I am someone who wrote Hearthstone off a while ago. It was hard not to try and stick with it. The game has incredible production values and a core of really great talent working on the game continuously to keep it feeling fresh and fun (full disclosure: I have a friend who actively works on Hearthstone). I can appreciate all of that from a distance, but when it came to actually playing the game, I would always bounce off of it.
It took me a while to realize, but the thing that always stuck in my craw about Hearthstone is how disingenuous it often feels. No matter how approachable it looks or fair toward free players it seems, the game is a hardcore collectible card game (CCG). The more that time went on, the easier it was for me to recognize this. From the separation of cards into the two buckets of Standard and Wild formats to single-player expansions like Rastakhan’s Rumble, the game was preoccupied with keeping multiplayer extremely competitive and single-player content extremely challenging. None of these updates spoke to me, a player that felt like occasionally dipping a toe into the game once every couple weeks.
To be fair, Blizzard has very few reasons to prioritize folks like me over their huge pool of dedicated players. I totally get that. But with each passing day, Hearthstone had started feeling less and less relevant to anyone who wasn’t already all the way bought in. That is, until now.
Hearthstone gets a new expansion, Journey to Un'Goro, in a little over a week, and they'll be welcoming the Year of the Mammoth, the next season, at the same time. There's a lot to be excited about, so Blizzard is celebrating in kind. Players will be treated to a host of daily rewards in the days leading up to Journey to Un'Goro'release. Here's what you can expect.
You all still play Hearthstone, right? Of course you do. We all do. And Blizzard has been updating it with more and more content so it's why wouldn't we? They're certainly not helping things by releasing yet another expansion, either.
The wait is finally over - thanks to a recent universal update, you can now play Hearthstone on your iPhone and iPod Touch, along with your iPad. Now you've got an option for just about every platform you could want, really.
You should probably go ahead and get to updating Hearthstone on your iPad, then install it on your iPhone/iPod Touch. Then you can keep the duels going no matter where you are.
The end of 2014 is almost here, which can only mean one thing.
Okay it can mean a lot of things, but in this specific context it means Game of the Year lists!
Which is why the 148Apps staff have all picked their favorites from the past year. And why we've put them all into one handy list for you all to enjoy. It's a nice list, too. Lots of variety and even a few free downloads that are worth checking out. So give it a look, and if you agree (or even if you disagree) please chime in below!
Puzzle to the Center of the Earth feels like a breath of fresh air compared to most everything else I played this year. It's a fair free-to-play puzzle game that encourages and rewards patience in all of the best ways and none of the bad. It's also a platformer that requires forethought and strategy rather than reflexes.
Unlike other mobile games like it, Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is not pushing players to make huge combos or speed-run through levels. Instead they can take their time planning out the best courses through a cave, much like an actual spelunker might (albeit with the power to carve out paths by magically matching blocks). It's a super well made game that isn't scared to have players get lost in its levels for a good while, which makes it unique as a puzzle game. For a mobile title, it strikes a fantastic balance of being engrossing, replayable, rewarding, and light enough for playing on the go, all of which lend to it being my favorite mobile game of 2014. - [Campbell Bird]
When I heard that an original Hitman game would be coming to iOS, like plenty of other people I couldn't wait to cheese wire a guy to death while disguised as a security guard before popping another target in the face with my silenced pistol, all while waiting for a bus. When Hitman GO was released, many were initially disappointed to find that wasn't the case. However, after playing what is a deceptively simple and infectious game of strategy for a short time, many (including myself) were hooked.
Hitman GO looks like the board game you wish your family would play at Christmas (put away the Cluedo box, grandma) with its sheen and minimalistic graphics that just ooze class akin to the suit Agent 47 is known for. Combine that with accessible gameplay that calls for multiple play-throughs thanks to the variety of challenges available, forcing players to tackle levels in different ways, and you have a winner in Hitman GO. It's a game that should be on everyone's hit list - [Lee Hamelet]
Hearthstone is, well, kind of popular. So it's a bit of a surprise that it took as long as it did for the first expansion to roll out. Still, Goblins vs Gnomes is a welcome sight all the same.
The expansion centers around the titular groups of diminutive tinkerers, and it adds (what else?) a fair number of new cards - including the brand new "Mech" minion type, which can apparently be quite powerful when you use several of them together. These new cards are available to draft in the Arena, or you can buy them in packs from the shop. A new appropriately-themed board is also available, and Spectator Mode is finally up and running for those times when you'd rather study other players' techniques instead of watching your Murlocks get squashed (for a change).
The Goblins vs Gnomes expansion is live now, and you can download Hearthstone for free whenever you feel like checking it out. And we both know you feel like checking it out.
For the first time since its release (which has thankfully been a much shorter window for iPad players than their PC counterparts), Blizzard’s wildly successful Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft CCG is sporting some brand new content: the single player “adventure” mode, Curse of Naxxramas. Based on the World of Warcraft raid dungeon of the same name, Naxxramas is divided up into various themed quarters: the Arachnid, Plague, Military, and Construct Quarters, and ending with the Frostwyrm Lair. Naxxramas’ Arachnid Quarter opened up this week and I brushed back the cobwebs to peek inside.
The three challenges of the Arachnid Quarter come in the forms of the Spider Lord Anub’Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina, and the giant spider Maexxna - sure to give anyone with arachnophobia a severe case of the creepy-crawlies. Each boss has their own special 2 mana “class” power, from summoning minions (Anub’Rekhan), to sending random minions back to a player’s hand (Maexxna), to firing randomly assigned magic damage based on how many cards the player is holding (Faerlina). There are also Heroic versions of the same fights, where the dungeon bosses start off with a massive 45 life to the player’s paltry 30 - while also sporting enhanced versions of their powers. Summoning a 4/4 minion for 2 mana? Yeah, that seems incredibly well-balanced. Good luck!
There are also two Class Challenges, where players are pitted against Naxxramas’ bosses with pre-built class-specific decks. Rogue and Druid are the two classes on offer this time, with the Rogue facing Faerlina while the Druid takes on Maexxna. Other Class Challenges will unlock as the weeks roll on, of course. It would be nice to see these with their own Heroic variants too, but in some cases that could get dangerously close to overkill.
All of the battles in this wing of Naxxramas feel fresh and interesting. The new graphics for the playing area feature fun little interactive elements and there's a ton of new voiceover work, including new lines for plenty of existing Hearthstone cards. In particular, the running commentary between matches from Naxxramas’ resident Lich Lord, Kel’Thuzad, is funny - almost at odds with the presumed tone of the new area. Then again, Hearthstone has never been afraid to be light and goofy. A lot of the new cards on display bank heavily on Battlecry and Deathrattle effects (SO many Deathrattles!). Also, with a number of new Beast subtype cards, Beast-themed Hunter decks have just received a huge boost.
The other wings of Curse of Naxxramas begin opening, one by one, starting next week with the Plague Quarter. Each wing costs $6.99 (with bundles available at a discounted price) or 700 in-game gold - but, sadly, no bundles), so you’d better start farming those daily Quests for gold now. However, keep in mind Quests only advance via Play or Arena mode - time spent in the depths of Naxxramas doesn’t count toward their completion. So what are you waiting for, adventurer? Get back out there and sling some cards!
For a while we just had to sit back while PC gamers got to enjoy it. Then they teased us with a soft launch. Now the wait is finally over - Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is available on the US App Store!
This is normally where I'd speak a bit about how neat it looks and how popular it is, but it's freaking Hearthstone. You deserve a medal for sticking around this long rather than going straight to the App Store to download it. But don't worry, I won't keep you.
You can grab Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft for the iPad now, for free.
Despite the fact that Hearthstone seems tailor-made for tablets, there were some challenges in bringing it to the iPad. Namely getting Battle.net to function and needing to tweak the interface a bit. But make it to tablets it did, and it’s coming to the US App Store “Soon™.”
In about a week US iPad players will be able to get their hands on Blizzard’s most desirous card game, but of course there’s more to it than that. Also on the “Soon™” List are Adventures, which are self-contained challenges where players square off against the AI and attempt to defeat special boss characters to win more cards. The first Adventure coming out of the gate (sometime in the hopefully near future, but no specific dates have been given) is the ‘Curse of Naxxramas.’ World of Warcraft players will probably recognize the name, seeing as it’s a fairly well-known raid dungeon.
Last but certainly not least (well, for me anyway) was the news that Hearthstone will also eventually be making its way to the iPhone. It’s going to be separate from the iPad version (so not Universal), but the fact that it’s in the works is enough for me!
Of course if you do have an iPad you can just grab Hearthstone once it releases on the App Store in about a week.
Blizzard's free-to-play online collectible card game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, left beta not long ago. Now its mobile days begin, as they have soft-launched their online card-battling game in Canada ahead of its global launch. So I grabbed my deck and chatted up some pandaren for this edition of It Came From Canada!
The core gameplay of Hearthstone has players using an increasing supply of mana to play cards they've drawn: most are creatures that can be put into the arena, and only played on the next turn, though some have instant effects such as attacking immediately. Players also have hero attacks that cost mana but can be used to attack the other player or their creatures, with the ultimate goal being to take the opponent's hero down to zero health. Players can battle online with others via Battle.net, take on computer opponents in Practice Mode, and spend their winnings (or currency purchased via in-app purchases) on cards to outfit their deck. It's fast-paced, but easy to get into.
The game is simple enough that anyone can get into it after the first six tutorial missions, which cover the gamut of battling. Of course, this is where the game shows its origins as a non-mobile title: the tutorials take about 20 minutes or so to get through them before players can even battle online. In a mobile-first world this would likely be a lot shorter, but the slow pace does a great job at getting players to know how to play the game.
After the tutorial is finished players must register for a Battle.net account in order to play online, with this account usable cross-platform. Deck creation isn't explicitly covered, but it's possible to just go out with a default deck. Custom decks can be created as well, and there's a handy guided tutorial for creating a well-balanced deck, where the game recommends three cards of a kind - so players can choose and understand how to build a deck, versus the game just automatically making one.
Once into the online battles, the process is similar to the tutorial missions, except slower. Some players online can be slow to decide their moves, though there's only so much time that a player has before the game passes it along. Note that unlike mobile-designed titles like Ascension, players must stay in the battle; there's no jumping to other games.
And really, that will be the interesting thing to see as Hearthstone nears its global release. This is a game that isn't necessarily unfriendly to mobile, but many of the patterns that have defined mobile card battlers are clearly defied here. And the longer pacing could lead to more drop-outs during matches, which would not be ideal for the PC userbase. But still, this is Hearthstone on an iPad and that should excite many people.
Hearthstone, a collectible strategy card game set in the World of Warcraft universe, has been generating quite a bit of buzz lately - and rightly so it seems. Pretty much every single person who plays it says it's awesome. It's certainly something worth getting excited about for iPad owners, but what about those of us who only have iPhones? Turns out we're in luck.
Pocket Gamer reports that Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft will, in fact, be coming to the iPhone sometime in 2014. The announcement was made recently at BlizzCon, and will no doubt make many a tabletless iOS user squeal with glee. Of course it's also been stated that the iPad version will be ready sooner, so iPhone users will have to wait a little bit longer, but "later" is a whole lot better than "never."