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Ultimate Solitaire Collection Review

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When games put ‘Super’, ‘Ultimate’ or ‘Game of the Year Edition’ in the title then we tend to take it with a pinch of salt. The superlatives are so misused or overused that they’ve lost all meaning. Does anyone really look at the title ‘Ultimate Solitaire Collection’ and believe that it is, truly, the pinnacle of all Solitaire collections? Of course not. 

The thing is, Ultimate Solitaire Collection might actually be the Ultimate Solitaire Collection. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. We wouldn’t have believed you if you said that there were 300+ variants of Solitaire in the world, let alone within an Xbox game. Yet, here they are: listed for our delectation and completely and utterly overwhelming us. Where on earth do you start when someone slaps 300 games on your desk?

ultimate solitaire collection review 1
Expect to find your favourites…

Our answer was predictable and boring: we went searching for the ones we knew something about. Down we scrolled through the daunting list for games like Klondike, Spider Solitaire, Freecell and Pyramids. They were, of course, there. We’d have been gobsmacked if they weren’t.

Starting from this position of safety, we could check off some of the important things that anyone would look for within a console Solitaire game. Is it presented well? Are the controls up to snuff? Are there the features you might expect? When a game has 300 variants, you’d suspect that it would cut corners. There’s no way it wouldn’t. Right?

In presentational terms, Ultimate Solitaire Collection is a solid B. It’s not as ugly as a lot of card game collections that wander onto the store from time to time. The graphics are crisp and readable, and there’s the opportunity to both earn and use different tables, card backs and interface elements. But it’s lacking some personality, however that might have been injected: some colour maybe, or some characters to help push things along. Ultimate Solitaire Collection is a very professional-looking compendium, but it’s not a particularly loveable one. 

Control-wise, Ultimate Solitaire Collection opts for a cursor rather than snapping from foundation to foundation or tableau to tableau. It’s always a toss-up between the two control schemes: snapping can be quicker to get from point-to-point, but it causes issues when it keeps snapping to things you don’t want. The cursor implementation here is at least decent. It’s not slow, it’s accurate, and you get the satisfying tactility of lifting whole stacks of cards from one place to another. It’s fine. 

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A ridiculous number of Solitaire games

I was surprised how fully featured Ultimate Solitaire Collection was. Each game has rules provided (that must have been a nightmare data-entry job for someone), and while they’re a little bland and template-heavy, they tell you most of what you need to know. There’s a versatile Undo function, which lets you whisk back a number of moves, while a couple of things are usefully automated: you can auto-complete a game when you can no longer fail, and you can be automatically told once you’re in a dead-end. 

But it’s when you zoom out, and consider what is around the games, that you realise how much love and care has gone into Ultimate Solitaire Collection. A global highscore table positions you against the rest of the world, so you can see the individuals who have inexplicably committed themselves to all 300 games. We don’t know whether to pay respects or pity them. Daily Challenges offer fun little tasks across a subset of games, and they change – obviously – on a daily cadence. You can compare your scores against the community on these, too. And – finally – there’s a Journey mode, where you progress through an extremely bland board, working through the Solitaire variants that you may never have touched otherwise. 

It seems a little churlish to complain about a collection when it’s clearly fully featured, but we do have some gripes. Searching the list of games is surprisingly bunk. You can favourite a few and they will rise to the top, making it easier to find them, but searching for them in the first place is unnecessarily awkward. There is no search function, and you can’t group the games by certain categories. Only want Klondike variants? Nah mate, you’re going to have to scroll through the impossible list of doom. We’d have also taken a bit more information about some or all of the games. When you’ve got games called ‘Bristol’ or ‘Robert’ you’re going to have questions. Where do they come from? What’s their story? A museum function would have been lovely in these instances, rounding out the games with some backhistory 

We did eventually move on from the familiar games. As much as we could have played ‘Pyramids – Easy’ all day, there were achievements to gain and a review to write. These variants range from the extremely subtle – fewer shuffles allowed of the draw pile; two decks of cards at a time rather than one – to the willfully absurd. Cards are presented as wheels, singular huge decks and – frankly – unshuffled messes. Ultimate Solitaire Collection delivers them all. It must have been a monolithic coding challenge. From a playing point of view, most are pap and are bettered by more well known variants, but a few did win us over. We’ll be playing a lot of Osmosis from now on, for example. 

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You might find a new favourite – like Osmosis

That ‘Ultimate’ isn’t just for show. Ultimate Solitaire Collection is a borderline ridiculous number of Solitaire games. We can’t fathom who might want 300+ of them, but the fact that someone has collected and curated them for our benefit gives us a little glow inside. We’re never going to play all of them, but the fact that we can browse and play one with a funny name is nothing short of a miracle. 

Even more of a miracle is that they’re presented so well. Ultimate Solitaire Collection might be a little sterile, but it plays well with a pad in your hands, and there are more features and modes than you could possibly exhaust. By rights, a collection this big should have cut corners somewhere, but Ultimate Solitaire Collection only has a few usability nobbles. It’s a modest triumph, then, and while it might not be the sexiest of purchases, it might be one of your most played when you look back in a year’s time.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Stupendous number of Soiltaire games
  • Daily Challenges and Journey are unexpected bonuses
  • Fully featured
Cons:
  • Lacks a bit of razzle-dazzle
  • Managing the huge list is a problem
  • More information on each game would be valuable
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, eSolutions Nordic
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One (review), PC
  • Release date and price - 15 November 2023 | £20.99
4.5 2 votes
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Stupendous number of Soiltaire games</li> <li>Daily Challenges and Journey are unexpected bonuses</li> <li>Fully featured</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Lacks a bit of razzle-dazzle</li> <li>Managing the huge list is a problem</li> <li>More information on each game would be valuable</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, eSolutions Nordic</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One (review), PC <li>Release date and price - 15 November 2023 | £20.99</li> </ul>Ultimate Solitaire Collection Review
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