In my mind, I’ve always associated Solitaire and Minesweeper with Microsoft. I first played both games on my PC almost 20 years ago (oh boy, do I feel old now) and strangely enough, they were among the first games to get me hooked onto the PC.
Between sessions of Half-Life and Age of Empires, I’d take a break and mindlessly play Solitaire until I felt refreshed enough to start another round. It’s an odd ritual, I know, but gamers will understand.
The games moved with me as I changed PCs and operating systems. They were old friends. I can still remember the outrage with which I greeted the “modern” Minesweeper and Solitaire on Windows Vista and later, Windows 8.
I’ve since forgiven Microsoft for Solitaire, but Minesweeper still remains a pain point. It’s so slow.
Joy on the left, horror on the right
Time doesn’t stand still of course and the smartphone revolution came. I started spending more and more of my idle time with my smartphone. Inevitably, I started scrounging the various app stores for some worthy version of Solitaire.
I found many games, decent ones at that, but for whatever reason, they didn’t have that fluidity and feel of Microsoft’s Solitaire. It’s hard to explain, but the only word I can come up with is “refined”; there’s a refinement to Microsoft’s version of Solitaire that I find lacking in every other version I’ve tried.
The day, a few weeks ago, that Microsoft Solitaire finally made its way to mobile was an exciting one indeed. I downloaded it, played it, and then heaved a huge sigh of relief.
I’m happy to report that Microsoft Solitaire for iOS and Android is every bit as good as the current Windows 10 version of the game.
You get the same features, the same UI and even the same animations. You also get the same ad-supported gameplay that I loathe though.
As with the PC version, the game includes Klondike, Spider Solitaire, FreeCell, Pyramid and TriPeaks. The Daily Challenges and Awards also make their way to the game.
Gameplay is smooth and fluid and I’ve no complaints on that front. As an added bonus to mobile players, the game supports ‘single tap to move’, which, in Solitaire, will move cards around to the appropriate stack in a single tap.
I played the mobile version on an iPhone 6S Plus (gotta love that screen) and an ancient, first generation Moto G. Gameplay was fluid and smooth on both devices.
You do get the option to pay to get rid of apps, but Microsoft, in all its wisdom, decided that Solitaire needs micro-transactions and thus, charges a $1.99 (Rs 120 in India) monthly fee or $9.99 (Rs 620 in India) a year subscription to remove advertisements and boost the rate at which you earn gold.
The game can still be played without spending a rupee and the ads are relatively few in number.
If, like me, you’re a fan of Microsoft Solitaire, give this one a whirl, it’s just as good as the PC version. Better still, it’s in your pocket now, and it’s free.
Even if you’re not a fan of the game, load it up on your grandma’s phone and watch her while away hours just playing the game.