I was probably 10 years old when a friend of my Mum came to visit from America and brought a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, which I stared at in amazement because the show had only began airing here a few months earlier. Since that moment, I have been a huge fan of card games. Several of us from the KJBcast podcast have actually played some nostalgic card games on a few occasions. It's nice to reminisce and replay the classics. That feeling I would get when I look at my deck and question if it is good enough to win my next match is exactly the feeling I get when I play the free-to-play hit, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
As I get my first pack to open in game I get reminded of that feeling of opening my booster packs that I would spend my pocket money on as a kid. I can almost smell it. This game has taken me on an intense nostalgia trip. I never really played MTG, so I missed that trend. Probably for the best as I likely wouldn't be able to afford this website if I was still collecting cards.
I got a random hero to play with, and then I could battle other computer heroes to gradually unlock them all. You play 7 games against the computer to learn the basics, and then you can freely play against other players or the other heroes you want to unlock. I beat the first 7 games, how hard could it be? I picked the hero I wanted (The Orc, go figure?) and I challenged him. Immediately got PWNED. Gradually as I got crushed again and again I levelled up and got cards. This is where it got interesting.
With each card I got, my skills got better, too. I knew what I was doing and I was able to form strategies. Then it happened; I won. I went up against the next hero and won again. Then I went up against a real person and got crushed, but that's fine. I'll just go back to beating the computer to build back up the ego that got knocked down by some random gamer.
Basically it works that you have health on your hero. Usually 30 points. Your opponent has that, too. Each deck will be different, but each hero has their own unique cards that they can use, along with cards that all the heroes can avail of. Along with that, each hero has their own special ability that they can use for mana points.
Mana points are cleverly done. Every turn you obtain a new point, up to 10. You can only use whatever amount of points you have each turn, so you need to be smart about how you play. If you have only 2 points, you won't be playing a lvl 6 card. You hero's special ability is also run with mana, so if you want to use that along with playing a card, you want to plan ahead. Each power is different. Some damage you, some damage your opponent, some protect you and so on.
Like in each card game, there is monster, spell and traps. The monsters are your main cards that you use to attack, the spells are used to draw cards or cause damage, and the traps are triggered upon specific actions, like your opponent attacking or playing a spell.
You can pay your way to get ahead, or just play your way to get ahead. You can earn money for packs and you can earn cards by simply playing, but you can also spend real currency on those things, too. It is completely optional, which is to be expected from free to play.
Overall, the experience is incredible. It's a fantastic game with great characters, music and an addictive rewards system.
Blizzard, I want my life back.
Overall Score: 10/10
You can pick up Hearthstone for Mac/PC here or for iOS below