App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Mobile games really don't need to be deep. It's nice when they are (while still respecting the limitations of the platform), but also sometimes you just want a nice thing to do that isn't doomscrolling and provides some decent amount of entertainment value. This is the space that Solquence plays in. There's a little bit to it, but more than that it's a nice meditative experience that can stretch on and on whenever you need a nice little break on your phone.
Match-three of a kind
Solquence is a matching puzzle game that mixes elements of traditional match-three games with Poker. On a rather sizeable grid, you are tasked with placing (mostly) traditional playing cards and trying to form matches based on Poker hands like straights, flushes, pairs, and triples. Matching cards clears them off the board and adds to your score, and you proceed in this fashion until you fill up your entire grid and can't place any more cards.
To add some complexity to this, Solquence has some additional rules around forcing you to only place cards that are adjacent to ones already placed on the board, wild cards, and death cards that get added to the grid if you can't fully clear the board by the time you reach the end of a deck. This makes for a game where you're constantly managing board space while also looking out for opportunities to score big.
With such a large game board (it's a 7x7 grid), it usually takes a long time before Solquence starts feeling like a challenge. Runs may go hours and score up into the hundreds of thousands while your game screen still looks fairly empty. If you fail to clear the board by the end of a level, you get random penalty cards added to your grid, but all of these are generally pretty easy to manage considering Solquence allows you to clear cards by matching single pairs.
This makes Solquence much less of a highly repeatable challenge and more about seeing just how far you can take its almost meditative gameplay. In my time with it, I rarely looked at my score and was perfectly happy just continuing to make matches, line up a rows of death cards, and wipe them out with opportune draws of the sun card (the only thing that can remove death cards from your board).
Outside of the game's only real mode, Solquence offers a few different card backs to change up the scenery a little bit and tracks your high scores between runs. It is no fancier than that, though. High scores aren't even tracked on any kind of online leaderboard. It's just a record of your own scores.
While I appreciate this kind of stripped down design, I do think there's enough to Solquence's core that its single mode doesn't quite fully realize the potential that is there. Having some kind of rule customization to modify the challenge or perhaps different board sizes could go a long way in adding some variety, and that's not to mention the omissions of pretty obvious standard features like online leaderboards or a daily challenge.
The bottom line
Solquence offers a clever and meditative puzzle experience that will rarely challenge you. There's something really nice about that, but it's hard not to think about the other ways its gameplay formula could be adjusted to inject a little more excitement into it.