Solitairica dumps you in cartoonish mudpit Myriodd, trudging towards a castle owned by the Emperor Stuck, who, being an evil despot, has stolen all the hearts from the land.

Deciding Myriodd needs a hero and Stuck needs a good kicking, you set out to do battle, armed with a deck of cards. You might think: hang on – presumably in this mystical world, your path will be blocked by all manner of nasty critters? And you’d be right. 

You might then quite reasonably assume that you’d perhaps be better armed with, say, a massive sword than something better suited to a game of snap?

Card sharp

No, as it turns out. Myriodd is a strange place, and all battles take place with the heroes partaking in a stripped-down version of card classic solitaire. You clear cards from the board by matching those one higher or lower than the current card in the draw pile - if you’ve ever played the entertaining Fairway Solitaire, same thing.

Get lucky and you can chain strings of cards, clearing the board quite rapidly and easily defeating your foe. If not, they’ll get a chance to draw a card, which might subsequently involve them getting stabby with a stick, randomising your cards, or, in some cases, making face-up cards grow massive beards. Because if fantasy worlds have taught us anything, it’s that the beard is mightier than the sword.

Fortunately, you can fight back. Cards drawn or removed award you with one of four energies: attack, defence, agility and willpower. With enough energy, you can trigger spells you hold, which can slice through cards, temporarily stun your enemy, restore health, and more.

Magic tricks

The key to success hinges on removing cards as quickly as possible, while also keeping your enemy at bay through careful use of these spells. Over time, you’ll figure out the weaknesses of individual creatures and can tailor your spells to suit, buying new ones from the in-game store between battles.

The set-up is one that could have been exploitative freemium hell, but Solitairica has no truck with that. There’s no IAP – you just work with whatever coins you’ve collected from gold cards during your current quest.

You do, however, acquire gems should you be horribly killed, which can be used to buy new characters with different skills, or permanently power-up an existing one, so you've got a better chance next time round.

Being a card game, there’s some reliance on luck, which can prove frustrating; and unless you’re a bit rubbish and die very quickly, quests typically take a good long while. But the resume system is seemingly bulletproof, so you can duff an enemy up, do something else with your phone for a bit, and safely return to your quest at a later point.

Chances are, you will – often – because Myriodd’s oddball charms make for a breezy, entertaining and intuitive mobile game with enough depth to keep you hooked.

Solitairica is available for iOS. An Android version is due later in 2016. A version for PC/Mac is already on Steam, for RM27.

Stuff says... 

App of the week: Solitairica review

An entertaining, lively card game with a smattering of RPG depth. Great for casual play or those in it for the long haul.
RM17
Good Stuff 
Bright and breezy visuals and attitude
Easy to get into but with enough depth for long-term play
Extremely robust resume-game system
Bad Stuff 
A bit too reliant on luck
Early rounds can become a grind

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