5 in 1 Solitaire Review—Exactly What It Sounds Like

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This is the WiiWare version of 5 in 1 Solitaire.

*Screenshots used in this review are from the WiiWare version of the game. The PSP version has lower-quality graphics.

Solitaire is as omnipresent as air. It is everywhere: bundled with your PC and embedded in mobile phones. And, let us not forget the tangible version of solitaire.

This is not the first time that solitaire has appeared as a Mini; we have 5-in-1 Arcades solitaire, this abomination of a solitaire and Card Sharks solitaire. Lately, the Minis program has rained shmups on us. Some of us have been complaining. Can we complain this time, “Why the damn solitaires?”

Upon starting the game, you are greeted with an unpleasant title screen. It is as basic as basic can be, and you can see the jagged edges of the graphics. Thankfully, as you survive this bad impression, you are asked to create a profile, and this profile system alone is worth the trouble of getting another solitaire title.

You can create up to four profiles. Every game is recorded stat-wise: your losses, your wins, your best score and your best moves (i.e., least number of moves).

Again, the interface is one of the ugliest I’ve seen in a modern game. The solitaire variations are listed vertically on the left side of your screen. Their names are written in white with obvious jagged edges. Even the design of the backdrop has jagged edges! The right side shows the graphical representation of the selected solitaire variation whenever you browse over its name. Below the thumbnail is the Statistics box with all the records I mentioned earlier.

solitaire

There are five variants of solitaire that you can play. Klondike, the usual suspect, is included in this bundle. Freecell and Spider, two of the most popular variations, are also present here. While I doubt that you don’t know anything about these games, if you are indeed not familiar with any of them, 5 in 1 Solitaire includes an extensive tutorial, probably the best tutorial session you can experience from a Mini. The tutorial sessions include a friendly and accommodating tone with a hands-on guided part and then leave you alone until you get familiar with the game.

The other two, less familiar solitaire variants are Golf and Gaps. The objective of Golf is to transfer as many cards as possible to a waste pile, with the fewest flips from the stock as possible. However, you can only move a card if it is one rank higher or one rank lower than the current card, regardless of suit. The last variation, Gaps, is fun to play. It is like those puzzle games with one missing piece so that you can slide pieces around to form a cohesive picture but more complex, way more complex.

The game proper’s presentation is acceptable. It’s below average, actually, but after the horror of the main menu, a minor improvement will look like a giant leap for mankind. The controls are simple; I mean, what gimmickry could you pull off with solitaire anyway? X is select and confirm, Circle to undo moves, and the shoulder buttons are utilized for any other additional controls, depending on what the current solitaire variation requires.

Each of the variants is customizable, with the most common option being the timed mode, but some variations have more to choose from. For example, you can choose not to loop stacks in Golf or try your luck with four suits in Spider.

And, the greatest thing about this Mini? You can save your session and continue to play with other modes. You can also pause all five sessions, play other games on your PSP and continue your solitaire later. It’s a simple feature but certainly the most helpful.

sol_screenshot_006

There are other, better Minis out there, but for those who like solitaire, this is the one to get. The game is stable enough, with minimal load times, and the only problem is the clunky menu and horrendous artwork. You can change the backdrop and the card designs, but the truth is none of the choices are even close to pretty level. All of these are forgivable because 5 in 1 Solitaire is able to flesh out what is left in the card game.

7/10

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Comments

7 Responses to “5 in 1 Solitaire Review—Exactly What It Sounds Like”
  1. JeremyR says:

    I really liked the tutorials myself…

  2. evanac says:

    I think the problem of ‘me too’ minis is not one of unoriginality necessarily. minis don’t have any approval process so its very hard to see what other game makers are working on.

    I guess people spot a gap in the market – all while their peers are doing the same – and, lo and behold, several games in an formerly un(der)-represented genre are published in a short space of time.

    Before you know it a genre’s presence on the store has gone from sparse to over-saturated.

    I know we spotted the gap for scrolling shooters when we fixed on doing Ace Armstrong. I guess there were already others well on the way as Ace was about a 14-week project from concept to release (e.g. Flying Hamster, WTF?!’) but luckily we managed to get in there first and fortunately for us WTF had that wierd ‘old PS3′ bug that gave us a period of exclusivity.

    I think our next couple of minis are going to be unique, which will be nice (famous last words!)

  3. onmode-ky says:

    JeremyR, so . . . you’re agreeing with Jasper, right? Otherwise, I think I’ve missed the point of what you were saying.

    Al, I’m still surprised by the shortness of your dev cycles. I guess having multiple thumbs is good for productivity.

  4. confuletlyf says:

    “The game proper’s presentation is acceptable. ” I’m confused.

  5. JeremyR says:

    My point was just that it had tutorials.

    A lot of times card games just have the rules for them written down in a “How to Play” section. It’s a lot easier to be shown how to play in a tutorial, versus reading directions.

    So I really liked that.

    And really, 4 solitaire games out of what, 120 Minis isn’t bad at all. I think 20% of DSiware is Sudoku.

  6. dm says:

    I really wish you used screenshots from the actual mini. It’s not a horrible looking game, but it’s not a real pretty one either. It looks like it is running in a lower resolution than minis developed by Frima for example.

    If you like your cards to be big and easy to see, 5-1 does that too. I also want to point out that it plays quickly and that earns huge points. I can take the graphics as long as the game plays quickly and i don’t need to wait for animations.

    One more recommendation if you own the game, go to options > game, and change the background to the last option (blue swirls) to make the game look 15% better.

    Overall i recommend it for a cheap solitaire option. The Gaps mode is also I nice new interesting take on solitaire.

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  1. [...] already part of the human consciousness AKA a string of Solitaire reviews: Card Shark, Solitaire, 5 in 1 Solitaire , and Best of Solitaire [...]



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