Developer: Big Fish Games
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

One of the iOS games I often find myself returning to is Fairway Solitaire, an addictive card game based around golf solitaire. It’s been a mainstay on my iPhone since launch so the prospect of a new title in the series, Fairway Solitaire Blast, got me pretty excited. This new installment is more freemium-focused, more reminiscent of King’s selection of titles, and currently lacks a certain amount of the ‘wow’ factor.

fairwayblast4Working on a level-by-level basis with a structure very similar to the mighty Candy Crush Saga et al, Fairway Solitaire Blast leads players down a path of increasingly tricky challenges. At first, players simply progress by clearing all the cards across three holes of each course (or level), but as they move through these stages other requirements emerge. Clearing 10 face cards in a row might be one such challenge, while others might require the player to clear 10 cards, each alternating in color, in order to progress.

There’s a certain amount of trial and error to Fairway Solitaire Blast, with the game clearly aimed towards encouraging players to spend money to progress faster. 5 lives are given to the player with one lost each time they fail a stage, and lives renew after a set period of time. Power-ups can be gained occasionally, helping one’s chances, but they can also be bought via an in-app purchase. Ever tantalizing is the option to buy five extra cards at the end of a round, which is pretty tempting when there’s only one card left on the board.

fairwayblast2Such in-app purchases aren’t hugely intrusive but they are there to remind players of the shift in freemium game mechanics, restricting their option to play for as long as they might like. The biggest issue with Fairway Solitaire Blast though is its lack of depth. It doesn’t yet have the wealth of content that its predecessor provides. Given the regular support that Fairway Solitaire has enjoyed, I suspect it’s only a matter of time until Fairway Solitaire Blast offers similar.

For now though, Fairway Solitaire Blast is a fun change for solitaire fans, but not quite as essential as its earlier outing.


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