Friday, August 20, 2010

App O' The Mornin': Solebon Solitaire

The unquestioned king of solitaire is Solebon. Card Sharks is a good general collection with a lot of solitaire variants, but as the menu screen itself says, Solebon is “for refined solitaire players.”

Developed by Smallware, Solebon has migrated through various systems since 1998, when it was first launched for the Palm OS. Thus, it has a long pedigree not only as software, but as software designed primarily for mobile use. The version for Mac, called Solavant, contains 242 different solitaire versions and variants. When you consider that the authoritative book on the subject, David Parlett's Solitaire, details 400 versions and variants worldwide, you'll get an idea just how thorough the Mac version is.

Solebon Solitaire manages top bring a hefty chunk of solitaire to iPhone and other Apple portable devices. It includes forty games, ranging from the familiar (Klondike, Free Cell) to the exotic (Honeybees, La Belle Lucie). The interface is quite effective, using a double-touch system rather than gestures. You touch one card, and then touch where it should go. Card Sharks uses drag-and-drop. It's a matter of preference, but the double-touch is a little more precise and easy to use.

The graphics are crisp and easy to read, and the entire look of the game is subdued and appealing. The only flaw is the lack of a landscape mode. The screens are certainly optimized to handle the vertical layout, but solitaire is a game that benefits from a horizontal spread.

That minor point aside, this remains the premium solitaire experience in the App store.

List of titles in the game:
Accordion, Aces Up, Agnew Sorel, Ambrose, Askew, Baker's Game, Baker's Game Easy, Beleaguered Castle, Blind Alleys, Bouquet, Colorado, Creepy Crawly, Demon, Doublets, Eight Off, Eight Off Easy, Fanny, Fortune's Favor, Four Seasons, Fourteen Out, Free Cell, Free Cell Easy, Golf, Honeybees, Klondike Deal 1, Klondike Deal 3, La Belle Lucie, Lady of the Manor, Monte Carlo, Penguin, Provisional, Pyramid, Pyramid Easy, Russian Revolver, Scorpion, Spiderette, Spiderling, Spiderling 2 Suits, Triple Mulligan, Yukon


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