And so to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, an iPad game that’s enjoying massive user acclaim to the tune of an average 4.5/5 rating after 1,534 reviews. Incidentally, it’s worth checking out the black background on the app listing. Sexy.
Anyway, yes, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft; is it any good? Uhm… yeah. Yeah, it is. Card-themed rambling follows below.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a relatively new thing, having touched down for Windows and OSX in March, and the iPad earlier this month.
Being developed by gaming behemoth Blizzard, the chaps behind the insanely popular World of Warcraft (which I’ve never played, admittedly), Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is incredibly polished.
Essentially we’re dealing with a turn-based card game, each side having a Hero with 30 health points, alongside a deck of Minions. Ultimately, the game ends when one of the Heroes’ health points is reduced to 0.
Each Minion has a cost associated with it, and can be brought into play if you happen to have enough Mana.
Mana is rationed and grows with each turn, so you’ve got 1 Mana on the first turn, 2 on the second, 3 on the third… As such, each Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft game starts out modestly and gradually introduces the big guns.
Getting back to those Minions, each has an attack value and a health value. If you choose to attack a Minion with a Minion, you’ll always deal and take damage. Make sense?
Things get slightly more complicated in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft with the addition of Taunt cards, which must be attacked before anything else. They effectively shield the rest of your team.
Among other things, you’ve also got Minions with Battelcries, which means they do something when they’re initially played (deal X damage to the opposing Hero, for example), and Deathrattles, which do something when – you guessed it – the Minion dies.
Phew. Don’t worry if none of that makes sense, as it’s all very intuitive, and covered well in the tutorial section when you first fire up Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
Ok, so, the theory behind Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is incredibly solid. The game has a nice flow, with each battle lasting around 10-15 minutes, and it’s deceptively deep.
My main gripe is that Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is free, and by definition the developers want you to spend money. Let’s not kid ourselves here.
Looking at the in-app purchases, you can pay £1.99, £6.99, £13.99 or £34.99 for bundles of expert card packs. Alternatively you can grind, but, y’know, there are people out there effectively buying their way to victory.
On the plus side, the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft theme tune is infuriatingly catchy, and you can leap between devices using your Battle.net account. And again, there’s no doubt that we’re dealing with a top-tier app here.
- Solid card battling concept
- Incredibly polished app
- Cross-device play with Battle.net
- The whole freemium thing
- Internet connection required
- No iPhone or Android versions (yet)
Summary: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a thoroughly enjoyable card battling game, with a solid concept at its core, and a generous amount of polish. Be prepared to lose more than your fair share of online battles, but otherwise it’s a winner.
Price: free @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPad 2 or above.