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'Hearthstone' And 5 Free Mobile Card Games Like It That You Need To Play

Mobile gaming has become such a huge portion of the gaming market.

Mobile gaming has become such a huge portion of the gaming market. And even though mobile gaming doesn't have the mainstream presence like PC or Console systems, it doesn't detract from the idea that most gamers grew up with some sort of mobile gaming experience. Whether their mobile gaming was related to a handheld system like the Game Gear, Game Boy or more recently the PSP, or perhaps they spent their time downloading games to their TI-83+ Graphing Calculator.

Yet one of my favorite game genres of all time is card collection/card battle - mostly because it's never the same. Every new shuffle is a little different and it allows players to step in/out of the game whenever they want without losing any part of the experience. With the recent announcement that Respawn's card-based version of Titanfall was cancelled, it made me think about some of the best card-based games I've ever played.

Hearthstone

  • Platform: Windows, OS X, iOS & Android
  • Price: Freemium

Hearthstone is the most recent card-based mobile game that I have jumped into, even though it was released in 2014. Hearthstone builds off of the lore of the Warcraft series by utilizing the same characters and elements as cards in-game. Hearthstone allows players to create decks of 30 cards for a Warcraft hero with their unique power. Players then use their decks to challenge other players or progress through several creative campaign scenarios in turn-based card combat.

Players can choose to build custom decks based on their selection of 1 of 9 special heroes. Each hero can be leveled up through the various game modes, and with each level increase comes new cards up to a certain level and animated card art. This allows players to utilize a varied strategy depending on who they may be facing, since each hero has access to class based special cards.

Ascension

  • Platform: Android, iOS, PSVita
  • Price: Freemium

Ascension is more of a deck building game, without any real campaign style game play. The premise behind the game is that you, the player, are tasked with building your army (deck) to fight off a demonic invasion (the other players in the game). You build your army by capturing cards from the center area by using runes and power. Runes allow you to claim the warriors (soldiers, mystics, templars, monks, assassins, etc) and Power allows you to defeat the demons that appear.

Players can choose how many opponents to face off against (1-3) and their difficulty as well as making them CPU or user-controlled, meaning you can have up to 4 human players battling each other on the same device. You can also create an online login and play against other users or keep to the local play on your device.

Lies of Astaroth

  • Platform: iOS, Android, Xbox One
  • Price: Freemium

I've been playing Lies of Astaroth for a few years now, and it's still one of my favorite card based RPG games available. It has a solid mix of deck building, card upgrades and exploration that make it a worthwhile game to add to your already loaded cellphone memory. Now, there is a version on Xbox that is similar but doesn't quite match up to the gameplay available on the mobile platforms of Android and Apple.

Lies of Astaroth is in essence a card-based RPG that allows you to choose your cards and level them up as you would any character in a standard RPG game. It's unique in the idea that it allows you to customize your deck in any way you see fit, and as your character grows, you are allowed to build your deck more efficiently and powerfully.

Card Wars Kingdom

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Price: Freemium

Cartoon Network couldn't resist jumping into the fray of the card based genre, so they gave us Card Wars Kingdom, which is actually the sequel to the very popular mobile game, Card Wars - based off of the Adventure Time cartoon. Card Wars Kingdom allows you to choose your hero and assemble your deck of creatures and fight in a glorious campaign as well as via multiplayer PVP.

Even if you're not a fan of Adventure Time, this game has all the necessities of a great card collection and battle game. It's definitely one worth looking into if you have some free time and a good sense of humor.

Valkyrie Crusade

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Price: Freemium

Valkyrie Crusade looks to be a fairly standard anime girl otaku game. The basic premise is to collect cards that range in power, but on every card is *usually* a scantily clad anime-style character. Yet, that isn't the only thing that Valkyrie Crusade focuses on, as you also are tasked with creating teams of these girls as you progress through a fairly lengthy campaign facing arch-witches and more.

Valkyrie Crusade also introduces a city building aspect as you can add different buildings that earn you money as well as gives your various cards stat boosts. It's not exactly a card-battle game like some of these others, but the card-collecting aspect is thriving in Valkyrie Crusade with over 1,000 cards.

Duel of Fate

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Price: Freemium

If you like Ascension, then Duel of Fate is right up your ally. There is no campaign mode, as the game play focuses primarily on collecting monster & tactics cards and using them in one-on-one combat between two players. Duel of Fate uses a short countdown to keep wait time at a minimum and keeping both players from bogging the other down. The simplicity of Duel of Fate is what makes it easily playable, even for gamers who don't know much about the card-based genre.

Duel of Fate is like every other game out there and incorporates micro-transactions in order to bolster your collection of cards in the form of packs that get increasingly expensive based on the tier of card you're looking for. Duel of Fate is also one of the few card-based games that requires an internet connection as the only form of battle is via live PVP.

Whatever your opinion on mobile gaming, it's something that is never going away and honestly the games just keep getting better and more realistic. Especially with the advancement into VR, we could likely see the card-based genre move into VR and that would be a truly incredible adventure.

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