When you just fancy relaxing and playing by yourself, Solitaire is one of those games that can help pass the time, with just a deck of cards at your disposal. Over the years it’s spawned many variations and one such form is that of Spider Solitaire, which is the primary focus of the Xbox One title Spider Solitaire F. With a rather cheap price tag in place, can this offering from Flyhigh Works be ideal for a spot of casual gaming? And will Spider Solitaire F provide any fresh ideas to lure Solitaire veterans in who are looking for something a little different?
Well, as long as you venture into the world of Spider Solitaire F without expecting too much out of the ordinary, then you’ll mostly likely be satisfied with what’s in store. There’s room for improvement though.
Spider Solitaire F contains a whopping 100 challenging setups to solve, but before even attempting them it’s worth checking out the controls and how to play first. Control-wise, it’s very effortless to select cards using the A button and the analog stick, whilst large groups of cards within a column can be grabbed via RB, which is super helpful.
As for the rules, well they are fairly straightforward and explained reasonably well, with the aim being to create eight full stacks – descending sequentially from King to Ace – of each particular suit featured to clear the table of two decks of cards. Whilst suits can be mixed together to try and manoeuvre cards around, unearthing the face-down ones in the process, stacks won’t be removed unless they’re all of the same suit. Once you’ve arranged as much as you can in each column, layers of extra cards can be dealt from those remaining which weren’t allocated in the initial setup.
Despite sounding a tad confusing on paper, it’s actually really easy to grasp; especially when the ten Easy challenges only see you playing with one suit – Spades. This ensures you can understand the building of stacks before the Normal difficulty then throws in an extra suit to proceedings. Having two different suits ensures you have to spend a bit more time considering if it’s worth temporarily mixing stacks, which will hinder the moves available. To be honest though, the real test is found within the 70 Hard levels as these bring all four suits (Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs) together.
Fortunately, it doesn’t matter what order you play any of the challenges in and so can jump straight into the Hard section if you’re a Solitaire veteran, while newcomers will have enough easier setups to develop strategies for solving the trickier puzzles later on. The only problem is, after completing a few levels, it does become very samey and there’s certainly a limit to how many games you can take in across a single session. All that ever changes to breathe a smidgen of freshness into Spider Solitaire F is the theme of the deck, but even then there are merely four different options to unlock.
As is probably to be expected, it’s not visually impressive in the slightest and you won’t be wowed by the sheer appearance of some cards laid out on a fairly bland green table. That’s perfectly fine though, with the focus being on solving the predicament at hand – it could be portrayed in an 8-bit art style and it wouldn’t matter one iota. On the flip side, the audio needs to be up to scratch to avoid causing irritation during ponderous moments. To be fair, it possesses acceptable backing music that, although repetitive, manages to create a chilled out vibe. Just imagine being in a posh hotel lobby taking in the atmosphere and you won’t be far off in terms of how it sounds.
It’s tough to be too critical of Spider Solitaire F on Xbox One, considering it delivers exactly what it says on the tin; it is a prime candidate to pick up for short gaming sessions every so often. If you love to dabble in the world of card games, then £3.59 for 100 levels to solve seems like a pretty fair deal, especially as it’s an Xbox Play Anywhere title. There’s nothing overly exciting about it though and it would’ve been good to see something fresh in regards the features to make it stand out more. Therefore boredom will soon set in, with it lacking to provide real incentives to keep going, aside from to beat your previous completion times.
As it stands, I don’t know why you’d choose this Spider Solitaire incarnation over another, but likewise there’s no major reason not to either.