Everything’s better under the sea, though as far as underwater Solitaire goes, that might be a matter of opinion

Before the advent of the Internet, slackers relied on Windows’ built-in solitaire game as a time-killer at work. Some years later, Facebook rose up and let the world’s office-bound population whittle away the hours with pictures of distant relatives’ babies and cats.

PopCap has since bred solitaire with Facebook, and plans to unleash the offspring in March 2012. Coming in April 2012: a giant mushroom cloud that contains the remnants of America’s productivity.

Solitaire Blitz

The core rules that govern the Solitaire Blitz beta should be familiar for solitaire lovers, though there are definite differences. Whereas traditional solitaire is a meandering game, Solitaire Blitz urges you to clear columns as quickly as possible, giving you a mere minute to do so. How quickly can your mind process numbers? You’ll find out after a couple of games.

True to Facebook gaming tradition, you can purchase items to extend your time, or otherwise give you an edge. Said items are bought with silver pieces, which you win after every game you play (clearing columns in Solitaire Blitz unveils sunken treasure, which can be “sold” for more silver pieces). If you’re not winning enough silver to buy the swag you need, you can purchase more with Facebook credits. Only in the digital realm can something like Facebook credits ever be considered more valuable than silver pieces.

Solitaire Blitz

You can also use Facebook credits to pimp your card deck, thereby turning the generic crab artwork on the backside to something a little more hardcore, like a snake, a unicorn, or a kitten. Said artwork may clash with the game’s sea-theme, though, which includes ships, cutesy worms on hooks (which get progressively more paranoid as time runs out), and a wave that clears each game with a satisfying smash when your time’s up.

Even though it’s in its beta stage, Solitaire Blitz is a fun and fast-paced take on an old classic, and compliments PopCap’s already-excellent Facebook game library. The addition of microtransactions won’t suit everyone, but at this point, they’re certainly easy enough to ignore. And while playing solitaire with a time limit will certainly gross some people out, there’s an alternative: Start > Programs > Games > Solitaire. Beauty!