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Regency Solitaire Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Don't be fooled by the 19th century setting, Regency Solitaire is one of this year's most addictive games. You can't help but fall in love with Bella as she solves all of her problems the old fashioned way -- by solving complicated solitaire puzzles. The gameplay is surprisingly deep and the story is delightful. Regency Solitaire is a real charmer. Rating: 78%
Regency Solitaire
Regency Solitaire Regency Solitaire Regency Solitaire Regency Solitaire
  • Review Score:

  • B+
Admit it; you're secretly sick and tired of zombies, photo-realistic racing games and never-ending soap operas set in space. You've seen all these cliches before and you're looking for the next big thing. Well I have good news: It's time to grab your fanciest gloves and parasol, because we're going to trade large open worlds for a small solitaire game inspired by the works of Jane Austen.

Regency Solitaire may not sound like the thrill ride of the season, but it's nearly impossible to play this hoity toity Steam game and not lose hours of your life to hopeless addiction. It sounds like the kind of game your grandmother would fall in love with, but it's actually a devilishly clever card game that uproots everything you think you know about solitaire.

The story centers around an attractive young woman named Bella, who wants to throw an extravagant ball at her family's estate in order to catch the eye of the eligible (and wealthy) bachelor, Earl Henry Worthington. Unfortunately, Bella's master plan has run into a few snags. For one thing, her family is in the midst of a financial crisis. This forces our hero to put in the hard work to acquire all of the furniture and amenities needed to pull off this spectacular event.

In this case, hard work is accomplished through playing rounds of solitaire. But don't be fooled, because you're not playing by the typical solitaire rules. You won't need to worry about matching suits or moving cards around, because the only thing that matters is counting up and down. It's surprisingly simple; if you draw a five, then you're looking for either a four or a six. You keep making these connections until you either clear the board or need to draw another card. Once you've run out of cards to draw from, the round is over.

Instead of working through boring columns filled with cards, Regency Solitaire offers dozens of elaborate layouts to overcome. Many stages will have a maze component, forcing players to find keys to unlock doors. Sometimes cards will be tied in a bow, meaning you'll need to use them twice before they disappear. And then there are cards that will only disappear if you remove royal cards from the table.

Regency Solitaire (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Once you've mastered the basics, the game is quick to introduce a number of special abilities to the mix. The first comes in the form of a fan, allowing players to save certain cards for later. Another ability scrambles the cards on the table, giving you another chance to keep the chain alive. There are also moves that will let you destroy cards on the table without matching them.

Thanks to the simplified rules and different abilities, it's easy to rack up large combos in Regency Solitaire. This will not only clear the board faster, but also increase your money multiplier. The money you earn from each round can be used to buy and upgrade Bella's house, getting it ready for her big party.

The lengthy story mode is split into twenty different stages, each taking place in a different location in and around 19th century London. Most of these stages will include ten rounds and require players to complete a number of objectives. Usually the tasks revolve around collecting a certain amount of stars and locating hidden items. These objectives become increasingly difficult, requiring the player to have near-perfect rounds each and every time.

Despite the good intentions, these level-specific missions are the weakest part of Regency Solitaire. I love the idea of giving players something to shoot for in each new location, but it felt like I was seeing the same few recycled tasks stage after stage. You will see most of what this game has to offer long before you reach the halfway point, which is disappointing.

Regency Solitaire (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It doesn't help that Grey Alien Games has added a lot of unnecessary filler. There's no reason why every stage needs to include ten rounds, especially when you can complete the challenges in the first three. Playing through a bunch of inconsequential levels for money isn't much fun, since there aren't many items to buy.

The presentation is pretty much what you expect. The music feels like it was taken directly from a made-for-TV adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, which is a good thing in this case. Furthermore, the graphics are simple and look like they were designed with tablet devices in mind. I like the artwork and the character designs, but there's nothing about the visuals that will blow you away.

Like any solitaire game, the fun is not in the flashy graphics. This is an addictive card game that tweaks the rules just enough to feel like an entirely new experience. Even those who haven't read much Jane Austen will get a kick out of the story, and the gameplay is strong enough to keep the lengthy adventure interesting from beginning to end. Regency Solitaire is one of this year's most surprising games.
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