Title screen from Hearthstone.

‘Hearthstone’ App out for iPhone

A game of Hearthstone in progress on an iPhone, with a target for a hero power indicated by a red dashed arrow.
Dragging to targets works intuitively and feels the same as playing on a tablet. Interactive board effects are still present for the two corners, as are the pre-canned chat messages.

If you were tempted by my recent article on why you should be playing Hearthstone, but you only play games on your iPhone, you’re in luck. Though I can’t find an official announcement on their site as of this writing, Hearthstone is now available for iPhone (4S and newer models).

I couldn’t find the app by searching “Hearthstone” in the iOS app store. If this happens to you, try searching for “Blizzard”, then choose the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator, and then tap the “Blizzard Entertainment…” link to Blizzard’s list of published games, which included Hearthstone in its list.

I have had precious little time with the app (four games) at this point so am a little reticent to draw sweeping conclusions, but there are a few impressions I’m willing to pass on. Most importantly, Blizzard has done an excellent job cramming so much information into such a small space. The boards, player information, and cards have been adapted to fit phone-sized screens. While the text is small, it is legible, and it should only look better on larger phones (I’m still using my iPhone 4S). Cards stay out of the way at the bottom corner until tapped, at which point they come to the front and are easy enough to read.

Screen shot from iPhone version of Hearthstone showing a game in progress with wictory fireworks going off.
In-Game effects look just like the PC version, with the UI elegantly crammed into a smaller space.

The game is performing acceptably even on my older phone, which has been getting mightily sluggish with some other programs of late. There are mild stutters, but the game plays much like you would experience on the PC. The login process even recognized that my phone has the Battle.net authenticator app running and automatically imported the code for me when logging in (no app switching on my part!)

There is a qualifier to the above: the game performed acceptably when it wasn’t crashing. Two out of my four games I experienced a crash back to the home screen. Reloading the app automatically reconnected me to my game, but in one of those cases two turns had passed – and not to my benefit! I suspect the crashes may be more prevalent on my phone as the oldest supported generation. Normally, you might take this as a warning, but hey, the app is free, so give it a try on your device and see how it goes.

Did I mention that you get a free Classic Pack of cards for playing a game on your iPhone? That should be incentive enough to go give it a try. I’ll see you in the tavern!

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