Long before computers one of the first portable entertainment devices was a deck of cards and various forms of Solitaire gave us the ability to occupy our time when none of our current devices of instant gratification existed. As a child, I can remember countless hours of Solitaire to pass the time. Then along comes Windows using Solitaire to trick us all into learning how to use the mouse while expanding the popularity of game. How much productivity has been lost to digital solitaire is anyone's guess? There are most likely several scientific studies about the subject but we really don't need to go that far to see how that time has been lost to sol. A quick look in mirror will most likely tell us all we need to know.
That being said it was with great anticipation that I tried out Solitaire VR by Tripp and it is just that. A trip. No... this isn't just cards but an eye-popping rich environment with a few locations to play that you can stroll between if you want a different view while turning the cards. There is also a story going on around you as ghostly images appear and items or clues turn up here and there which you are free to investigate or ignore. The game itself is great and the mechanics of the sol games I played were spot on but the VR environment is so rich it makes it hard to concentrate on the game at hand until you've been there awhile and checked the place out.
First things first. Available Sol games are the heavyweights Klondike, FreeCell and Yukon. While you can use the remote it's rather clunky. The game is made to be played with the game pad. It comes with plenty of instructions but seems fairly straight forward in usage. You use the game pad to navigate through the cards till you get to your desired location. Then you initiate the card movement and a couple of clicks later the card or stack of cards are moved to the desired location. It's all a simple process as far playing the card games. I really didn't get into the clues and ghosts and other goings on except to look at a couple of clues and watch a ghost or two appear here and there. Apparently, the old place does have its secrets but the study itself is fantastic from the huge fireplace in the study to the attached atrium. The quality of the modeling is as good as any and the color palette is very pleasing and easy on the eyes.
As mentioned earlier there are three different places to play cards. Two different desks in the study and a small table and chair in the atrium. The ambience is heavy at all three locations and ghostly hands deal the cards and show you the controls. There are walking and card playing controls since you can stroll around and otherwise change locations within the game. All this may seem a little strange to someone just looking to play a quick game of Sol but I will be very surprised if most people will just start playing immediately. A look around is most certainly called for and I think most users will do a little exploring before finishing their first game of solitaire.
Overall I find the experience of Solitaire VR to be a very pleasant one and have been back more than once to flip a few cards and yes... I plan on going back to have to look at the clues and other goings on within the rich environment of this uniquely presented card game. Oculus Store Rating: 4 stars out of 5 with 11 Ratings.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. M.D. is currently working on VR projects and characters. You can learn more about MD at his website.