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'Soltrio Solitaire' Review (Xbox 360)


SolitaireAnd Solitaire's the only game in town. And every road that takes him, takes him down. And by himself, it's easy to pretend, he'll never love again. And keeping to himself he plays the game. Without her love it always ends the same. While life goes on around him everywhere. He's playing Solitaire. Ah yes, don't you just love music quotes? Perhaps the only thing I love more is good games, and thankfully Soltrio Solitaire brings the lonely to the Xbox 360 in just that.

As if you couldn't tell by the name of the game, Soltrio Solitaire is a (dum dum dummmm) solitaire game. Solitaire is the popular card game of choice for those isolated in a prison cell, confined to an office cubicle, or sitting all at home by themselves on a Friday night. For that matter, you can probably find a game on your computer, just by heading towards the start menu. So why should you pay the points to download this game?

Much to my surprise, I was pretty taken aback when I opened the game and saw just how many different solitaire game choices there are. Since I've only ever played solitaire on the computer game provided free of charge, I always thought solitaire pertained to Klondike 3 and Klondike 3 only. Given that, it was quite joyful to fire the game up and see all the different solitaire versions that are in the game. Besides the Klondike 3 I was already familiar with and the Freecell that also appears on my computer (though I never played much of it), there are also versions of 3 Shuffles and a Draw, Aces Up, Archway, Backbone, Easthaven, Forty Thieves, Grandfather's Clock, Matrimony, Memory, Montana, Sea Towers, Spider 1 Suit, Super Flower Garden, and Zodiac. After looking at them, the only other game I'd ever played was Memory, which I'm not even quite sure is a genuine form of solitaire if you ask me. Regardless, if you're a fan of solitaire, there just has to be a version here that you'll enjoy, even if some of them get more play while others very little.

The main modes are a Classic Mode and Voyage Mode. The Classic Mode is pretty simple, as all it contains are straight versions of the solitaire games, where you pick what game you want to attempt, and then play it. By playing your game successfully, you'll get points for matches like stacking cards on the aces (Klondike 3 I'm assuming you're playing) and then you can post that to Xbox Live. The other mode is the Voyage Mode, where you'll journey across an island land, where every stop you land at requires three wins to fully unlock the destination so that you can move to the next section and unlock card pieces. One thing disappointing about the mode is that it doesn't force you to play specific versions of solitaire to succeed and move on. Instead, you can pick whichever version you like, and just play it over and over to unlock everything. While the ability to play any game you want to move on is great if you find the other versions difficult, it doesn't help you appreciate the other versions anymore.

SoltrioControl is really easy, which is what you'd expect from the card game. From beginning to end, all you really need to use is the left thumbstick and the A-button to move cards around and place them on piles. For each mode, you can also press the Right Bumper to bring up a little guide, which tells you the basics of the game and what you need to do to place cards properly and to score points. The Right Bumper is all but essential when it comes to first playing a game you've never heard of or played before in your life. The game also has a quick quit should you find yourself stuck by one of the games, plus the ability to get hints on what to do next should you not see the proper move. The only problem with the hint system is that it never seems to know when you are officially stumped and can't move forward anymore, as it will suggest you to keep flipping cards even though doing that won't help you.

Another thing that is nice about the game is the customization of the cards, such as being able to choose the backing of your card and the illustrations on the cards that represent the Kings, Queens, and Jacks. As mentioned about the Voyage Mode, by unlocking each of the three treasure chests at each point, you unlock parts and pieces that you can use to deck out your own lovely backing that you can play with during your games. For instance, I took a nice curly border, put a sun splash I unlocked in the middle, and then a fair maiden looking off into the distance as if she was waiting for someone to come cover the horizon. Yeah, I'm a true artist.

The game also features an obligatory online mode over Xbox Live, which kind of negates the purpose of solitaire in the first place, namely being that you play the game in solitary (aka alone)! In the online mode you'll either work with someone else to take turns beating games or either play against each other to try and best them at the matching game. The modes are okay, but not really the real heart of the matter. The graphics are simple yet charming, thanks mostly to the lovely island setting of the Voyage Mode. Much like the graphics, the sound work is also pretty lovely and soothing though it is pretty miniscule and not there much besides the thudding of cards flipping around.

In the end, though some missteps, Soltrio Solitaire is still a solid card game. Solitaire is usually a game best served at the computer, for those moments when you just feel like procrastinating, but hey, if you are chilling on your couch with your controller in hand, why not flip on over and fire up a game of Soltrio Solitaire.

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