Onirim - Solitaire Card Game ($0.99) by Asmodee Digital is yet another board game that has been turned into a digital game for your mobile device. If you liked other titles such as Potion Explosion, Sushi Go!, and Exploding Kittens, then Onirim is a perfect addition to your digital board game collection.
Board games — we all love them, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s just hard to play them because you can’t get enough people gathered up in person to play them when you want to due to conflicting schedules or you just don’t want to plan everything out. This is the problem I personally have with board games, so I just end up not playing them as much as I’d like to, even though I enjoy them and the interaction I get with others while playing. This is one of the biggest reasons why I end up playing more video games over board games, because I can enjoy them myself without much fuss. So naturally, when I see popular and current board games getting brought over to digital versions, I’m intrigued, as it’s my chance to try out a board game I otherwise wouldn’t have even heard of. Having the digital versions also has helped me discover these games and go out to buy the physical versions to play at social gatherings too, so it definitely helps having a virtual board game as a “sampler,” per say. And as a fan of solitaire-style card games, Onirim certainly piqued my interest.
Visually, Onirim is gorgeous with the original painting-like artwork style, which is pulled directly from the Onirim base game. So if you’ve played the real game before, then you will recognize everything in an instant. The art looks hand-drawn and is beautiful to look at, even for newcomers, and the nightmares are somewhat mesmerizing and hypnotic. The color palette of Onirim features dark and gloomy colors that contrast nicely with the bright and vibrant colors of the colored cards themselves, so everything stands out as you play. Animations are fluid and smooth in the game, so there is no lag on my iPhone 7. The game also has a hauntingly atmospheric soundtrack that is a nice addition to a once physical-only board game and is also fun to listen to. The sound effects feature realistic card sounds, which just makes it feel even more realistic. Asmodee Digital has been doing a great job with their virtual board game releases, and Onirim is just another fantastic addition.
If you have played Onirim before, then you will be familiar with this game’s only mode, which is the base game in solitaire mode. Unfortunately, for die-hard Onirim fans, Asmodee Digital does not plan on adding expansions to this version of the game, so you are only going to have the base game solitaire mode available on your iOS device. However, the base solitaire version is great for quick-play sessions, so this does not bother me too much. For anyone who is a newbie to Onirim, the game is a unique take on solitaire. Players will be a Dreamwalker that is lost in a mysterious labyrinth, and the only way out of it is to discover the oneiric doors before the dream runs out — otherwise, you’re trapped forever.
With this in mind, the goal is simple: work against the game and find the eight doors before the deck runs out of cards. There are two doors for each color of card in the deck, and the ways to earn them are by playing three cards of the same color in a row, or discarding a key card in your hand when you draw a door card. However, there are also the devious Nightmare cards that are lurking in the deck as well, which trigger tough decisions when drawn (discard your hand, discard top five cards of the deck, discard a door or key card if available). The goal is to get all eight doors before you’re out of cards in the deck, which is much harder than it looks.
Controls in Onirim are simple and intuitive, though it does take a bit of time to get used to everything if you’re new. To play a card, just tap-and-drag it to the playing area, which is like a ribbon. After you have played enough cards, you can scroll through it horizontally if you want to see what you played. If you’re not able to play the card, it just goes back to your hand. Like solitaire, you can’t play a card if it has the same symbol (sun, moon, or key) as the last card you put in the stack. To discard an unnecessary card, just drag it to the discard pile in the bottom right corner. Any time a card is moved from your hand, you draw another card from the draw pile so you always have five cards ready. If you throw a key card away, you’ll be able to see the next five cards in the deck and rearrange them to a better order, as well as discard one (hopefully a nightmare). When you draw a Nightmare card, you’ll have to make a tough choice, and if you draw a door card, it will go into the “reshuffle” pile, you draw another card, and then anything in the reshuffle stack goes back into the deck. Everything in Onirim is automated, so it’s easy to learn the game even if you’re completely new to it.
For newcomers, the game does take a bit of getting used to, but once you understand the rules, it becomes rather addictive and hard to put down. And because of the intricate rules, there is quite a bit of strategy and depth to the game. There is also a statistics section that lets you know how you’re doing in the game since you’ve started, in case you’re wondering about your game records.
I’ve been playing Onirim over the weekend and have been thoroughly enjoying it, despite still not winning a game just yet (have come close though!). I love the beautiful visual style and music, and the fact that everything is mostly automatic makes it easy to see what’s happening and understand. It’s a bit disappointing that the developers don’t plan on adding the expansions to this version, or even adding more game modes in the future. But if you’re looking for a great solitaire game for quick sessions, then Onirim is a pretty good fit for the price of a dollar.
I recommend giving Onirim a try if you are a fan of the physical game or just enjoy solitaire-style card games in general. Onirim is available on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for just $0.99. There are no in-app purchases.