Strike Solitaire review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: 8floor
Developer: 8floor
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I have to hand it to 8floor. When they started bringing their casual phone games over to the Vita a few years ago, they were uniformly lousy. Between their ugly mahjohg games, their ugly tower defense games, and their not-ugly (but also incredibly dull) Doodle God/Devil games, they had the market cornered on lazy ports. But lately, they’ve been showing every sign of learning from past mistakes and making games that are worth checking out. First Doodle Kingdom broke the mould from its predecessors and delivered an interesting matching game. Then Medieval Defenders proved itself to be solidly okay. And now they’ve come out with Strike Solitaire, and I have to say: I’m totally hooked.

Strike Solitaire 2

I should add one or two provisos before going any further of course. First off, it’s only worth getting if you’re in the mood for something casual on your Vita — and I have my doubts that there exists a huge overlap in the Venn diagram of “Vita owners” and “solitaire lovers”. On top of that, it does feature DLC — things like wild Joker cards and whatnot — that make it a little easier to win, which is a little annoying seeing as we’re talking about a $5 card game.

As far as I’m concerned, however, those are two pretty minor qualifications, that don’t detract from the game’s overall fun. Yes, you have the option of paying real money to make the game easier…but at the same time, it rewards you pretty well for matching the very cards you need to beat each level, both in terms of coins and “powerups”, and many of the levels are easy enough that it’s possible to rack up coins without even realizing you’re doing it. As casual game DLC goes, it’s pretty inessential.

Strike Solitaire 1

As for the second point, that it’s a casual game on a platform that probably doesn’t have many casual gamers? Meh. All I know is that Strike Solitaire scratches an itch I never knew I had: to play solitaire on my Vita.

I’ll emphasize, of course, that it’s a solitaire variant, rather than being straight-up solitaire. The “Strike” part of Strike Solitaire refers to bowling, which here means that each set of ten layouts is broken into frames rather than hands. You also have to match ten specific cards, and getting those cards ends the frame with a strike.

Honestly, that makes it sound a lot less intuitive and a lot more difficult than it is: basically, you match cards and you clear the board, and that’s it. If you’ve ever played solitaire in your life, you’ll be able to pick Strike Solitare up incredibly quickly. Which is only fitting, because if you own a Vita and you like playing solitaire, then it’s definitely a game you should be picking up ASAP.

Grade: A-