Version Tested: 2.1
Format: iPhone 5S
Before Solitaire Blitz, we thought the card game had been nailed. It’s as good as it can get. There’s nothing more you can do to the formula to make it any more interesting.
But up to that point, Popcap hadn’t got involved.
Frankly, if there’s one Facebook game that keeps me coming back for more, it’s this little deck-shuffler. Just when you’re about to quit ‘Oh, go on then, one more game.’ And before you know it, several hours have gone by.
But just when I had finally managed to free myself of its charms, the mobile version released and kept me even further away from my Pile of Shame.
Don’t get me wrong, no matter how fun the game may be, there are issues and longevity wise, the game did start to come unstuck the more time I spent with it.
But just when I thought I was out for good, introducing Solitaire Blitz: Lost Treasures 2.1, a significant overhaul of the entire game, featuring a fully-fledged ‘campaign’ mode, less reliance on others to keep playing, new graphics, layout, design and more.
Rather than just playing to win, Lost Treasures now gives the player purpose, tasking them with finding significant, shiny treasure from the reward pool at the end of a session. However, just because you win, that doesn’t mean you’ll reap all the rewards. Actually, you may get lots of silver, but none of the treasure you actually need. Yet, if you have a particularly bad run, you could still end up walking away with one of the quest treasures. It’s all a bit random really, but a nice motivator to keep you going.
The purpose of the game remains exactly the same. Play the hand you’re dealt and beat the deck, but this time you get little quests and meet fun, Popcap-styled characters, like a French Cat who just so happens to be a Lighthouse keeper. Her aim in life? She wants to win the heart of a male tabby, so asks you to find a pipe, wellington boots and a woolly jumper. That all sounds far too adorable for my cute levels to handle.
Anyway, the point being is you have to find all of these items before you can move onto the next quest and continue sailing in your ship to the next destination. Lost Treasures now gives players a sprawling map, full of 100s of hours of content. It genuinely puts Black Flag to shame in terms of how much it offers a player.
And amazingly, it does reinvigorate the game. I found myself becoming just as addicted to Lost Treasures as the first day I booted up Solitaire Blitz. This enormous free update is generous, fulfilling and allows Popcap’s quirky sense of humour to take centre stage, while also giving more purpose to a game and retaining all the fun.
Sadly, there are still some issues with the game. With 2.0, the game’s loading screens were sluggish, and 2.1 doesn’t really seem to evolve that very much. While 2.0 offers a lot more content than Solitaire Blitz was ever intended to have, the game runs a lot slower than it first did on iOS launch, and this is still an area that Popcap need to work on extensively. Fortunately, they’re definitely well aware of that and we’ve already noticed that some loading screens were removed from 2.0 which helps the game flow nicely.
However, the game still experiences a title-screen crash semi-occasionally, which requires a hard-close and reboot. And the Facebook synchronisation is still painfully slow and sluggish.
Mostly though, problems with the game are to do with its overall performance and stability, everything else is wonderfully placed. You can easily give your Facebook friends boosts and receive them, and the game itself runs perfectly fine once you’re into it. But Popcap still need to make a few tweaks and adjustments and everything will be just right.
Regardless of a few technical hiccups, Lost Treasures is an incredible Content Update, one that is sure to keep you (and me!) playing Solitaire Blitz for months to come.
Technical Competency – 8/10
Audio/Visual – 9/10
Network Stability – 8/10
Lost Treasures makes this package so much more worthwhile and will probably see you return to the game more often than ever before. Fun and full of humour, Solitaire Blitz Lost Treasures is the perfect example of how to do a Content Update well and how to do one right.
Overall – 8.5/10
(original score – N/A)
Issues for improvement
- Fix the loading times, reducing them even further
- Stabilise the game so it doesn’t stutter and crash
- Speed up Facebook synchronisation