Hearthstone: Heroes of World of Warcraft, Blizzard's massively popular strategy card game that draws from Warcraft lore, has now finally been released for iOS and Android smartphones, making the app universal among operating systems.
In Hearthstone, players design their own decks and fight online against real opponents or AI. The game starts off with tutorial levels to explain the basic mechanics, and before long, players are off creating their own decks and devising their own strategies.
With the release of Hearthstone to smartphones, the portability of the game has been massively increased, since it was previously playable only on tablets and desktop computers. However, to compensate for the smaller screen of smartphones, Blizzard had to implement certain adjustments.
Because there could be several cards on the table at certain points of a match in Hearthstone, the game requires as much screen space as possible to make it easy for the gamers to read what the cards do. This is easy on desktop computers and tablets, but less so for smartphones, where having a good view of the playing area and all the cards in play would be difficult to manage.
To make it easy for gamers to read the cards, Blizzard included a new element to the user interface that places the player's hand of cards at the bottom but only half visible. To take a closer look at the cards, players can tap on their hands to zoom in. Cards can also be viewed full screen by tapping and holding on a specific card, which may be useful in order to read all the details of that certain card.
While this interface element adds an extra step compared to playing the game on desktop computers and tablets, it looks like a fitting solution for playing Hearthstone on smartphones.
Aside from the interface adjustment, the smartphone version of Hearthstone is exactly like the full game found on other platforms. Gamers can take practice matches against AI opponents or play against real players from all over the world. Decks can be customized according to the player's preference, which are based on the nine available heroes in the game. Players that play their first full game on a smartphone will also receive a free pack of cards.
The smartphone version of Hearthstone also supports the Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain expansions, but they cost $20 and $25, respectively.
The Hearthstone account of players is synced with the Battle.net online system of Blizzard, which means that players will be able to access their account and play with their cards no matter which version of Hearthstone they are using.