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Hearthstone – Android

Hearthstone – Android

app icon hearthPlatform: Android

Developer: Blizzard

Publisher: Blizzard

Release Date (WW): December 14th, 2014

Genre: Collectible Card Game

Nerd Rating: 10 out of 10

As nerdy as it is, I’m a sucker for card games. I’ve played Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, and Magic: the Gathering; collecting cards, buying them, trading them, and asking friends for freebies. But what if I want to play for free? What if I want to play anywhere, at anytime? With games like M:tG, hardcore players might need dice, card sleeves, and a whole bundle of accessories just to get a game started.  Now, I can play an awesome card game anytime I want thanks to Hearthstone; Blizzard’s take on the collectible card game. And, boy, did they nail it!

Hearthstone was released several years ago for the Mac and PC platforms, then iOS, then finally on Android. I had heard about it for a while up until I decided to download it, and see what all the hype was about. I must say; I’m greatly impressed! While there isn’t much in the way of a story or campaign mode, the amazing gameplay more than makes up for it. Plus, with card games, there’s no need for a story. M:tG (which Hearthstone is nearly a mirror image of) doesn’t really have a story either, so why should this game? Anyways, on to what sets this game apart!

Here is a breakdown of each mechanic in gameplay.

Here is a breakdown of each mechanic in the game.

The game starts players off with one Hero from the Warcraft universe which acts as the character’s avatar. Magic players would call this a Planeswalker. Heroes each have unique cards, spells, and abilities that they can use that can either give them an advantage in battle or end up being their demise. For me, the Hero was Jana Proudmoore, the Mage.  Upon receiving the first Hero, players are then walked through a series of battles that serve as a tutorial, explaining various cards, spells, effects, and other basic stuff.

decks

Building a deck is pretty simple; just pick the cards you want, and the game handles the rest!

Once players complete the initial training, they are free to challenge others online or practice against AI opponents. Now, players are stuck with the Hero they start with unless they can defeat each of the other eight Heroes in practice mode. This adds an element of variety to play styles for everyone to find their niche. Want to battle in an all out offense? There’s a Hero for that. How about covering the battlefield with minions and intimidating the opponent? You can do that too! Players can choose the difficulty of the AI between Basic and Expert modes. Once you get the hang of battle and choose what Hero suits your play style, it’s time to battle real players.

Playing against other players is slightly different but not by much. There is casual play for fun or there’s Ranked play which affects a players position on the leaderboards. It’s hard to gauge exactly how difficult PvP is, as players are usually paired with someone with a similar skill level. It’s a good idea to find which Hero is your favorite and level them to level 10 before attempting online play. Reaching level 10 is a good milestone as it allows players to get a feel for the Hero and unlock all the cards specific to their deck. Otherwise one may enter a battle unprepared, causing a quick loss. Though I must say, the matchmaking for Hearthstone is spot on!

polyBattles are turn based, simple, and fun. At the beginning of the round a coin is flipped, and depending on the flip one player goes first and the other gets an extra card. Cards are played using a mana pool which increases at the beginning of each respective player’s turn. For example, on my first turn, I have 1/1 mana. When my opponent ends their turn, I start my second turn with 2/2 mana, etc. Cards can be minions, which are used to attack and defend, spells to buff the players monsters or weaken the opponents’, or grant other assorted bonuses. To unlock new cards, players can open “packs” which contain several new ones, or increase the number of cards in the players’ decks. To unlock packs, players can either purchase them from the in-game store, complete challenges, or gain them through promotions. Some cards are exclusive to certain Heroes such as the Mage, Warlock, or Paladin. Unlocking each Hero unlocks new cards to be used in each deck as well. So there’s no shortage of available cards.

One of my favorite things about card games like Magic is the art and collectible value of each card.

The designs on Hearthstone cards are unique. Each creature or spell the player draws from his or her deck has its own form of attack, art, and even sound effects; bringing them to life. For example, drawing and summoning a Murlock Raider is accompanied by the classic “WARBLBLELELELELE!” we all know and love. Other creatures growl or say things like “I will crush them!” or “I hope I can help..” Each card has its own personality, and I love it.

environmentThe environment also changes depending on who the player battles. So fighting a demonic character will result in the game board having lava, spikes, and grotesque critters around the borders of the playing field and so on. The best part: all of these things are interactive by simply tapping them. Eyeballs wince and blink, tentacles retract, and structures wiggle and crumble under the players fingertips. There’s even a playing field with a sarcophagus with runes on it. Touching the runes in a specific order actually causes the mummy inside to peak out, growl, and slam the lid shut again. Blizzard obviously had a focus on quality when producing Hearthstone and it shows in more ways than one.

I would honestly recommend this game to anyone to play. It’s simply perfect. Graphics, gameplay, content, you name it! Whether it’s someone who just needs a game to pass the time or someone who wants to play competitively, Hearthstone caters to everyone. Losing a battle can be frustrating but at the end of the day, you haven’t lost anything other than your pride.  Practice is not only available, but encouraged for players of all skill levels. While there is the option to purchase content through the game’s store, there are no ads! All of these factors and more combine to earn this game a solid and strong 10 out of 10 from me! So, if you fancy a good ol’ fashioned card battle head over to the App Store on your preferred mobile device and give this game a shot!

Written by Poseidon

Poseidon

NC, born and bred.

I recruit with a staffing agency by day and write video game reviews…also by day. I’ve owned many systems and games, most of which were destroyed, lost, stolen, or sold throughout my life. Currently, I’m accruing a nice PS4 game collection and looking to build a gaming PC before I go back to college.

Watch/follow me on Twitch: Cowboybeepbeepbop (schedule TBA)
Add me on PSN: MilesBirch

 
 

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