If you think Windows Solitaire is as good as it gets, wait ’til you click through Dream Vacation Solitaire.
Rather than play your favorite solitaire card games against a plain green background, this digital diversion lets you set sail throughout the world and travel to five beautiful destinations – Bora-Bora, Barbados, Fregate Island, Dubai and Monaco – as you tackle 30 different solitaire games in total.
Not only will you learn a slew of new games to play (don’t worry, each one contains optional instructions, visual help and hints), but you’ll also learn new variations of the solitaire games you know and love, be it Klondike, Pyramid, Spider or FreeCell.
In the main Vacation mode, the game begins on the Pacific’s tiny Bora-Bora Island; behind the cards is straw-topped hut, mountains, indigenous flowers and bright blue water that drifts slowly along (with the occasional windsurfer, too).
Relaxing music plays in the background, plus you’ll hear birds and waves crashing against the shore. In fact, at any time you can click the Relax button in the top right-hand corner of the screen, which melts away the cards so you can soak up the unobstructed scenery.
At least three of the six levels in Bora-Bora must be completed to unlock Barbados; most of these initial levels feature variations of the most popular kind of solitaire – Klondike – with slightly different rules and layouts for Blind Alleys, Steps and Australian, for example.
To play Klondike, if you recall, players must place cards with alternating colors (red and black) in descending order down seven columns. Therefore, a 10 of Clubs can be placed on a Jack of Diamonds or Jack of Hearts. Then, a Nine of Diamonds, for instance, can be placed on the 10 of Clubs. Four Foundation piles are at the top of the screen, where cards must be stacked in ascending order, and according to suit. The goal is to flip cards from the Stock pile and play them on the board; the game is won if all cards are properly stacked in four Foundation piles at the top of the screen, from Ace to King.
One of the neat features not found in other downloadable solitaire card games are power-ups you can unlock by playing well. Lined at the top of the screen, these icons include the ability to: reveal a closed card; swap a card with one in the Stock pile; take away one card to the Stock pile; take away two nearby cards to the Stock pile; and take away a column of cards to the Stock pile. Players can also click on the Undo icon in case you need to correct a mistake or oversight.
Along with racking up points for the High Score board, players can also earn collectible medals (bronze, silver and gold) and trophies, such as Thumb of Poseidon (for earning three gold medals in a row) and Flame of Passion (for finishing all regular levels with a gold rating). Players can also unlock bigger and better yachts to sail in style to the next location, which makes your initial 113-inch Quick Trot sailboat seem like a glorified bathtub.
Because of the sheer number of solitaire types, Dream Vacation Solitaire scores high in its replayability. The Classic mode also lets gamers play any level in any order they choose.
Dream Vacation Solitaire is a relaxing, educational and entertaining package all rolled into one – even if you don’t know the difference between Yin-Yang, Spider Tarantula or Big Forty.