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If you think about it, Computer Solitaire really was the first “casual” gaming experience that appeared on the scene in 1990 and destroying office productivity in its wake. Originally programmed for Microsoft Windows 3.0 (and every Windows Operating System release since) by then intern Wes Cherry, who reportedly never received any royalties, Computer Solitaire has continued to be a mainstay of casual gamers and bored office workers to this day. So it’s no surprise it would finally make its way into the 21st century in a new 3D form on the 3DS.
3D Solitaire is available today in North America in the Nintendo eShop for $2.99. It might also be a surprise that it was developed by ZEN Studios, the same folks who released the highly regarded Zen Pinball and Marvel Pinball. In fact, that is the one big reason I snagged this one on launch day. Whether it’s a polished and highly detailed game of silverball or a mellow solo game of cards one thing is for sure, ZEN knows 3D. I won’t bore you all with the instructions to Solitaire but will focus simply on the 3DS game mechanics, graphics and overall production value.
Starting with the games intro splash screen, ZEN’s 3D popping graphics are breathtaking with a cascading shower of falling cards accompanied by soothing music. You can tell this is going to be something special, even if it is just Solitaire. Firing up the game you can choose one of two control methods which also dictates which screen you will be playing on. Choose the stylus method and you will be playing cards on the bottom screen and manipulating the cards by dragging them around with the stylus. Choose the d-pad and you will be playing Solitaire in the top 3D screen and moving a 3D hand around with the d-pad and placing the cards by tapping the A button.
In either case there are four different backgrounds that float behind the cards including Lost City, Atlantis, Jungle and a user photo. The backgrounds are soothing and cool to see as a backdrop to the card game and are populated with everything from roaming lizards, butterflys and monkeys to a variety of fish meandering behind your cards like a virtual fish tank.
In addition to simply playing Solitaire with a goal to account for all the cards in their correct rows and piles the game also rewards points for various card turning and placing prowess all adding up to higher and higher scores which are saved in the high score area. 3D Solitaire lets you choose only 1 or 3 card Klondike but let’s face it, those are the best Solitaire games to play, at least in my mind. The game keeps track of the # of moves you take to complete the game as well as the total completion time. It will even give you a hint if you need it. The music and sound does what it should and that is to create a ZEN like relaxing game of zoned out Solitaire. 3D Solitaire get’s everything right and is a bargain for the $2.99 asking price.
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