Review: Hearthstone for Android

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Upon first witnessing Hearthstone, the general consensus among friends and fellow gamers was how ideal this title would look on mobile devices. Having played the digital card game on multiple platforms myself, PC was always the top choice. I’m not a mobile gamer. In fact, I think it’s rude to keep your phone out in public places or during mandatory social interaction. Hearthstone has entirely changed my stance on mobile gaming.

Goes to show that it would take our trusted messiah, Blizzard, to release an android title that so many PC gamers would actually enjoy. There’s something beautiful about a 1.8GB game for your phone. While this port may not be perfect, we expect improvements coming in the next year to solidify Hearthstone as a top mobile title to compete with Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans.

As of April 14, 2015, Android and iOS mobile device users have been downloading away, causing Hearthstone to quickly rise to 7th place in the Google Play store (April 22nd), just under Snapchat. While many sext-happy teens may be wondering as to what this strangely popular game is, fans have been pouring money into packs. Speaking of packs, you will receive one free pack of classic cards just for downloading and playing a single match from your phone.

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 Story

The tale of Hearthstone begins with Blizzard’s original embark into the realm of card games with the World of Warcraft TCG. While the physical format of this title didn’t exactly fly off shelves, it contained cards worth close to $800 such as the elusive Spectral Tiger Mount. This TCG was used as the main source of inspiration for the mechanics and card design for Hearthstone.

Aside from this, Hearthstone seems to be releasing content on a fairly random basis, not following any prior WoW canon lore.

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Gameplay

If you haven’t given Hearthstone a try yet and are a fan of card games, you must be living under a rock. Hearthstone is a turn based digital TCG that acts similarly to games such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering. I’m not comparing Hearthstone’s complexity to anywhere near Magic’s, but would state that it’s quite close to Yu-gi.

Players construct decks of 30 cards and do turn-based battle with resources called Mana Crystals. These allow you to use spells, hero abilities, or summon powerful minions and reduce your opponent’s 30 health to 0. Tons of different deck combinations are available as well as 9 heroes each with unique cards and abilities.

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While some older devices may have issues running this heavy title, my LG-G3 and the Samsung S6/S5 that I’ve tested it on have performed quite smoothly. There are some issues with having to switch between screens to pick up calls or answer text messages, but aside from that, running it with a few apps in the background won’t cause excessive frame lag.

Features

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You’ll have access to every part of Hearthstone with the mobile app. Deck building isn’t designed to be quite user friendly just yet, but does show promise with some necessary tweaks. B-net capabilities are somewhat limited as well, with chat being particularly difficult to use.

Arena drafts were a bit more straining as the decklist is really small. Not knowing what your curve is at all times can mean putting together a particularly turn-heavy deck.

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Hearthstone’s store is also a bit clunky, and opening packs will sometimes crash the client. Packs can be bought either with real money of gold earned through playing and completing daily challenges or winning big in the Arena. An average player trying to complete challenges with a successful arena run can easily earn up to 5 packs per day. (Btw, trying the app will get you a free classic pack). 

Final Reaction

Blizzard’s first venture into the mobile gaming space is perhaps the most successful transition of a PC gaming studio to date. Hearthstone is a brilliant digital TCG with a rich collection of memorable characters, banter, and population. Rarely have I ever gone up against the same person twice without adding them as friends. Decks are varied with the exception of ladder-climbing metas such as face or rush decks. While Hearthstone is tons of fun on the can, it can although drain your phone’s batteries quite quickly (about 40 minutes for the LG-G3). Overall, a title that won’t be leaving my front screen for years to come. Lastly, I trust in Blizzard and their commitment to improving the title with regularly released content.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the bathroom for the next 30 minutes or so… or until my phone dies.

4.5/5 Atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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About author

Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian
Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian 396 posts

Adam "kharakov" Kharat is part nerd, part geek, and full awesome. With deadly writing skills and the sleeping habits of a jackrabbit, late night gaming sessions are all but mandatory.