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Free App Friday: Hearthstone

When I was younger I played with Pokemon cards. Yes it's true, I was part of the Pokemon generation and I had a pretty decent Electric and Physic deck that won me a few battles back in the day. Since then I haven't played many card games but when I heard that there was a World Of Warcraft themed card game called Hearthstone, I knew I had to check it out. Now it's out on the iPad and so it is this weeks Free App Friday.

As I stated, Hearthstone is an online, computerised card game based on the World of Warcraft universe. You select a character based on a race and class. First you have a mage and if you want to access a different hero, you must defeat them in combat.
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You draw cards and have increasing mana each turn (1st turn one, 2nd turn 2 etc up to 10 mana). To play a card you have to spend mana. Some are characters who can attack the opponent or opponents characters, other are spells or items that will have different effects. There are some extra elements which you can learn as you play via a helpful starting tutorial but the main aim is to cause the opponents hero to have 0 health points.

What I Like

As explained above, it is really easy to learn how to play the game and the tutorial really helps by starting with the basic dynamics and then adding in extra aspects as you progress. It also helps with playing online as it is a quick moving card game and there aren't long periods spent waiting for your opponent to decide what to do.

The game makes use of the iPads retina screen and graphics drivers to create a 3d board, basic graphics for the cards and heros but also includes animations and in game graphics to show the actions occuring. It's nothing too taxing for the processor but it helps create an enviornment of a board game more so than other online card games.

The game is free with in app purchases and follows a nice moddle of in app purchases. You can play the game without any need to do any in app purchases but if you wish to gain more cards for your deck then you have the opportunity to buy more packs of cards. Its a good modle that the most addicted players will make use of but also allows you to play the game without spending any moment. It doesn't stop you from playing after a certain amount of time like some games do.

What I Don't Like

Although the graphics create a really nice experience of both a traditional card game with elements of realism and graphics, it could go further. There are some great examples from playstation and other platforms where there are enhanced graphics and characters that appear on the screen as computer animated characters. Hearthstone could use generated characters like this who appear when a card is played and show how they attack.
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Another option that would no doubt generate more cash for Blizzard would be to sell physical cards and decks. Although I enjoy digital versions of items, it can still be great to have analouge items and a tie in where you purchase a physical deck and get the digital deck along side would be a great addition to the game.

Buy/ Don't Buy

If you love World of Warcraft and/or card games then I'm sure you'll love Hearthstone. It really uses the advantages of being a computerised version of the game while still keeping the idea of being a card game. Even if you don't like card games or world of warcraft, you may find yourself enjoying this game more than you expect. It's easy to pick up, fairly quick to play and very addictive.

Download hearthstone on iTunes today.

About Chris Wilson

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