Legends of Solitaire: Curse of the Dragons
Solitaire and dragons are two words that are ordinarily not mentioned in the same breath, but both are the focus of Legends of Solitaire: Curse of the Dragons. The story is set in the Solitaire Kingdom, which has been cursed by an ancient evil spell and is being terrorized by dragons. To restore the kingdom to its former glory a group of heroes must embark on a quest to defeat the dragons. Along the way new companions will join the party as they make the arduous trek across the kingdom.
Since Solitaire is such as straightforward game, it is nice to see some interesting fantasy elements incorporated in the theme to spice things up. It is a tactic that has worked well in previous Solitaire hits, such as Regency Solitaire and Fairy Solitaire, and it works equally well in this game. As far as gameplay is concerned, this game follows the typical one-up, one-down style of Solitaire, which most players should be familiar with at this point. In the unlikely event that there are still players who have never played this type of game there is a handy tutorial that makes everything clear.
With 400 rounds of Solitaire on offer. LOS: CotD should keep fans of the genre busy for quite some time. When playing the story mode, players travel across a map of the kingdom where each location reveals more of the plot. Each location also features a brand new background and challenges players to complete a set of objectives within the space of ten rounds. These goals, which can include earning a certain amount of cash, achieving a set amount of stars, perfectly clearing out a number of rounds and attaining a high combo must be reached before the final round.
Failing to do so means restarting the entire level as you cannot replay individual hands. (Note: The developers released a V1.03 update, which comes with a round select dialog.)
Each of the rounds has different layouts for the cards, which means luck plays a big role in the game, but there are also certain advantages available to players. During the course of the game up to four companions will join and each of them has their own special abilities. These abilities are charged by removing specific cards from the board and can be a big help. For example, The Elf has the ability to shoot down a card of your choosing while the Hollow Spirit can remove a random card. The game also has a blacksmith shop that can be visited between rounds to stock up on helpful items, provided you have earned enough cash. These items include The Hour Glass of Time that gives you an extra “Undo” per level, the Goblin Amulet that reveals 30% of face-down cards and the Elven Ring that shows how many cards are left in the deck, to name just a few. Most of these items only need to be bought once to bestow permanent benefits.
There are also a couple of items with limited uses that you will want to keep stocked. This is because some levels have obstacles such as vines, ice or stone that block access to some stacks until removed. This is done by using a sword to cut the vines, axe to break the ice and mace to smash the stones. Some stacks are also locked and requires a key to open. While these items can all be found randomly while playing a level, purchasing the items from a shop means you don’t have to rely on luck to find them. Not all items found while playing are good either. While you might get a nice bag of gold, you could also uncover a dragon card which sets one of the other cards on the level on fire for a while. Wild Cards can also be randomly found when drawing cards, or you can sacrifice some of your hard earned coins to purchase them. Wild Cards can be stored until needed and are kept separate from your main deck. These Wild Cards, in conjunction with the abilities of your party members, are vital to building up huge combos, which in turn increases the multiplier. Without a high multiplier it can be impossible to reach some of the monetary goals for later levels. However, players who are simply looking for some relaxing fun can opt for the Normal or Casual difficulty settings and leave the Hard mode for those craving a real challenge.
The visuals of the game are decent enough for a Solitaire title and the amount of different backgrounds are really nice. Players can also choose between three different styles for both the front and the back of the cards. It is also great to see that the Steam version of the game has widescreen support, which is something the Big Fish Games version lacked. The game also features full voice acting for the story portions and the voice over work is quite good. The soundtrack is very mellow, but some of the tracks felt a little too melancholic for my taste.
Like we mentioned earlier, it will take hours to complete the story mode and accomplish all the achievements in the game, which means Solitaire fans will definitely get value for their money. In addition, the game includes three mini-games that allow for playing on Freeplay, TriPeaks and Random levels. The fantasy elements of the game definitely enhance the experience and anyone still not tired of Solitaire should definitely check out Legends of Solitaire: Curse of the Dragons.