Hearthstone_on_iPad_2On Wednesday, Blizzard Entertainment soft-launched the iPad version of their free-to-play strategy card game, Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™ in select countries, with the promise of a worldwide release “coming soon”.

I wanted to wait to write about the news until I’d had a chance to check out the game for myself. I know it’s readily available on the PC, but in truth, I hardly ever play games on my PC anymore, just on my iOS devices and Xbox.

Unable to wait, I downloaded one of the soft-launch versions and this game so much fun, I’m already really hooked. The polish, voice work and card design are all phenomenal. Everything runs silky smoothly on the iPad and I can’t imaging playing it any other way. Manipulating the cards with your fingers feels so natural and gives a nice little physical touch element to an otherwise digital-only game.

Hearthstone_on_iPad_1A number of the card mechanics and daily playing rewards remind me a lot of SolForge, but without the lane vs. lane battle restrictions and more opportunities to directly attack your opponent’s hero. Plus there are hero abilities, and with nine different heroes to choose from, a nice combination of play-styles to change things up.

I’m scheduled to meet with the Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™ development team at PAX East next weekend, so hopefully I can wrangle a time-frame out of them for a worldwide release (if it isn’t out by then).

I have never played a single game of World of Warcraft™ so don’t let the subtitle make you think you have to be into WoW to enjoy this game. Once Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™ is available in your region, it is easily a MUST download title.