Classic solitaire Review.I have made no secret of my love of solitaire games in the past . Attempts to rediscover the genre always put a smile on my face – and when those inventions enter the world of fantasy and role-playing, the smile grows even bigger.
This is one of the reasons why I had such incredibly high expectations for Solitairica, a new card game that mixes solitaire with roguelike monster battle. It’s not quite the game I expected, but it’s still a great ride for fans of traditional solitaire.
Many games that pick up genres try to land firmly in the middle of their two inspirations, creating an experience that is familiar but definitely unique. Solitairica is not that kind of mashup. Instead, you mostly look at a well-worn Tripeaks-style solitaire; the same kind you can find in other mobile games like Fairway Solitaire Blast or Solitaire TriPeaks.
In Tripeaks, players get a small deck of cards with one card revealed to play from. They must use the deck to wipe all the cards from the playing field above. They will do this by matching a number above or below the face value of the revealed card. For example, if a player reveals a 5, they can match it with a 4 or 6. Once they do, they can then try to combine more matches on the playing field. A good run can look something like 5-4-5-6-7-8-7-6-7-8-9-10-J. Depending on the layout and shuffle, the ease with which you can achieve this can vary greatly.
Where Solitairica sets itself apart from other Tripeaks games is in the addition of RPG components. Instead of playing in the typically solitary solitaire mode, each round throws a player against a monster as they try to battle their way through an 18-fight campaign. The monsters do not play solitaire, but instead they have a series of ominous cards that are played to damage or obstruct a player in a variety of ways.
To combat this, players will each earn coins that can be spent on spells and items that will help them fight the forces of evil. Games are powered by the cards you clear, with different packs driving different types of magic. This adds another low strategy to the experience. Where Tripeaks players can decide which card should be removed from it based on the stack of cards, Solitairica players should weigh the concern against the magic that each card contains, and how its related gameplay can help in the coming turn.
Games take a variety of different forms, with the emphasis on attack, defense, healing, and knowledge forming the basis of most magic. As you play, you will find different spells that work better for your style. Eventually, however, you will hit a wall and get a monster that wipes you out completely. At that point, you start again with nary a magic word for your name.
However, this is the nature of a roguelike. Build as much as you can, fail completely and see if you can learn from your mistakes.
Like any good roguelike, there is something you can keep for your effort every time. In this case, it’s a special kind of currency that can only be spent between games. You can use it to unlock unique maps for your deck or, if you feel particularly adventurous, build a whole new deck of game sets around a different fantasy archetype. You will start the game with a battle deck, but can unlock the wizard, villain, paladin, monk and bard decks as you make your way through the world of Solitairica.
Don’t expect a new deck to make things easier. I happily unlocked my magic deck, but I still had to survive as long as I had one with my appetizer writer.
It is noteworthy that Solitairica succeeds not only on the basis of its game but also its personality. Although there is nothing of the jaw, there are many chicks to have, and the enemies have wonderful humorous designs. There’s the weak little Dirty Firefly nodding softly at your head to attack, the bearded Beard, and the big, awful monster that just can’t stop hugging everyone. The characters run the spectrum.
There is a wonderful creative mind at work behind these character designs. They are beautiful, well-drawn, and even evoke fond memories of the masters in PopCap’s casual classic, Peggle . If there’s a higher compliment to getting paid for enemy design in a game like this, I can ‘t imagine what it would be.
And while the art may be technically simple in presentation, lacking in animations or 3D modeling, there is a talented hand at work here. Everything just drips with style, down to the backgrounds that create a real different vibe for every part of the world you discover.
You will have to practice a lot if you want to see everything.
Solitairica is a game with a lot of repeatability, powerful gameplay, clever enemies and a great deal of personality – but also … it’s more or less solitaire. If you were hoping for something that blurs the lines a bit more, like Tinytouchtales’ fantastic Card Crawl, you may initially feel a pain of disappointment about this.
If you can move beyond the feelings, you will find that Solitairica may be the best way to experience traditional solitaire. Sure, it’s a little on the nose too, but sometimes a good game just needs a little dressing up to remind us that we’ve loved it already.