App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Solitaire used to be the king of phone gaming. Heck, even before that it was the king of computer games for a time. Fox Solitaire is a new variant on this classic game that tries to reinvent it into a more strategic experience, all while looking nice and sophisticated. While it does have its moments of fun, Fox Solitaire's take on the original doesn't necessarily feel like an improvement.
The most immediate difference between Solitaire and Fox Solitaire is that the fox variety is played with a modified deck of cards. Instead of four suits, there are three, and there are no face cards in the deck at all.
Further, the game is structured differently, with two rows of three cards being the main play field with a face-up deck being your supply of cards to play from. The goal of Fox Solitaire is to get as many cards from the deck on top of other cards onto the play field before running out of moves.
To place cards ontop of other ones, they must be a different suit and have only a one number distance between the two cards. This means that a red three can be played on a purple or yellow two or four, but not on any other cards. When you reach an ace or a two, you can place a two or ace of a different color on top of those respectively.
Fox Solitaire might sound like a complicated Solitaire variant, but it's actually very easy to pick up, to the point that I completely knew what I was doing before the end of my first round. Part of this has a lot to do with the game's design, which focuses on presenting clean, easy-to-read cards against a nice, dark green background.
Speaking of aesthetics, the card designs in Fox Solitaire are completely beautiful, and the whole audio/visual experience that the game puts forth is quite calming.
Hunting for hands
As nice as Fox Solitaire's presentation is, I'm not so sure I love its difficulty. Even though the game is easy to pick up and play, it's awfully hard to finish a game and post a score. Even if you are playing carefully, one bad draw can stop you in your tracks. There are even times when you might get dealt a hand that has no valid moves in it from the jump, which ends your play session before it even begins.
Fox Solitaire's free-to-play model involves serving ads between rounds, which is a fairly standard practice, but can make things even more frustrating when Fox Solitaire throws several tough decks at you in a row.
The bottom line
Fox Solitaire is a neat idea for a variant on Solitaire, but it doesn't feel like one that has been completely fleshed out yet. It's crazy difficulty and randomness run counter to the rest of the game's soothing and classy appearance. With this being the case, it's safe to say that in Fox Solitaire's shot at Solitaire feels like a miss.