If you’re bored to tears with Windows Solitaire, but still want to click through virtual decks of cards, consider downloading Koi Solitaire, the latest casual game download from Puzzle Labs.
Instead of playing another flat and lifeless game of Klondike, this new digital diversion offers a new spin on solitaire games – including the added pressure of time – along with a fun story and cute characters.
In a graphic novel-like fashion, Koi Solitaire introduces us to Jessica and her desire to start a Japanese garden business with a little help from some magic cards to grow the foliage. Every few levels or so gamers are treated to a new story sequence, but you certainly don’t need to follow along to understand the game.
The game-play works as follows: the game board, which is a different shape per level, has slots on it to lay down playing cards. The rules are that you can only place a card beside one in an ascending or descending order, so you can put a “9” down beside an “8” or “10,” but not a “7.” The suit doesn’t matter. Once you make a match, the slot turns to earth; correctly placing more cards in the same nearby area will turn that fertile earth into blooming plants, tress and other garden delights. When the entire patch of ground has turned into foliage, the level is won and you move onto the next round. So, you can think of each level as a new customer’s garden, and your goal is to rack up as many points as you can to grow your business.
But instead of players flipping up faced down cards from a deck, as you do with Klondike, a deck of face-up cards float out onto the screen in a specific pattern, usually circling the garden in some form. Think of a it as a kind of conveyor belt, where you must click the cards and place them in the garden before it reaches the end of the line, where your sleeping cat lies. If the cards reach the cat, it awakens the feline and it’s game over!
Players will soon be introduced to special tiles and other goodies. For example, a bucket on the conveyor belt can be clicked, which tosses in all nearby cards so that it helps you reach the cat so fast — or if you need better cards to choose from. A pair of arrows, on the other hand, temporarily reverses the path of the conveyor belt. Joker cards can be placed anywhere on the board. An optional way to make additional cash for your business is by clicking on cards and making a pile of them in the corner of the screen. It must be in ascending order, though, therefore a “6” requires you to place a “7” on it, and then “8,” and so on – you’ll get the reward for reaching the “King” card before the end of the level. Other helpful additions appear, too, such as a “wild” card, where you won’t see what it is until you click it. Or you can click Jessica to get your cards faster or click the cat to turn a card into a joker for when you really need the help. Every few levels, gamers will be treated to a quick bonus round, challenging players to click cards in ascending order as quickly as possible.
Along with the main story mode is a “relaxed” game (where you can’t lose) and another mode that lets you play any completed level in any order you choose. At the risk of being picky, it would have been fun if there were different game modes with different rules, such as one that challenges players to match cards with the same suits together or perhaps another that has you match even or odd-numbered cards. It would also be a good idea to let players unlock new card decks, music or levels.
Koi Solitaire may not appeal to all kinds of puzzle or arcade game fans, but solitaire lovers should get a kick out of the fun game-play, plenty of power-ups and cute story.