Solitaire used to get a bad rap. Rather than being a fun, action-packed casual game that people actively sought out, it tended to be something of an entertainment last resort for people who had a deck of cards and literally nothing else going for them.
That was before the casual gaming explosion, which ushered in a thousand variants of solitaire and filled them with fireworks, cure characters, and hyper-addictive reward mechanics.
Theme Solitaire is the latest solitaire spin-off to hit the app stores, and it’s shaping up to be one of the best.
Based on a variant of solitaire called Tri Peaks, it sees you clearing decks of cards by eliminating the number immediately above or below the number of the card at the bottom of the screen.
If you can’t manage that – i.e. if an adjacent number isn’t face-up on the screen – you can tap the pile to bring a different card up on the bottom of the screen, or you can spend a bit of gold to undo your last move.
That’s the essence of it, but Theme Solitaire augments this simple solitaire gameplay with all kinds of bells and whistles (figuratively speaking – there are no actual bells or whistles in the game to our knowledge).
Instead, there are adorable little people, and a growing tower. Plus, there are special abilities, which you gain by gathering materials and using them to make artifacts.
Tri Peaks solitaire is a bulletproof gameplay mechanic, but developer Buff Studio has lit a fire under it with boosters, traps, and special cards.
And that’s just the core card stuff. Outside that there are quests, mini-games, and bonus games to complete, ensuring you’ve always got plenty to keep you busy.
It looks great, too, with 200 stages based on 11 fairytales, including Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Jack and the Beanstalk.
Theme Solitaire is looking like another great casual solitaire game in the tradition of Fairway Solitaire and others. It’ll be free to download when it arrives.