Hoyle South Beach Solitaire (Windows)

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Written by  :  piltdown_man (143053)
Written on  :  Jun 25, 2013
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
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A refreshing challenge

The Good

I play a lot of solitaire. To give you an idea just how much I play and how motivated I am by scoring points I was greatly distressed when I was summoned to go on a shopping trip recently and in my haste to leave I clicked on the wrong button costing me my 100% record at Freecell.

So I loaded this package, as I have with many other Solitaire packages in the past, expecting to play it for a short while and then delete it. Instead I find that it is a pleasant change and a well thought out product. It's so good that I re-installed it on my main machine and am playing it 'for real'.

It rewards speedy play so blasting through the first few levels was no problem, plenty of bonuses to hold the interest. When the going gets tough, which for me was in the middle of level 2 when I was faced with a 'Best 21' game having to make five hands with only two holding areas, the game offers a points win. In other words it says 'OK You're close enough on this one, you may proceed'. Not an option for the purist but if this is a particular game you don't like it allows you to get to your favourite type of game much faster. It's just nice to have the choice. The same thing can be said of the wild cards that are awarded as a bonus. Not something I would use in a 'serious' game but nice to have as an option.

There's replay value here too which is good because I like setting myself high scores to try and beat, and OK so I may occasionally mention to my other half that I've done particularly well, so the scoring system gets a thumbs up from me. I particularly liked the additional points for not using the wild cards and hints that are awarded during play.

The awards that help build a mansion and the additional card backs didn't do a great deal for me but I can see how they would appeal to others.

The Bad

I'm part way through level two and so far there have been quite a few levels which are based on the 'Relaxed Golf' and 'Match 2' style of game which I find quite easy. They make for a fast game but I'm hoping for more challenges along the way. Having said that I struggle with Spider Solitaire and the level I am stuck on at the moment is a 'double spider' I should be careful what I wish for.

Being able to play individual games separately in Quick Play mode is expected but it's still a nice touch. Initially I was surprised that there were so few games available, I didn't realise then that more were added as I progressed through the story mode. That is something that could have been explained better.

I also found the picking up and moving of the cards to be a bit variable. Sometimes a single click will pick up the card and sometimes it won't. Also there have been a couple of times when the card stack gets long and it was difficult to select a card in the middle of the stack.

The Bottom Line

Solitaire is, generally speaking, something that is played to fill in a bit of time, the sort of thing that I do when there's nothing on TV and not enough time to play a really involving game.

What they've done here is package some solitaire games in such a way as to create something that you'd want to play, something that you'd power up your pc for. I think they've done a good job and, because there's a points total to beat, it's the kind of game that I can see myself coming back to again and again to see if I can do it that bit faster or score that bit more.