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5-in-1 Solitaire - WiiWare Review

Game Info
5-in-1 Solitaire

WiiWare | Digital Leisure | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
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10th March 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

After re-releasing Fast Draw Showdown, Digital Leisure's has decided to develop a new game in-house known as 5-in-1 Solitaire. Released on both of Nintendo's digital download services, it's very interesting to see how the same title can be judged in two completely different ways. In sharp contrast to its portable counterpart, not only is there nothing special about the WiiWare version of 5-in-1 Solitaire, but under almost all circumstances, points are much better spent elsewhere.

    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. Golf, for example, plays out almost like a single-player version of Speed/Spit, and it's actually fun with a hint of strategy. 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.

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. Thanks to these tutorials, the game becomes that much more user-friendly to those who may have never played certain Solitaire games before. Moreover, 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. Although the game does lack the ability to change the difficulty, the amount of customization available certainly makes up for this omission.

Gameplay is as simple as clicking and dragging your Wii Remote to select and move cards around. The white bar at the top of the 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. It's activated simply by placing your cursor over the card in question and pressing the A button. Clicking the "Undo" button near the top-right will allow you to go back a few steps, and the "Pause" button in the top-left will bring 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. This home console release does work pretty well, but because most are used to playing this solo time waster on their computer, it isn't as good of a fit as it might sound.

    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 a whole, the design aspect is fairly decent. From the layouts of the menus, to the green background, almost everything in the game is 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. It's great that the developers came up with a new track rather than re-using old material like in the DSiWare version, but some will quickly find it annoying. 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. 

5-in-1 Solitaire contains a good amount of replay value, even beyond the obvious reasons. 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. Even with the added reason to return, though, the home console release isn't a very strong release to begin with, and therein lies the biggest issue with the game. Although there may be a select few who would give this a go, many would much rather settle for playing on the computer instead. The number of potential sales decreases even further when you put DSi-owners into the equation, as they'll quickly realize that the DSiWare version is a much, much better purchase.

    Because Solitaire is so readily available on so many other mediums, it's understandable why someone would hesitate to pick this up. Don't dismiss that gut feeling because although the DSiWare version is most certainly worth purchasing, this version is not. 5-in-1 Solitaire may be only $5 but you really have to ask yourself if you'd really want to give this a go when you could play it in so many other forms for a better deal. If for some reason you actually do want to play Solitaire on your Wii, then for now, this is the way to go. Otherwise, there's nothing special about the game that would make it a worthwhile purchase.

18/30 - Below Average

Gameplay 7/10 - Works better on DSi/PC, useful Autoplay feature, traditional Solitaire, Golf is a lot of fun, Gaps is a love/hate sort of thing
Presentation 6/10 - 
Gets the job done as per usual, new music track but it repeats constantly, can get annoying
Enjoyment 2/5 - 
Solitaire isn't something all will like, playing on Wii isn't as enjoyable especially with such a basic presentation focus
Extra Content 3/5 - Five
 games, not exactly great value for 500 points, stats and high-scores, customizable settings, can't change difficulty level

Equivalent to a score of 60% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

5-in-1 Solitaire (WiiWare)
Review | Screenshot gallery | Trailer | Preview | Feature | Interview

Related Game
5-in-1 Solitaire (DSiWare)
Review | Screenshot gallery | Trailer | Preview | Feature | Interview

Review by KnucklesSonic8  |  How we rate games

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