App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Now, I've played a decent amount of solitaire since my youth. Probably more than was typical for a high school student, now that I think about it. And yet, I've never heard of Four Seasons (or Corner Card or Vanishing Cross for that matter) before. Now I have, thanks to Sprightly Software, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that.
The rules of Four Seasons are simp... they're pretty eas... Okay, I honestly had no idea what I was doing at first. The built-in guide is a nice idea, but a text-based description of (in my opinion) a rather complicated card game just doesn't cut it. Learning by doing, on the other hand, made sense. Essentially, there's a 3X3 grid. Each suit has to be stacked in ascending order in one of the corners to win. The other 5 spots (the "cross" in the middle) are used to house cards until they can be tossed into the corners. These are stacked in the opposite direction (descending order), but can fluctuate between any of the four suits. Sounds simple, right? Yeah, I didn't think so, either, but it makes more sense after a few dry runs.
As with just about any single-player card game involving a deck of playing cards, Four Seasons can make time take on a somewhat mushy quality. I've almost missed my stop during my morning commute on at least three separate occasions since I've started playing it. It's also not a pain to play, with touch controls that respond very well and a handy "shading" effect that kicks in when a selected card can be placed somewhere. It really helped when I was first learning the ropes.
On the flipside, it's a solo card game. It's not exactly exciting for those who aren't "into" games like this. I've also noticed an oddity where my score is never saved. I'll play until I get stuck, then start a new game, but it always tells me my best score is "0." Finally, the one time (so far) that I've actually won a game (a feat I've yet to accomplish a second time) the app crashed. Kind of a bummer.
As it would be with any game of solitaire, I can't really claim that Four Seasons will win anyone over who isn't already something resembling a fan. It's not flashy or exciting in the least. But even though it has a decidedly utilitarian presentation, it's still a fun game of solitaire for the solitaire enthusiast. So, have a thing for numerically organizing playing cards? Then check out Four Seasons for something a bit more complex than the standard offerings.