Developer: Simple Machine
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

4 Thrones is an immensely simple solitaire game with a beguiling minimalist style. There’s no hope of it convincing naysayers but card game fans will revel in the surprising strategical depths within.

The appearance of 4 Thrones manages to blend in so easily into the iOS 7 look we’ll all be used to soon, while remaining striking. Such minimalism continues in the controls; with single taps dictating everything from placing a card to being provided with hints. There’s no need for drag and drop here, and 4 Thrones is all the simpler for it.

4thrones54thronesWhat’s not so simple are the strategies required in order to succeed. In each game mode, players are presented with four cards presented in a square formation. They must place higher cards from the stack on top of one of the four piles in order to clear it. Some pertinent rules play a significant part in enhancing the strategy, however. Any card can be placed on top of a jack, for instance, while a queen needs a heart or diamond to be placed on top of it, and the king is restricted to spades only. Ace cards can be either the highest or lowest, and players are given three skip moves to help them along the way.

Combined, that rule set is quite the challenge, but as with the best solitaire games, immensely satisfying to beat. A Kings mode, requiring one or more Kings to be in play in order to gain points, adds to the options as well as an Endless mode to compete against.

A purist’s delight, 4 Thrones is ever steady in offering enjoyment to card game fans. A trickle of new themes unlock the more that one plays, offering a relatively minor yet oddly attractive reason to keep on playing. 4 Thrones is easily the kind of game to pass the time with whenever there’s a spare five minutes in the day. It’s quite delightful.

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