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Review: Faerie Solitaire

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)! Steam Trading Cards are available! This game is also available for Linux!

Summary of major issues
This game is filled with magical creatures -- mostly faeries, as the title suggests -- but there is also a wizard and a number of magical pets to collect and raise.

Screenshots


One of the earlier levels


An example of stage goals


Raise magical creatures as pets!

General Information

Genre:Card gameAge Rating:Everyone (Ages 3+)
License:CommercialQuality Rating:Good
Played on:Martha & Thaddeus
Available from: Steam
Save System:All of the progress you make, down to the last card you played, is saved when you quit the adventure or exit the game. For a more temporary break, you can pause the game by pressing ESC.

Game Overview

Faerie Solitaire is exactly what its name suggests: it's a card game that centers around a world where faeries and other magical creatures exist. All is not well in this world, as there is an evil force threatening the faeries, and each round of solitaire you complete helps save the world a little bit more. Technically, the story and the card game don't have much to do with each other; you simply unlock the next part of the story by completing a stage.

The gameplay itself is pretty familiar to fans of card games. This specific game is often known as "golf" or "tripeaks", though if you're not familiar with either you'll understand how to play within a few minutes. Basically, you clear cards from the playfield by going up or down in value. For example, if the card on top of your discard pile is an Ace, you can discard a King or Two from the playing area. This continues until you either run out of matches or draw a new card. Clearing multiple cards in succession is known as a "combo", and since some levels will require you to create longer combos, it's an important skill to learn.

Each stage has one or more goals for you to complete. The primary goal is to fill the meter at the top right of the screen. Filling these meters provides magical energy that allows you to free the faerie trapped in that stage's cage. If you don;t have enough energy to save her, you lose the stage and need to try again. Every stage also has secondary goals you'll need to complete. These can be completed on any hand in the stage, so don't worry too much about doing them immediately. Some examples of secondary goals include completely clearing a given number of hands, clearing a given number of cards in sequence, and earning a given amount of gold by clearing piles. Things get a little more complicated later on, as additional obstacles start appearing and new powerups become available. While this does make the hands more difficult, your powerups can even things out easily enough.

Overall, this is great game if you're looking for some quiet relaxation, but as I mention below in the Cons section, there are two notable problems that leave the game feeling unfinished. But, if you're not a completionist and aren't really playing for the story, then there isn't anything to hold you back from enjoying this game.

Story Summary

The land of Avalon has been a harmonious place for a very long time. Here, everyone has enjoyed a rich and peaceful life, but recently the protagonist has been having troubling dreams. These dreams warn of a dangerous shift in the balance of the world. In these dreams, he heard a voice crying out in pain for some unknown reason. After waking up, he could sense the troubled voice came from the forest near his home.

After exploring for a bit through the forest, he came across a long cave. As he exited from the other end, a wizard greeted him. The wizard explained that he'd been searching for a hero; someone destined to join the ranks of the Royal Society for the Protection of Magical Creatures. Upon seeing the boy, he knew he'd found the person he was looking for, and proclaimed that many distressed beings would find peace once again.

Accepting his advice and a magical staff, the hero sets out to travel across the land in hopes of saving the troubled faeries.

Pros

Easy to learn, easy to play
The basic gameplay is just simple solitaire. New elements, such as the ice and vines, are introduced slowly enough that they can be learned at a casual pace. In fact, nearly everything about this title is casual and laid back.


Huge number of levels
There are 8 Stages to work your way through. This might not sound like much at first, but each Stage has 5 levels and each level has 9 rounds, for a grand total of 360 different layouts to clear. This might take you a while!


Find and raise pets
A side quest of sorts is finding all of the creature eggs, hatching them, and raising the baby monsters to adulthood. You'll find the supplies you need and the eggs themselves behind stacks of cards, so you should have most of them by the time you finish the adventure. After that, it's a reason to replay your favorite levels.


Additional game modes
Aside from the adventure, there are two additional modes that can be fun to play. The first is a Challenge mode that has extremely hard stages for you to beat, while the second is the Quick Play mode. This second mode allows you to replay any level you've already cleared during your adventure.

These alternative modes are especially useful as they allow you to collect and stock up on powerups and gold outside of the adventure.


Steam community features
Yes, even a solitaire game has jumped on the bandwagon, with a series of Steam trading cards to collect and achievements to earn. Some of the achievements are particularly hard to earn, so there's some bragging rights to be had if you manage to earn them all.


Cutscene theater
If you ever want to review the story, check the Theater. This section is available from the second half of the main menu. Here, you can reread the introductions to the game's stages and rewatch any of the cutscenes you've already seen.


Cons

Egg drop algorithm is busted
By far the biggest complaint about the game is that it's nearly impossible to find all of the eggs. This renders the last two achievements equally impossible to earn, and a lot of players just burn out in the attempt. The developers have promised to fix this once they finish working on another title, but it's been a few years and people are running low on patience.


Story ends on a cliffhanger
Bit of a spoiler here: the game ends with the player being sucked into a magical book, his fate left uncertain. The painful part is that the book is entitled "Faerie Solitaire II", implying that the story will be concluded in a sequel that has never arrived. Like the problem with the eggs above, the developer has said they want to finish another project before returning to this one.


Concerns and Issues

Very mild violence
The story is presented much like a fairy tale (which is rather appropriate, given the nature of the game). During the story, the protagonist will wield a magic sword that defeats his enemies by acting on its own. In one instance it uses two swift strikes to dispatch the enemy, but the scene is bloodless. The other major fight has the sword fire a beam of light to banish the villain.


Some areas depict monsters in the background
Each stage has its own background, and in a few places there's a magical creature or two wandering around back there. The Undead Army stage is the most unsettling example, as a host of shadowy figures watches the player's cards with glowing red eyes.


Fairies and magic
This is sort of obvious, but there are faeries, wizards and other fairy tale trappings in this game. Although the hero wields a magical staff and a magical sword during the story, he's not really a magic user himself. The remainder of the magical portions of the game are in Faerieland, where special buildings fuel your powerups and house your pets. Speaking of the pets, there are unicorns, dragons, elementals and even robots in their ranks. If any of this bothers you, then it might be better to try another game.