DSiWare | Digital Leisure | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 200 Nintendo Points
Related Game: 5-in-1 Solitaire (WiiWare) Review
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10th March 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
As the name suggests, the game contains 5 different versions of Solitaire, each equipped with its own set of customizable options. Klondike and Spider, the two traditional Solitaire games that you're likely familiar with are here. Even the complicated game of Freecell is included in the package as well. The other two games help round out the package, giving players fun gameplay experiences that they're probably not accustomed to playing.
Gaps involves moving cards strategically to fill gaps in 4 equal rows of cards, with the objective being to string a row of cards together in sequential order. Some will definitely stick with you, especially the more recognizable ones; yet, there will be one or two that you won't like as much.
Golf, for example, plays out almost like a single-player version of Speed/Spit, and it's actually fun with a hint of strategy.
If any of these games are new to you, there's a handy Tutorial feature that explains how to play each game in greater depth. Most of them feature good explanations and at certain points in the tutorials, the game will get you to perform an action to help the player understand a concept or technique. Unlike Sudoku Challenge (DSiWare) which didn't provide much help beyond the instruction guide, 5-in-1 Solitaire is actually very user-friendly. Players are able to customize gameplay according to the way they like it thanks to an assortment of settings available for each of the 5 games. Depending on the version of Solitaire you choose, you can toggle such settings as the number of cards drawn, the in-game timer, the Autoplay feature, and more. The game does lack the ability to change the difficulty like in Touch Solitaire, but the amount of customization available certainly makes up for this omission.
Gameplay is as simple as tapping and dragging your stylus on the screen to shuffle cards in place. Whilst the action takes place on the touch screen, the top screen will display the name of the game, the timer, the number of moves you've made, as well as the score you've obtained. The game also uses an Autoplay feature which instantly places cards in the correct place for you when the right opening is available. Unlike the WiiWare version which requires a button press for the feature to activate, here the game does it automatically for you at a quick pace, and it functions very intuitively. The A Button is used to Undo the last couple of actions, and the Start button brings up the in-game Pause Menu. You can pause and save your game at any time during gameplay and you can have up to 5 game saves, one for each version of Solitaire. Although you may be used to playing this solo time waster on your computer, the portability of this version lends itself to gameplay that feels right and works well for the handheld platform.
No matter which Solitaire variant you end up playing, the games do work as they should, bar a few exceptions. On select occasions, the Autoplay feature (when enabled) will not pick up on all of the cards in the current playing field that can be moved. What's more of a big deal, though, is the fact that in Klondike, any cards you place in the tableau area can't be removed. This is sure to surprise those who may at times use this area strategically to advance gameplay and if anything, it creates even more challenge. Still, the ability to take cards away from the tableau area at demand will likely be missed.
As per usual, simplicity is what the developers were going for with this release and as such, it would be silly to expect presentation to be on par with DSiWare games like Pop Island. Everything from the layouts of the menus, to the green background, and even the face cards are all executed in the simplest of terms, thereby avoiding any unnecessary distractions. Further on simplicity, the game suffers from the same culprit as most of Digital Leisure's other releases in that there's only one track in the entire game (and one from a previous release, no less). Because you'll be coming back a lot, having a selection of music tracks to choose from would've made the game more enjoyable for repeat play. Despite this, presentation does work well and the usage of the two screens is also quite effective.
5-in-1 Solitaire contains a good amount of replay value, even beyond the obvious reasons. Universally known to be a game that's meant to be played whenever you feel like killing some time, the game works really well as a portable release as you're able to just pick it up and get into it whenever you're in the mood. Each game keeps track of the number of wins and losses, your best score and time, and even the lowest number of moves made in a winning game. Although they may not be terribly deep indicatives of one's skill levels, having these stats gives players something to strive towards as they play each game. Had the game featured a series of unlockable card decks, this could have encouraged repeat play even further, but as is, it does a great job of getting the average player to come back again and again.
Because Solitaire is so readily available on so many other mediums, it's understandable why someone would hesitate to pick this up. However, the undeniable portability and accessibility of this release makes it worth getting. Even when compared with Touch Solitaire, the interface may not be as sleek, but there's definitely more on offer here in the way of content. You can't go wrong for only 200 Points, even if you're only a moderate fan of the game.
24/30 - Very Good
Gameplay 8/10 - Works really well on DSi, intuitive Autoplay feature, traditional Solitaire, Golf is a lot of fun, Gaps is a love/hate sort of thing
Presentation 7/10 - Simplicity works well here, interface not as smooth as Touch Solitaire but still better than passable, only one music track
Enjoyment 4/5 - Solitaire has never been a game that everyone will enjoy, those that do enjoy the game will find a lot to like about this
Extra Content 5/5 - 5 games in total, great value for only $2, stats and high-scores, customizable settings, can't change difficulty level
Equivalent to a score of 80% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)
Review by KnucklesSonic8 | How we rate games