The kingdom is in trouble! Quick, grab a deck of cards and start playing solitaire! Believe it or not, that’s the way to win in The Far Kingdoms: Forgotten Relics, a fantasy themed solitaire game that sends you on an adventure to save the world. If only real life were that interesting, maybe we’d go outside a little more often.
The story in The Far Kingdoms is largely forgettable, which is totally fine for a card game. All you need to know is there’s a terrifying monster running around, and the kingdom’s relics have been stolen. Getting those relics back is half the reason you’re playing cards (the other half is because it’s fun). Some relics will be earned back in pieces as you progress through the levels, others by completing special challenge stages that unlock at intervals.
The bulk of Forgotten Relics’ gameplay will be instantly familiar to casual solitaire players. An arrangement of cards appears at the top of the screen, with only the free cards turned face up. The deck flips over one card at a time. You can click and collect cards one higher or one lower than the deck card, slowly unveiling more cards as you pick them off the arrangement.
There are a couple of resources you’ll collect while playing The Far Kingdoms. The first are crystals, little blue cards you’ll stockpile to help upgrade your kingdom between levels. Gold is used to purchase item perks you can use during each match, things like extra undos, bonus jokers, or extra cards in the deck to help you out of a bind. One of the more entertaining ways to earn coins is by completing short hidden object scenes that appear when opening a chest. Just find the treasure card in a stage and give it a click.
A couple of gameplay features makes Forgotten Relics a really interesting play. True to the fantasy theme, you’ll occasionally come across cards held in place by greenery or stones. To get rid of the greenery, remove cards and uncover the sword to chop it away. For the stones, locate a hammer and give it a whack. You’ll also find combo locked cards that will only turn over once you’ve made a combo matching the number on the face. Those can be really tricky to nab, but they often mean the difference between winning or losing a hand.
It’s tough to make a solitaire game stand out these days, but Forgotten Relics pulls it off. The game is attractive and easy to play, challenging, forgiving, and filled with surprises. The puzzle levels are a great change of pace from the combo-centric main game, and every time you stumble across a hidden object scene, you remember why you’re so addicted to this game.