Most people know Solitaire as a traditional part of the Windows operating system. The Jewel Match Solitaire series shows that there is more to the gameplay.
“Cozy Games” is the current buzz word for an approach to games that is as old as the medium itself. The term describes cozy games that serve relaxation – the opposite of first-person shooters or complex strategy games. There used to be terms like “casual games” or “casual games”. I was and am a big fan of this genre: simple game principles and non-violence appeal to me. Especially in recent years, since these types of games are great for listening to podcasts on the side.
Solitaire on the other hand? I found it boring as a kid and it wasn’t until adulthood that the first games appeared that would bring me closer to the appeal of these card games. That was during the great casual boom of the 2000’s on the Reflexive Arcade platform (another topic for a later article). There were the first attempts to renew the outdated gameplay with twists. At least on smartphones, solitaire games have been widespread since the late 2010s – including addictive gambling mechanics (or as they play down: F2P business model). Since I don’t like the latter at all, I’m very happy that there are still some representatives on the PC who are refraining from this model. The most interesting series is here Jewel Match Solitaire – published by Gray Alien Software, developed by German indie studio Suricate Software. Jewel Match is a series of match3 games that has been around since 2007 and is maintained to this day. Card games have also appeared under the name since 2018. The most recent offshoot listens to the full name Jewel Match Solitaire X Collector’s Edition and was released in May 2022.
|In order to remove the king from the field, all 6 cards must first be removed from the field with the scissors|
The game principle
The levels in the main campaign are played according to the rules of Tri Peaks Solitaire. At the bottom of the screen is a deck containing the supply of cards, and to the right of that is a card representing the foundation. Taking the screenshot above as an example, here a 5-value card is the foundation. The suits clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds have no meaning here – it’s all about value. You could now take a card with the value 4 from the tableau. There is not any. But a card with the value 6. This will now be the foundation. Since there are also cards with the values 7 and 8, these can also be removed from the field (thus creating combos). This reveals the cards underneath and can be played. If you cannot take a card from the tableau, you must draw a card from the stack. The aim of the game is to take all the cards from the tableau.
Since this principle would be repeated quickly, numerous obstacles and special rules will be introduced over time – which will of course be explained through tutorial levels. There are cards frozen in ice that want to be played twice to get out of the field. Cards with a lock that only disappear with a key, or cards whose value increases or decreases with each turn (those are the cards with the arrows in the screenshot above). And many more rules.
A volume that lasts for months
Overall, the main campaign consists of over 300 levels. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
|The statues, benches and fountains represent additional levels or modes and are unlocked by stars|
In addition to the actual levels, numerous fountains, statues, plants, benches and the like are covered on the world map. These are unlocked by earning stars in the main levels. This depends on the four difficulty levels in the game:
- Relaxed: If the stack is empty, a new stack comes into play. If you complete the level with the first stack, you get three stars. The second stack has two stars and from the third stack only one star. Perfect for beginners!
- Normal: Here the game is over after one stack. If there are still a few cards left on the playing field, there are one or two stars. For three stars, all cards must be cleared from the field.
- Hard: Same mode as Normal, only with higher difficulty
- Timed: The hardest mode in the game – you only have seven seconds for each move!
Important to mention at this point: You can change the level of difficulty at any time outside of a level! The more stars are collected, the more additional levels and modes are unlocked, which can then also be selected from the main menu:
- Classic solitaire variants like Klondike, Spider, Freecell or Yukon
- 60 replayable mahjongg levels
- Extra Large Tri-Peaks Levels
- Levels with different challenges (for example: perform a combo with four red cards – and similar tasks)
- Sliding Levels: levels scrolling from left to right
- 2-Match-Levels: A mode in which you take cards from the field by clicking on cards with two of the same value (whether on the field or the foundation).
|Klondike Solitaire as it’s been known since the early Windows days|