As a fan of magic the gathering I was skeptical heading into Hearthstone. Yet, it managed to evade disappointment. It plays in a similar fashion to the classical magic card game but it is decisively more accessible. A great entry point for new starters within this genre and it manages to remain competitive and diverse enough to retain long-time card game players.
The selection of cards at your disposal is impressively vast. You have a variety of minions: beasts, pirates, dragons etc. and a plethora of magic cards but the cards aren’t the only weapons in your arsenal. You choose and level your characters individually, each offering a different power. The rogue adorns a weapon that can be used to attack foes whereas the Priest can heal himself or a minion for 2 life points. There are 9 characters and more to unlock thereafter. You design each deck separately and specifically to craft them for unique battles and play styles.
An intensely enjoyable free to play game that is available on PC, Mac, phones and tablets. There are a variety of game modes: Solo, online and the arena. Solo takes you through a series of battles that unlocks all of the 9 available characters. It is amusingly written and allows you to practice different tactics and card combinations. The Play section is online, play against random competitors and test your decks. Victories in this earn you gold, which can be used to purchase more card packs that will help transform your deck. Then there’s the arena section, this is a fun spin that gives you a random choice of cards to create a deck with, you then compete online against another competitor’s random deck to win big prizes. It’s essentially a tournament mode that allows you to easily see the potential of other cards that are on offer in Hearthstone.
As you’d imagine, much like all free-to-play games, Hearthstone follows that classic formula. It gives you the opportunity to grind and work for your coins to earn new packs and cards, but of course if you’re willing to drop some extra cash then you can bypass the work. You will also find there is a cost to enter the arena and you can get expansion adventures in solo play at a price as well. This is obviously expected in the free-to-play narrative, hell… we even have it in games we pay full price for now. But I find it easy to spend more than you ever initially intended to on a game.
However, you can earn unlocks and rewards in other Blizzard titles, such as steeds for World of Warcraft, which is a welcome touch.
All in all Hearthstone offers a slick and well designed experience. If you’re a fan of fantasy or tactical games this is worth a try. Even if you’ve never played competitive card games before, you’ll find yourself impressed with how fast you can pick this up.