Best Life: GWENT feels right at home on iOS

By Jarrett Green 09 Dec 2019 2

GWENT, the stand alone version of the side quest/addiction from 2015’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt finally came to iOS a little over a month ago. The game existed on PC and then consoles years before that, and has taken various dramatically different forms between its early betas and its official launch around this time last year. The consensus about the game now is as it’s been since Wild Hunt launched: GWENT is good.

But not only is GWENT good, it’s good on iOS. So good in fact that in the three weeks following the iOS launch, the mobile version made up 68% of player spending. This is because mobile is the definitive way to play this super unique card battler, for a couple of reasons…

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Portability

Final Fantasy 8 probably ruined my sense of reality when it comes to how card games are actually played with strangers. In it’s world the game du jour, Triple Triad, is played by nearly everyone you meet. You’re a button press away from initiating a quick game with a person who has their own collection and variation of rules that you can battle as a brief aside to world-saving.

The Wild Hunt version of GWENT played to the same fantasy - that strangers in dark hamlets and metropolitan hives alike are just waiting to put aside their daily hustles to blow off some steam in a game of cards with you. Jog to your local Starbucks and ask a patron if they want to play some cards with you, and the puzzled looks on their faces will tell you all you need to know about how realistic this idea of communal gamesmanship really is.

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That said, while you sip that Americano on the rail alone, you’ll have plenty to time to boot up GWENT on your phone, and get a round in. In fact, having GWENT available to play in the downtime I have at work or during travel has really revitalized my interest in the game. I play everyday now that I don’t have to choose it over other things that I’d rather play on PC instead. I’ve also consumed more TV, knowing that I can comfortably catch up on Netflix documentaries while pushing my deck up the ladder.

Performance

One could be surprised at how much a seemingly simple card game can tax a low end or old computer. I recently retired a laptop I owned since 2008 that had some real trouble processing games like Duelyst, Ascension, and Hearthstone by the end of its life. You’d think that something simple like digital cards wouldn’t be very taxing on any machine built after the turn of the century, but there's way more going on than just pictures and math.

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Many digital card games substitute the lack of physical goods and proximity to real people with lotsand lots of flair. Cards swish and swoop onto heavily animated boards. Creatures and spells bang and pop and scratch and shoot at one another. That's where everything gets dicey for old devices, and GWENT is chock full of that stuff.

Generally speaking though, software ported to iOS is much more stable than on other systems, thanks to the closed environment of Apple products. The silver lining of the very limited customizability of Apple hardware is that software on the devices is far more reliable on these systems. Granted, the older the iPhone or iPad, the more suspect the results, but if you have a portable released in the last, say, four years, you can expect GWENT to run smoothly.

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All that said, it isn’t perfect. Crossplay between all of the versions of this game is kind of a mess. All versions of this game can be randomly matchmade with PC players. You can only directly challenged people who play on the same console that you do. This means that, as you’ll never be at a loss for people to square up against in the solo queues, you’ll need to make sure your friends have the same version of GWENT you do. This may be a tough ask for anyone playing it on consoles, because their progression and purchases will not travel over to iOS at this time. Only PC players can take advantage of cross progression via their GOG accounts. Console players are sort of stuck on their respective islands for now.

Don’t let this deter you though! Especially if you are new to GWENT, or returning after a long hiatus, iOS is the premier version of one of the best card games in the world.

If you want to know more we've got some GWENT tips & tricks to help you get started. Android players, fear not - GWENT is still confirmed for an Android release in early 2020.

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