Bethesda has got a good thing going with The Elder Scrolls franchise, as each and every game in the main series has met with relative success. Fans are still waiting for the follow up to "Skyrim," but meanwhile the game developers have a treat: "The Elder Scrolls Legends" is going universal.

"The Elder Scrolls Legends" is Bethesda's entry in the Collectible Card Game (CCG) genre. It has been around for a while, but a recent review from Touch Arcade tells us that the game has been recently released on iPhones and Android, making it a "universal," multi-platform experience.

Story-driven play

While considered to be a very close clone of "Hearthstone," "The Elder Scrolls Legends" has enough new mechanics to be distinguished. Granted, it got a lot of lessons from Blizzard's CCG behemoth, but TESL innovates upon these to make certain aspects of the traditional card game even more interesting.

There's a story, a campaign of sorts, and the art and the voice acting is great (as expected from Bethesda). The first act is a run-of-the-mill tutorial, teaching players about the mechanics, and it's pretty well-constructed. Sometimes there are decisions to be made after a branch/battle, and the choices you make determine the rewards.


Level-up: You get rewards after every game, but you also get special rewards when you level-up: being that your starter cards will level up and improve with you.

This can be straightforward, like a card getting a boost in Att/Def stat, or the game could also give you a choice: for example, you can either give a card a boost in defense or a special effect when summoned.

Magicka: The mana and summon system -- "magicka" -- is pretty much the same as Hearthstone's. You start with 1/1 and it builds up in increments of one every turn.

Cards need magicka to be summoned, ranging from zero-cost cards to 7-cost cards. Some cards can boost your maximum magicka, so you can summon more powerful creatures earlier.

Lanes: The field is divided into two lanes, and creatures/summons in one lane cannot attack those in the other lane. This has the potential of adding a new dimension to tactics; certainly more interesting than piling all your creatures on a board.

Shadow Lanes: Sometimes there are "Shadow Lanes," lanes which grant cover and prevent attack and damage to your creatures for one turn, kind of like the "Stealth" ability in Hearthstone, except it only lasts one turn and applies to all creatures summoned in the Shadow Lane.

Runes: Every time your hero loses 5 health, you lose a "rune" and this event automatically draws a card from your deck. It's a really good feature that can turn the tide of battle, depending on the card you draw. Also, there are "Prophecy" cards that can be played for free instantly (without Magicka costs) if they are drawn from the event of losing a rune.

"The Elder Scrolls Online" seems to be a promising experience, enough to keep fans of TES occupied, at least until "The Elder Scrolls 6" gets released.