When new games make the trip from PC to mobile it's usually a dumbed-down affair, but Blizzard's fantastic Warcraft-inspired collectable card game is anything but dumb in its iPad debut. In short, it's just as addictive, gorgeous, and slick as the version we played many months ago on Mac.
You begin a game of Hearthstone by choosing a hero. This choice will dictate your overall strategy, letting you rely on your character's magic, weapons, or loyal minions to take out your adversary. Early on, your matches are chosen for you, sending you through a lengthy tutorial and story mode that pits you against many different styles of opponent.
Matches play out on a single screen where your cards go up against those of your foe. Your hero has a set amount of life, and the cards your opponents play against you can harm either your hero or the minion cards you have previously played, depending on their strategy and any "Taunt" cards you have on the board (which must be attacked first).
You'll grasp the rules and play style after just a game or two, but your long-term strategy will be ever evolving. At the heart of the strategy is your deck of cards, which can be customized to suit your battle plan. You can unlock card packs either by purchasing them or by earning gold through battle victories. A good strategy matched with a solid deck is crucial to besting the real-world opponents you will be matched with in the Arena mode, and you'll see an endless number of play styles as you gain experience.
Hearthstone on iPad is just as good, if not better than its PC counterpart, and if you're an iPad owner who is already in love with the desktop version, you're going to adore it on a touchscreen. Dragging and dropping your cards onto the play field feels even better with your finger than it does with a mouse, and even novice players will have a blast.
Hearthstone is free on the App Store and even if you don't want to toss in a few bucks for additional card packs, there's still dozens of hours of good fun to be had. Give it a shot, and you won't be disappointed.