Developer: funkitron
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.6.39
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

I recently reviewed another one of funkitron’s interesting genre mash ups (Word Bird), and came away very impressed. Solitaire Kingdom Supreme Is actually the word game’s elder, in a way. It came first, and a number of its mechanics made their way into the newer title. As such, there are a number of familiar elements at work here that make this older game just as enthralling as its progeny, but it is an older game.

Solitaire Kingdom Supreme is a game of Klondike Solitaire with a couple of significant twists. First, there are way more than 52 cards in this deck. Sprinkled throughout various piles and draws are treasure cards and secret keys that are required to unlock new features or simply boost scores. Second, every time a particular milestone is reached (play X number of games, etc) a new special card is unlocked. These special cards can have a significant impact on a given game by way of reshuffling a bad initial hand, supplying more treasure, highlighting legal moves for a certain amount of time, and more. It’s certainly not a typical game of solitaire.

I’ve always found Klondike Solitaire to be a great fallback game when I’m on the train or otherwise unsure of what to do with myself. That said, taking the classic formula and infusing it with a kind of arcade-like progression and daily challenges (daily challenges!) is a brilliant “why has no one thought of this before” kind of move. I love playing basic solitaire, but I apparently love playing basic solitaire with customizable special conditions, hidden treasures, and unlockable features a whole lot more.

As I’ve already mentioned, however, Solitaire Kingdom Supreme is an older game. Despite being incredibly fun to play there are some aspects of the presentation that are noticeably lacking when compared to funkitron’s newer title. In other words, it looks a little bland for the most part. The character portraits are nice enough, but the cards and card backs are all pretty underwhelming. I’ve also had a couple of problems with the “tap to automatically place a card” mechanic, which is supposed to make tossing cards on top of other appropriate cards easier. It does, but only if there’s a single spot for the tapped card to go otherwise it’ll probably go in the “wrong” spot. Typically this means I’ll tap on, say, a 3 of hearts with the intention of placing it on the table on top of a 4 of clubs, but when there’s a 2 of hearts sitting on top of the foundation it goes there instead. Which means -500 points for undoing the move and I lose my speed multiplier. [EDIT: I’ve learned that a follow-up tap will actually move the card to its next possible legal destination in the “lineup,” thus allowing players to still place a card where they want quickly and actually accurately. However this isn’t something that’s readily apparent so I guess the issue now is “It’s a thing no one knows about.”]

Solitaire Kingdom Supreme isn’t perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun. Anybody who enjoys a good game of solitaire shouldn’t miss it. Heck, everyone should probably give it a shot, too.

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