Royale's phenomenal success, but most aren't content to simply churn out a like-for-like clone.
One way around that is to do something the kids of today might call a 'mash-up'. Wagers of War did it recently by stirring a little Hearthstone into the Clash Royale mix.
Mini Guns looks set to do something similar. I've been playing with a pre-release Android build to see how it's stacking up, and have detected an agreeably familiar flavour from the past.
Riposte's upcoming game retains the basic structure of Clash Royale, so it's a PvP game that has you dragging automated unit cards onto a compact battlefield in a bid to destroy your opponent's base. Again, you get a steadily growing number of action points to spend on these units.
There are a couple of twists to the CR formula here. Most notably, there are three lanes rather than the usual two. Essentially, you can take a clean run at the base, which gets a lane of its own.
Another slight twist is the perspective, which is horizontal rather than vertical. And yes, this means you play with your handset tilter on its side.
One final addition I feel is worth mentioning is a occasional appearance of action point package drops. Send out a grunt to pick one of these up, and you'll win yourself a vital edge on your opponent. Suffice to say these drops tend to create tense micro-battles within the field of play, which serves to keep the fights fresh and unpredictable.
Defend those towers
That extra element I mentioned in the intro relates to Fieldrunners. There's definitely something of Subatomic's classic franchise to the dinky red-vs-blue military units you summon into play here.
There are also static defensive units that can be tactically placed to defence a sweeping area, much like in a tower defence game.
You'll also find a familiar sense of physicality to the battlefield, with those aforementioned defensive units snarling up the lanes and causing bulkier tanks to stop and lumber around them.
This also brings aerial units into play, as they can fly over unimpeded - again, much like Fieldrunners.
At this early point, I'm finding this combination of elements to be a natural and appealing one. Mini Guns feels like a more tactical game than most other Clash Royale wannabes I've played.
My main reservations relate to the levelling system, and how it might unbalance the game's PvP core. It will take a lot more play with a final build over a prolonged period to ascertain whether this is a valid concern or not.
I'm also intrigued to see how the forthcoming Missions mode will play out. If it brings a worthwhile single player element to the game, we could have ourselves a genuine contender here.