Solitaire Blitz, a Twist on the Classic Game

When I was in my third year of university, I became a professional procrastinator. By that, I mean that I had no work and no reason to find work because I was too “busy” with school and prepping for exams. And what that really meant was that I was too “busy” playing Flash-based games on an old MacBook. This was back when Facebook gaming was still a popular thing.

In that day, I was completely hooked on a game called Solitaire Blitz, which now has a universal iPhone/iPad app and is available for free in the App Store. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pick up the game and try it out again, and see how I felt about it a couple years later on a different platform. And how well can a free game filled with in-app purchases designed for a mouse translate to a touchscreen? Read on to find out more.

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The Premise

Solitaire Blitz is actually a surprisingly good remix of the original Solitaire game. The way it works is relatively simple: You have several rows of cards along the bottom of the screen, and you’re trying to get rid of as many of them as you can within the time limit. To do that, you just need to tap cards in numeric orders; the suit of the card is irrelevant. Just make sure that if you have a visible 5 on the top, tap a 4 or a 6 to continue building that stack.

Simple, but effective.

Simple, but effective.

If you run out of playable cards, draw more from the stack with a tap. And if you manage to play all of the cards and empty your piles, you’ll get bonus points for doing so and leaving some cards in the deck. Points add up to more game time and playable perks, like exploding barrels that can clear several cards at once or extra time.

If you’re confused, don’t worry too much because you won’t be for long. The game is easy to pick up and, frankly, kind of addictive. By “kind of addictive,” what I really mean is that I’ve spent about thirty hours of my life playing this God-forsaken thing. So yes, I love playing this. It’s more fun than playing with dynamite (I’ve tried that too), but I also hate myself for playing this so much.

I'm a big fan of the part where they tally my score.

I’m a big fan of the part where they tally my score.

The game is built around social, so you can share scores on Facebook and invite your friends to play, too. You can also compete to see who’s got the best score on any given day. Get your friends involved in this, and it becomes a hugely addictive competition. It’s still a lot of fun even without that competitive aspect though.

In-App Purchases Galore

Let’s talk a little bit about what makes this game such an abomination for serious gamers, since that’s what I get paid to do in a review. This thing is full of in-app purchases. You can buy everything from more silver to purchase more perks (you buy silver to buy perks, which is kind of like buying Microsoft Points to buy an Xbox Live game). There are even notifications to alert you about in-app purchases. You can also buy more rounds of gameplay, which is a far more serious deal to me.

Note the in-app purchases on the right.

Note the in-app purchases on the right.

Turn push notifications off for this app.

That’s correct. There are a limited amount of times you can play this at once before you have to fork over money to continue playing. You’ll start out with five rounds, and every ten minutes you’re given another round. So the most you’ll be able to play is about seven times before having to wait (unless you’re an exceptionally good player, in which case you’ll rack up far more attempts).

I don’t mind in-app purchases as much as some of my colleagues here at AppStorm, but this is kind of ridiculous. Why am I not able to play to my heart’s content? Why can’t I just pay $4.99 once and play this as much as I want with as many perks as I want?

I think claiming treasures after each round helps with in-app purchases, but... No, no they don't. This is ridiculous.

I think claiming treasures after each round helps with in-app purchases, but… No, no they don’t. This is ridiculous.

Clearly, there’s more money to be made (and lots of it at $5.99 just for a simple power up) by investing into this type of payment system for the developer. There’s nothing wrong with that, technically. Developers have to eat. And paying for perks makes sense on some levels, but simply paying to play more after five or six rounds feels like highway robbery.

Granted, if you can find something else to do for an hour before coming back to it, it’s not going to bother you much. And frankly, this is mobile gaming, so ten minutes of playing time might be all you want before moving on. Not many people sit and play games on their iPhones for hours at a time. But either way, you can’t deny that this isn’t right on principle alone.

Visual Aesthetics

I’m almost embarrassed I enjoy this game so much; not just because of the in-app purchases, but also because of the kiddie-like graphics. This game is clearly meant for children. It’s smooth as butter, even on my iPad with Retina display, but there’s not a lot to showcase here graphically. You play the game against a tropical background, but there aren’t waves billowing or anything like that. These are simply glorified Solitaire wallpapers.

This is what i mean when I say this is meant for your children.

This is what i mean when I say this is meant for your children.

I will say that I can see the difference between this and the Flash-based version of the game and that the iOS app is much smoother. That’s what you get with a native game instead of a browser-based game coded in an aging standard. Your children (if you have any) are also likely to prefer madly tapping on a screen to madly clicking on a screen, which feels almost antiquated by comparison.

Is Solitaire Blitz Worth It?

Do you like solitaire? Are you fine with in-app purchases? Will you give anything a shot if it’s free? If your answer to any of those questions (particularly the first one) is a resounding yes, then by all means, I recommend checking the app out. For what it’s worth, I’m keeping it installed on my iPad. Despite the fact that all those in-app purchases are beyond problematic for me and I feel like anybody willing to pay for any of them is getting hugely ripped off, I think Solitaire Blitz is a good way to pass a little bit of time.


Solitaire Blitz is a lot of fun to play and highly addictive, but there's a ton of in-app purchases and it's definitely aimed at children.