Popcap’s latest digital narcotic is a particularly potent concoction, building on a game we’ve all idly wasted quiet working hours on with an adorable aquatic theme and a ticking clock to make it extra moreish. Be prepared to spend, however, if you don’t want the hit to wear off quickly.
Suits don’t matter in this variant: any card that’s one higher or lower than the top draw on the build deck can be placed as you try to clear seven stacks. Keys unlock two more build piles, and with your score dependent on how long you maintain a streak, if they’re buried deep in the stack you can instantly kiss goodbye to a high total.
This is where purchasable boosts come in. Explosive barrels blast cards onto the build pile without breaking the combo, while a starfish makes six quick moves, handy given the distraction of your whimpering, wriggling bait as the timer nears zero. Yet the in-game silver rewards for the treasures fished out from under each removed stack are piffling compared to the cost of these assists. It isn’t quite pay-to-win (our current high score came on an astonishingly fortuitous no-boost run) but spending gives you a far better chance of scoring well.
Quick minds and fingers will be rewarded with larger time bonuses, but luck ultimately triumphs over skill. Yet with a poor run so often coinciding with your energy meter running dry, it seems there are darker forces in play than mere fortune. How fitting, then, that the virtue you should need most to enjoy Solitaire Blitz without paying is patience.
Solitaire Blitz is free on the App Store.