Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 42
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 42
  3. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. Apr 25, 2014
    Between its friendly design and its flexible approach to a free-to-play economy, Hearthstone has successfully pulled me into a genre that I didn't care about in the least. But even more incredibly, it's kept me rapt longer than any games I've played in years, and shows no signs of letting up.
  2. Mar 14, 2014
    It's overflowing with character and imagination, feeds off and fuels a vibrant community of players and performers, and it only stands to improve as Blizzard introduces new features, an iPad version and expansions. And now it's finally finished! I can't wait to see where it goes next. Job's done.
  3. Mar 17, 2014
    It’s easy to learn, easy to get into matches and play, and it’s fun. It’s led me to check out other digital card games — and I’m again surprised at how much I enjoy these.
  4. Jul 6, 2014
    When Blizzard announced they were making a digital CCG, we all expected it to look and sound beautiful, and there was little doubt that it would be well-balanced, but I don’t think anyone anticipated this level of sophistication and subtle brilliance.
  5. PC PowerPlay
    Jun 6, 2014
    A gem that combines a great PC franchise with simple gameplay and a reasonable Free to Play business model. [June 2014, p.54]
  6. May 26, 2014
    Hearthstone, the newest card game from Blizzard, will keep you hooked for hours thanks to the amazing presentation and the tactical, deep gameplay. This is free to play done right.
  7. Games Master UK
    May 4, 2014
    With bags of depth to tap into, this deserves to be recognised as one of the genre's finest. [June 2014, p.72]
  8. Hyper Magazine
    May 4, 2014
    A beautifully designed game, as gratifying and addictive as anything Blizzard has ever done. [June 2014, p.72]
  9. Apr 30, 2014
    It has, through painstaking effort, upgraded the card duel into a thoroughly modern form. It has resisted the dark lures of free-to-play, and has made deep systems simple to parse without neutering them. In short, Hearthstone is borderline alchemy, turning physical systems into digital gold.
  10. Apr 23, 2014
    Hearthstone is addictive, highly strategic, and chock-full of fun collectible card battling; the fact that it's totally free (if you want it to be) makes it one of the best values in gaming today. This is your new obsession; embrace it.
  11. Apr 14, 2014
    Blizzard's first Free to Play-game offers depth without becoming complex. It takes players seriously and is very playable without spending (a lot of) money. Atmosphere, speed and great sound effects make for fast yet satisfying games, where luck and tactics go hand in hand.
  12. Apr 2, 2014
    Hearthstone is thoughtful and complex, but at the same time welcoming and almost irresistible. It may just be a card game, but it often feels like so much more.
  13. Mar 31, 2014
    Blizzard's team has done about everything right with Hearthstone. They took tried and tested pieces from other card games, found clever mechanisms to take away their weak spots and other frustrations and offer a strong and addictive free-to-play experience.
  14. Mar 24, 2014
    Blizzard has put its imprimatur onto another genre, and it looks poised to succeed in CCGs with Hearthstone as it has with MMOs in World of Warcraft.
  15. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is the best digital collectible card game for everyone. Easy to learn and difficult to master. The musical score and sounds are just like the Warcraft Universe. But if you are a Magic: The Gathering player, you definitely won't like it.
  16. Mar 20, 2014
    Hearthstone seems a good fit for tablets, and if Blizzard can maintain the quality of the animations, it will become a serious phenomenon.
  17. Mar 18, 2014
    An amazing classic card game that surprises for its attention to detail and highly addictive gameplay.
  18. Mar 17, 2014
    Hearthstone is the best digital collectible card game around and an excellent “real” game as well, where the formula “easy to learn, difficult to master” really comes to life.
  19. Mar 15, 2014
    Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an idea as good as Magic: The Gathering was. It's very similar to Magic cards and that's great. Although it's very accessible and visual, perfect for new players and experts. Blizzard has returned to work magic.
  20. Mar 14, 2014
    Hearthstone might not fully scratch the strategy itch of the most advanced CCG/TCG players, but it makes an impressive attempt. The rules are simple, so anybody can get the hang of it, but there are enough deck variations available that only skilled deck builders and players will make it high in the ranks.
  21. Mar 14, 2014
    Accessible, addictive and fun, Blizzard brings us a very interesting free-to-play, very well balanced game, that everyone interested in the Warcraft universe should try.
  22. Mar 14, 2014
    Hearthstone is a wonderful game. Nostalgic, simple and best of all: fun. This is the best online collectible card game you can play. Just be careful how much you spend in it.
  23. Mar 13, 2014
    The elegant simplicity of Hearthstone’s rules, its impressive attention to detail and personality, and the true viability of playing completely for free make it easy to fall under its spell and get blissfully lost in the depths of its strategic possibilities.
  24. Mar 12, 2014
    If you’ve ever been curious about collectible card games but didn’t know where to begin, Hearthstone is the place to start.
  25. Mar 26, 2014
    A simple game if compared to Magic, nonetheless the Blizzard CCG delivers a fair amount of depth for the average player. There is a little shade of pay-to-win, but is perfectly possible to have fun without spending a dime.
  26. Mar 19, 2014
    On a more personal level, Hearthstone is solid enough that if it gets its hooks in you, they will dig deep. The game takes on a Civilization-like level of addictiveness where instead of one more turn, you’ll often tell yourself “just one more game”. That one more game can quickly become five, or ten, or more depending on how much time you have to spend and I imagine this is going to only be amplified once the mobile versions of the game come online.
  27. CD-Action
    Jun 28, 2014
    Simple rules, high production values, low system requirements and huge tactical freedom make Hearthstone one of the best card games available. And if you take into account the free-to-play model – it’s the best one. [05/2014, p.62]
  28. Jun 7, 2014
    A fine example of a great free-to-play game. Hearthstone is not only an addictive and well designed card game, but absolutely fair with gamers that do not wish to spend money on it.
  29. Mar 24, 2014
    Hearthstone is a polished, stylish and friendly collectible card game which offers tons of fun and challenge at no cost. It's still not very balanced - and probably will never be - and it lacks a trading system, but Blizzard managed to appeal both newcomers and veterans to the genre.
  30. Mar 14, 2014
    Hearthstone is currently the best card game in circulation when you consider its target audience. With easy-to-learn gameplay, this game is still able to provide a lot of satisfaction even to the most experienced players.
  31. Mar 13, 2014
    It’s this level of polish and accessibility that Blizzard have infused into Hearthstone that make it a great success, no matter how you feel about card games.
  32. Pelit (Finland)
    May 11, 2014
    One of the best free-to-play games on the market because you can actually play this one for free and have a good time while doing so. It is easy to learn and fun to master. [Apr 2014]
  33. Apr 27, 2014
    Hearthstone wants to be a fast paced and entertaining card game for beginners and experts alike - and it achieves this goal with flying colors.
  34. May 5, 2014
    Video gamers may wonder why they would play a card game when their medium has moved beyond such limitations; tabletop gamers may bemoan the fact that people are getting excited about the wrong card game. But if you fall awkwardly between those two groups, Hearthstone will keep you hooked for some time.
  35. Apr 25, 2014
    For now, Hearthstone is very much a triumph, and with a mobile client rolling out there’s a sense that we’re at the beginning of a phenomenon rather than in the midst of one. Yet again, Blizzard seems to have played its cards absolutely right.
  36. PC Gamer UK
    Mar 26, 2014
    A fast, deep and exciting card game let down by its business model. Great when you're on a roll, rough when you're not. [Apr 2014, p.84]
  37. Mar 21, 2014
    Brilliantly accessible, yet incredibly deep. Blizzard dominates the virtual gaming card genre, but a tournament mode would have made it even better.
  38. Mar 19, 2014
    If any developer's good at weeding out the chaff of more robust games in a particular genre, surely it's Blizzard.
  39. Mar 18, 2014
    This first attempt from Blizzard on the free to play market is a success. You don't have to pay to win in this card game that looks really nice and is as interesting as addictive to play.
  40. Mar 17, 2014
    While it may not be as complicated as an actual collectible card game, or have the appeal of showing off your collection to your friends, it is a great videogame that has minimal issues and is in a neat package, so it would be foolish to try to compare it to something it’s not trying to be.
  41. Mar 14, 2014
    It's difficult to resist the charms of HearthStone: Heroes of WarCraft, which stacks up qualities. Easily manageable by any gamer, highly addictive, and made with an artistic touch, this game fully uses the rich Warcraft universe and its fame. The price to pay is having to make due with classic card game gameplay, not a revolution in the card collecting game genre...and it can prove tiresome at some point if you don't go hunting for the rare cards. Strangely, the interface needs improvement, and some bugs still persists. But since the game is free and really fun, there is no reason to not give it a try.
  42. Apr 8, 2014
    Hearthstone is a well-executed and fun card game, one which lives the “easy to learn, hard to master” mantra to the utmost.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 2168 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Jun 8, 2014
    Although the game has potential, it is ruined by the repulsive business model. It's pay to win (constructed) or pay to play (arena), otherwiseAlthough the game has potential, it is ruined by the repulsive business model. It's pay to win (constructed) or pay to play (arena), otherwise your options are to grind endlessly for ridiculously low gold rewards (3.3 gold for a win), or limit playing and wait for the daily quests. The daily quests provide more gold, but they're only once a day and a 40 gold quest is the most common quest by far.

    The arena is the most fun game mode, but it's expensive to play and too random and luck based (depending on the cards you get draft from). Also, you can get ridiculous streaks like playing several times in a row against the same class and taking the second turn. The arena rewards have also been downgraded. It's very possible get crappy cards and dust as rewards even though performing reasonably well in the arena.

    Updated observations:

    - The overall balance is pretty bad and Blizzard does little to improve things. In arena and constructed certain classes are clearly better than others.
    - There are few truly viable strategies for each class.
    - At the beginning it's possible to play for a while with basic, common and rare cards, but eventually you'll hit the wall without epic and legendary cards.
    - Unless you invest real money, it takes forever to get the good legendary cards.
    - The more you play Hearthstone, the more you feel like it's another Blizzard grinding game.
    - It's a card game, but you cannot trade the cards with your friends. Absurd.
    - After a while it becomes obvious that the game lacks depth.
    - It's 2014 and there's no chat. All you have is six lousy premade emotes.
    - Statistics are practically non-existent, although they would be useful in this kind of game.
    - Certain UI bugs persist patch after patch.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 16, 2014
    Blizzard under Activision has turned from a company that creates stories and experiences into a company that exploits the worst of the humanBlizzard under Activision has turned from a company that creates stories and experiences into a company that exploits the worst of the human condition by turning their games into virtual casinos. Hearthstone folows the same formula WoW and the Diablo series, by providing flashy, happy graphics and glittering interfaces interfaces (remind you of a Casino?) for the player to do the same actions over and over in hopes of a payoff (remind you of a Casino?).

    In Diablo it's killing the same monsters in the same acts over and over in hopes of legendary. in WoW it's going to the raid casino every tuesday and in Hearthstone it's play games in order to buy decks to maybe get the right cards. The thing is that it is an empty, soul sucking, life wasting endeavor.... when you get all your best cards, legendaries or raid loot, what is there to do? What is the payoff?

    They just start the hamster wheel again by introducing better cards/loots/legendaries. Love yourself as a human being and avoid anything made by Activision/Blizzard, they are not game makers, they make 21st century slot machines.
    Full Review »
  3. May 22, 2014
    If you like Pay 2 Win, you'll love this game. Because Hearthstone is about as pay 2 win as you can get without placing a button that says.If you like Pay 2 Win, you'll love this game. Because Hearthstone is about as pay 2 win as you can get without placing a button that says. "Click to win ($4.99)"

    First the positives. Hearthstone is a functional game that has decent flow to it. It has minimal issues with bugs and runs well on older machines. The game does have a rather kitschy feel to it, as well as a sense of self-parody for the WoW mythos. The gameplay is smooth and the interface is easy to navigate.

    Hearthstone falls short in several areas, however. For example, players must either buy boosters or earn them at an extremely slow rate, made slower by the fact that in-game currency is only earned through victories. Players are started out with the same set of basic cards and must grind packs or buy them. There are daily quests, but they usually involve winning matches to gain extra gold. While it is possible to win with the basic set of cards, many of the pack cards far stronger and some are actually game breaking. Which makes a player who pays for packs far more likely to get ahead in the game. Discounting daily quests, booster packs can be obtained with gold for WINNING 30 matches. I emphasize that intentionally, as no gold is gained for a loss, essentially punishing the player who is learning or can't afford to buy cards. Exacerbating this problem is that matchmaking is quite poor, and so called "Casual Matches" are well populated with "noob-stompers" looking for easy gold which slows down the rate which gold and subsequently packs are acquired. Another problem with the game is there is a lack of balance. Priest and Hunter decks have access to cards that swing the game too much, IMO. (Mind Control and Unleash the Hounds being the most infamous.) Other classes also have cards of this type but not nearly as strong or numerous.

    In addition to this is the Arena mode which can be entered for 150 game gold. (Whereas a pack costs 100 gold.) But can be instead accessed with cash, You are given a choice of three random decks and them create a deck from card options given to you. Everything is RNG based. Then you take your deck and play other players must win as many games as you can (up to 9) before losing 3. The mode rewards you with booster packs, gold and dust depending on how well you did. If you did well you will get more, if you did poorly you will get little and possibly not get a pack. Again this feeds into the demand that players win in order to progress.

    There is also a way to craft cards using the aforementioned dust. Although it is not at all efficient, cards can be broken down using dust, but creating one of a certain rank requires the equivalent amount of dust from breaking down 8 cards of the same rank. Like everything in this game it is a slow process, crafted to exasperate the player and make the cash shop more appealing.

    Finally the game deserves criticism for doing little to instruct new players in basic deckbuilding strategies. And has a notably annoying "response" system that many players use to taunt their opponents. It can be disabled, but only for the duration of your current game and must be disabled every single time you play a game. There is also no function for players to trade cards which was omitted simply to push the P2W game system.

    Hearthstone is hardly the worst game out there right now. In fact it could be good, but the P2W model and the frustrations involved with CCG mechanics that are quite faithfully ported over from card games like Magic: the Gathering are front and center without any of the social benefits. A potentially good, game but ruined by the P2W model. Only the most diehard CCG enthusiasts with money to burn will enjoy this game. For everyone else, it's more frustration than actual fun.
    Full Review »