Onirim Review: Satisfying Solitaire

The Good

Well-designed game mechanics, obstacles, and limitations

Satisfying strategies

Tutorial makes onboarding easy

The Bad

The more decks you play, the harder it is to impact your percentage of wins

There isn't a lot motivating continued play (like new content) aside from personal improvement

The animations are a little cheesy

Onirim is an engaging take on Solitaire (which I’ve never found to be particularly entertaining) with a mystical theme and some creative obstacles to offer interesting challenges and opportunities for strategy. The game only takes about ten minutes to play from beginning to end, depending on how strategic you get and how the cards fall. However, you may end up spending hours upon hours trying to beat the deck just one more time.

Onirim Review

There is an occult-y backstory of a labyrinth and magical doors and demons, which might attract some folks, but this really just sets the tone for the truly creative architecture of gameplay. Similar to traditional Solitaire, there are “suits” of moons and suns which must be played in alternating order according to color (for example, play a green moon, then a green sun, then a green moon to complete a triad). Once three of a color are played in such an order, a matching door is opened. You must open all of eight doors (two each of red, green, blue, and tan) before you run out of cards in your deck.

Onirim Review

Hidden throughout the deck to thwart your efforts are demons which you must placate by offering them all of the cards in your hand, five cards from the deck, a door you’ve already opened, or a key. Which offering you make to the demon determines how quickly you deplete your deck (which you don’t want to do), how many doors you can open (which you do want to do) and how the rest of your deck will be played (which you may or may not know how to do).

Also in the deck are key cards which open door cards if held in your hand at the same time, can be used as offerings to the demons, or can show you the next five cards you will draw and allow you to reorder them. These components make up the structure of the game, but how they reveal themselves, and how you proceed to open all of the doors before you deplete your deck is different every time you play. Don’t worry if this all seems complicated; the game presents a well-designed tutorial to help you learn the mechanics.

Onirim Review

Aside from the enjoyable gameplay, the only real “motivator” to keep playing is to improve your percentage rate. However, the more rounds you play, the harder it becomes to really move the needle on your win rate because it’s all just a percentage of decks played; you really need to win multiple decks in a row to see a noticeable change. I’d love to see a global percentage rate for us to try to beat as well.

I’m always skeptical of how “random” mobile games truly are, in particular, card games which rely on a shuffle algorithm; however, Onirim is actually based on a real world card game where unbiased shuffling is part of its DNA; so I have a little more faith in the card draws here actually being random.

Onirim is a strong card-based game that will appeal to folks interested in applying strategy to random influencers. The visuals are a little low-fidelity (for example, the 2D animation of the demon grabbing the cards is a little cheesy) and could use some polish, but they are based on the illustrations of the actual card game so not everything translates perfectly when adding animation.

Graphics aside, the actual mechanics of the game are what’s most compelling. Onirim is an engaging gameplay experience that offers a lot of room for players to learn and improve their strategies, and strikes the right balance between challenging and satisfying.

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