Solitaire is shockingly popular. Worldwide, Google searches for ‘Solitaire’ trump ‘video games’, ‘DOTA’, and even ‘card games’ at large. Which is to say there are a lot of folks around the globe interested in this deceptively complex single-player card game.
With billions of mobile devices, it’s no surprise there are countless Solitaire games available on iOS and the Google Play store. From Spider, to Klondike to apps that let you customize the kind of deal and the style of play, it’s safe to say if you’re looking for a regular ole’ game of Solitaire, it’s not hard to find.
But what if regular ole’ Solitaire isn’t what you’re after? What if, like they’ve done with Pinball Battle games or Match-3 Combat games, you’re looking for something just a little different?
Well look no further. Presented for your approval are these four Solitaire games that seek to re-invent the proverbial draw in the name of innovation, excitement, and ultimately – fun.
1. Solitairica (3.99 – iOS / Android)
Solitairica, in addition to being an autocorrect nightmare, is a wonderful little game that seeks to do for Solitaire what Puzzle Quest did for the match-3 / Bejweled puzzler.
By combining the nature of Solitaire (escalating cards, matching suits, etc), it adds an element of wizardry and battle. In this case, the suits correspond to magic types – be it destruction (doing damage), defense (armor), willpower (healing), or agility (allowing you to see other’s cards). Naturally the competitive element, going against ‘hordes’ of enemies gives Solitairica a different flavor, but for folks seeking something new, it’s a welcome change of…taste.
But don’t just take my word for it, iOS Appstore reviewer RougelikeLover put it best:
“Perfect time consumer due to its simplicity, while also being complex enough to sit down and strategize with…Not only that, but if the game proves too easy for you, they have added an Epic difficulty setting that is quite the challenge even for those who have mastered the game. Great art and humor, unique gameplay, and fun features are all over this game.”
2. Churchill Solitaire (Free Trial – iOS / Android)
Regular Solitaire boring? Looking for something with a bit more grit? Think today’s generation of Solitaire players have gone soft with their rock-n-roll music and walkmans, and long hair and bell bottoms? If yes, Churchill Solitaire is for you. Released in conjunction with Donald Rumsfeld of all of all people, Churchill Solitaire is a tough-as-nails iteration on the game.
Invented by Churchill during World War II, it comes two decks of cards to match and a diabolical set of cards known as 'Devil's Row'.
It also is a bit educational, each new challenge comes with a bit of Churchill history, an upgraded rank based on military command, and the promise of a hardcore challenge.
Churchill Solitaire will certainly make some players wish they never enlisted.
3. Miracle Merchant (1.99 – iOS / Android)
Miracle Merchant is…weird. It’s sort of like a mix between a tycoon / business management game and, you guessed it, Solitaire.
According to the developer, “In Miracle Merchant you become the apprentice of a master alchemist who creates potions for thirsty adventurers. By mixing and combining different ingredient cards you create powerful potions based on the needs of your customers.”
If that sounds confusing, it’s only because it is. Miracle Merchant is a game that’s hard to describe but wonderfully engaging and addictive to play. With five star reviews from outlets like Pocket Tactics and Touch Arcade – it’s actually in contention for Mobile game of the year.
The way it works is a customer comes into your shop, and you need to brew a potion for that customer by matching cards that serve as your ingredients. The better you match and the longer you go, the stronger the potion and more satisfied the customer.
Critically acclaimed for its gameplay and artwork, Miracle Merchant does what mobile games do best, deliver an easy-to-play concept with head-scratching challenge.
(A special note goes the artwork, which is out-of-this-world bizarre in the best way.)
4. Fairway Solitaire. (Free – iOS / Android)
This article was delayed significantly due to the machinations of Fairway Solitaire. Deciding to check it out on my web browser, I went through seven ‘holes’ before I knew what hit me. It is that good.
When people talk casual gaming, especially journalists in the gaming sphere, it’s sometimes done with a bit of a turned up nose. That casual games are okay for plebeians, but ‘hardcore’ gamers have better things to do with their time.
Speaking as a hardcore gamer I can confidently state a game hasn’t grabbed me this strongly in a very, very, long time. No loading screens. No DLC. No poorly acted cut-scenes or samey pop-and-shoot gameplay – just bliss.
Play this game now.
Fairway Solitaire delivers purity of thought – combining Solitaire’s matching with golf’s stroke system, and a creative batch of card arrangements to present a Solitaire game that gives the original Solitaire, played by so many on Windows 95, 98, XP, and on their phones and in their homes, a run for its money – and in my opinion, wins.
If you consider yourself fond of solitaire, and find the…cosmic nature of Miracle Merchant or Solitarica a bit off putting, this is the Solitaire game for you.
It’s a whole new challenge in familiar shoes. It works like this: cards are spread out on the board in a variety of arrangements. Some are blocked by top cards you need to match first. In other courses there’s a row of cards to the right that only turns over after you match a certain amount of cards.
Every time you can’t make a match and need to draw, that’s a stroke. If you can match all the cards without drawing once, that’s a hole-in-one. ‘par’ for a course is determined by how difficult the challenge will be. As time goes on you gain clubs that serve as backup matches, and can take a mulligan occasionally too.
If you haven’t tried this one, play it now on your phone, or in browser. It’s free and the number one Solitaire game on mobile – and should have a place on your home screen for all of life’s little gaming breaks.