After a few posts now talking about the violent, action-packed God of War games, I thought I'd go in a very different direction for a post or two.
The premise is pretty simple here. You have varying stacks of cards spread out on the playing table in different patterns. You have a deck at the bottom of your screen and a single card turned up. You can play any top-level card from the table that is directly above or below the value of the card down by the deck. Color/suit does not matter, so if you have a 5 of hearts down at the bottom, you can play and 4 or 6 from the table above. If you don't have a play, turn over a new card from the deck.
However, there are some fun variations to the formula as well. You can collect 'supplies' to grow pets/creatures, and you have several power-ups like the ability to build up the power to destroy a single face card from the top, or save special 'wild cards' from the side to put into play when you just really need a specific number to get a nice run. It is all tucked into a simple storyline that gives you the chance to earn more money to buy and unlock new things.
Graphics - 5:
I mean, there's not much going on here. And what there is does not look terribly impressive. They are cards with almost no animation to speak of, draped onto a fairly plain table. It gets the job done, but there is very little to be excited about here.
Sound & Music - 5:
I was a bit surprised that there was voice acting for the campaign mode. Not terribly great voice acting, but it is there. The sound effects are at least more varied than the graphics, but not by a whole lot. The music's actually pretty pleasant, but there it gets repetitive fairly early on in the campaign.
Gameplay - 8:
The game never gets in its own way. We're not talking about complicated combat combos or anything like that, but you can navigate the menus easily, and the basic card-shifting is very easy and fluid. The light RPG-like elements are solid and there are quite a few modes and challenges to keep the game from getting boring.
Intangibles - 8:
Touched on above, but with a lot of modes, some Steam achievements, an actual storyline - there is quite a bit of solitaire to be had here. Now, if you're not fond of the card game, I doubt there's anything in here that's going to sway you to suddenly want to play a few hundred hands. That said? I had fun evolving my creatures, buying power-ups and defeating almost every challenge the game had to offer.
Overall - 6.5:
This is a game that's going to appeal to a somewhat limited niche of players I suspect. My wife falls into that grouping. Most of my friends who heavily play video games? Probably not. I enjoyed the game though, and got through the entire campaign. It was light gaming, I was playing it while doing other things like working on my MUD or watching highlights from sports on the internet. If you like solitaire games, it's probably worth the pickup - if not, you probably won't be a convert because of this title.