Developer: Parachuting Frog
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Minimalism is perhaps the theme of the past year, in indie gaming at least: more games than ever seem to want to strip themselves down to the bare essentials. Solisqr perhaps can claim the throne of most stripped-down game yet.

Solisqr-2Solisqr-4Built around the idea of peg solitaire, where players must jump one peg over another to try and leave only one peg left, this takes place with squares on a cross-shaped grid. A square can jump over an adjacent square if there’s a blank square past that adjacent square. This eliminates the jumped-over square. There are 32 squares on the board, and the goal is to leave just one remaining.

That’s it. That’s the entire game. It’s a classic, basic game, with barely any bells and whistles. It’s peg solitaire but in iOS form. There are multiple game modes: the standard mode and a timed one that forces players to work in decreasing amounts of time. Of course, the timed mode and its additional difficulties reward players who have mastered the game. The challenge is to not just do random moves, but to come up with a plan as to how each move will affect the next one. The timed modes can start to affect that careful thinking by putting the ticking timer there. This is all a classic game idea played for (probably) centuries but hey, it’s on iOS, and setting the pegs back up is easier, I suppose.

Solisqr-3Solisqr-5But really, this is minimalism taken to its extreme, and I do feel like I’m perhaps talking myself into making Solisqr something bigger than it actually is. It’s peg solitare with occasional advertisements that can be bought out of. There’s a claim to trying to fit the iOS 7 aesthetic, but there’s just something intangible about it that makes it an odd fit – perhaps the thick borders around the squares? I get what the creators were going for, I just don’t think it quite does its job.

Really, Solisqr is not a bad game, it’s just reduced down to its absolute basics with nothing more really added on. It’s a free download, and may be a good thing to send one’s parents to pass the time when they run out of lives on Candy Crush Saga.


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