Hades loves to brag. Lately, he’s been boasting about his fantastic solitaire skills and the Goddesses have grown tired of listening to him! They tell him that even a lowly mortal would offer him a challenge, to which he responds by locking the Goddesses up and leaving them there until a mortal can beat him at the game. Aphrodite may not be amused, but I thought the story line was funny – Hades, great God of the Underworld has nothing better to do than challenge people to beat him at solitaire! In case you haven’t guessed, you are the lucky mortal that has to battle Hades and beat him in order to free the trapped Goddesses in Greek Goddesses of Solitaire.

The story mode takes you through a series of levels, each featuring a different solitaire game such as Tri Peaks, Spider Solitaire and other common variations, punctuated by mini-games that appear every so often called “Hades Challenges.” No on-screen instructions are given for the challenge levels, however, once the game begins, it’s easy enough to figure out.

Although seasoned solitaire players won’t have much trouble with the different games, new players might be a bit overwhelmed by the number of variations and the lack of any interactive tutorials. The “help” button will definitely come in useful here.

Each level can be won by earning a certain amount of points as opposed to actually winning the hand. Once you have earned enough points to beat Hades, you can either elect to finish the hand or continue to the next level. I frequently found myself just getting into the swing of each hand when I had earned enough points and was prompted to continue on.

One nice feature I noticed was that you can quit in the middle of a hand and the game will save your progress. You can choose to continue or re-deal the hand once you return to the game.

Generous amounts of hints can be gained by clicking on the image of Hermes that flies randomly across the screen. If you catch him, you will win a hint feather that can be used if you get stuck. In fact, this flying Hermes is nearly impossible to miss and even a bit disruptive at times.

The game offers a Free Play mode in which you can access and play any of the games, without needing to complete them in order. There is also an option to choose from a small selection of decks. There are no difficulty settings available in either mode of play.

The game’s mechanics and controls are easy to learn, though finicky. I found myself having to click on cards repeatedly to select them and they would often “drop” unexpectedly when trying to drag them to new positions. No on-screen tips, hints or instructions are given for the game’s controls and there are no right-click or double-click options available.

No interactive tutorials or even on-screen explanations are offered for the different games, though there is a help file for each one that explains the very basic rules without many strategic hints or tips. The hints that can be earned in each level can be helpful if you are really stuck, but they will not help you learn how to play.

Another challenge with this game is the graphics. A stylized font was used to reflect the theme of the game, but is actually quite hard to read. The level background screens make the game seem cluttered and distract from the cards. The card faces themselves are a bit difficult to discern, even at full screen resolution. Similarly, the level map could be improved significantly with clearer graphics and goals.

There are so many quality solitaire game packs available nowadays that it has become increasingly challenging to produce a new and innovative twist on the old classics. When a game is developed using a very common and classic format, I hope to see fantastic graphics and engaging story lines at the very least. With its low production value and lack of any useful instruction, Greek Goddesses of Solitaire falls short of the mark on every count.

If you are a diehard solitaire fan and have to have every game that comes down the line, then it might be worth the download time. If not, I would pass this one by.