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iPad  header logo

4 Thrones

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Game of cards

Product: 4 Thrones | Publisher: Simple Machine | Format: iPad | Genre: Card/ board game, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
4 Thrones iPad, thumbnail 1
There's nothing particularly special about 4 Thrones. It's a simple digital version of a simple physical card game. It's polished to a reasonable degree, and there are no glaring glitches or problems spoiling things.

But in the end it doesn't really offer anything more than a pack of cards would, and while it is handy to have a quick card game you can play on the bus without risking dirtying your favourite deck, there's not enough innovation here to really recommend it.

House decks

The game is all about making four piles of cards out of the 52 in a standard deck. You start with four cards as the base of the piles and one to place. You can put a card on another card with a lower numerical value.

Pop it down and another one is drawn from the deck. Different cards have different special attributes. These mean you can have cards of certain suits on top of them that you wouldn't normally be able to.

If you can't place a card then you can tap on the deck to draw a new one. You only get three swaps on most of the game modes, though, and once you've used them up getting stuck again brings about the end of the game.

The puzzling is sedate and simple, and based as much on the chance of the deal as it is the way you position the new cards that come out. As well as the standard mode there's an Endless mode and King mode, which gives you extra points for laying down Kings.


As App Store card games go, 4 Thrones is perfectly presentable. It's solidly put together, and while it's not exactly inspiring to look at, it does what it sets out to do quite nicely.

Still, there's nothing about the game that's likely to spark anything other than mild interest, and though everything about it functions just the way it should, you're unlikely to be pulled back into it.

4 Thrones is an enjoyable little game, but once you've played it for half an hour or so, you'll have seen everything that it has to offer.
4 Thrones
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 5 September 2013
While it's well made and decent to look at, 4 Thrones doesn't really have the gameplay to keep you entertained for long
Have Your Say
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Sep 2013
Post count:
@kurrrt | 14:50 - 9 September 2013
Thanks for trying it out, great to hear your impressions. And if there are any issues with the game, questions or comments, feel free to email me anytime.
Sep 2013
Post count:
@Sobtanian | 14:21 - 8 September 2013
All's well that ends well :)
Nov 2011
Post count:
mr_bez | 08:26 - 8 September 2013
I can see why you'd be disappointed that it doesn't mention that it's a new ruleset, but I don't think there's any risk that anyone would read this review and not know it's an alternative version of solitaire! In fact, if they haven't worked that out from the screenshot before reading a single word, I'd be worried about them!

Anyway, I did download the game. There's clearly a lot of thought that's gone into the design and interface and I did enjoy it. I can see where Harry's coming from - if you're not that bothered about card games on your phone, this certainly won't change your mind - but I'll probably end up coming back to it every now and then for a game or two.
Sep 2013
Post count:
@kurrrt | 14:50 - 7 September 2013
To be clear, I never said I disagreed with the review or the score, so please don't let that deter you from trying the game. I fully accept the score and the review I recieve, and am proud of my game. To me, the review is important to help you make an informed purchase. As the dev, I recognized that the review left out some core aspects of the game for the reader. I'm making sure they are available.

For insatnce, the reviewer never mentioned that this game is a redesign of patience/solitaire which is probably the most important information the reader needs to know. It gives context to what category the game is and who it is mainly for. It's also important because it isn't traditional solitaire, so if that's something you want, you should skip this game.

As for other features left out of the review, yes, there are other features that were left out, for instance, there's no mention of the unlockable themes. These don't just change the cards, they completely change every part of the game. For a card game, that's an important feature. It's not mentioned, nor reflected in any of the screenshots. It adds reward based unlockables and allows you to customize your game.

I don't jump in to post on my games, but when the game itself isn't given proper context and doesn't say what the game is, I'm going to make sure people know what they're missing.

I hope you are still game to give it a go.

Nov 2011
Post count:
mr_bez | 12:40 - 7 September 2013
I don't have to agree with his opinion to think it's fair, I just have to think that he's given it a reasonable chance and that the review represents his feelings about the game.

I can look at the review, see that he appears to have checked out all the content that the game has to offer, has noted that it's well put together, but he didn't enjoy it. To me, that's fair.

I also know that I don't always agree with Harry's scores. The fact that it was in the top 10 list as well and Mark (britishgaming) rates it means I still might check it out, because I'm capable of forming my own opinion.

Seeing the devs criticising the review with specious arguments, claiming that it missed lots of things when it didn't (works on a touch screen, can be played by left handers, will appeal to people who like card games - really?) or that it was "cobbled together" makes me less likely to buy the game though, not more.
Sep 2013
Post count:
@Sobtanian | 08:45 - 7 September 2013
My point is, the fact you can play the game with a real deck of cards is and should not be a negative. My car analogy my well be ridiculous, but so is the reviewers point that the game can be played with a deck of cards, hence the comparison I made.

As for the review being fair, how can you even judge that without playing the game? Think about it.
Nov 2011
Post count:
mr_bez | 07:30 - 7 September 2013
Your racing game argument is ridiculous. Can we all go careening through the streets at 180 mph in a sports car, bouncing off of opponents and restarting if we crash? No. Could we all get a pack of cards and make four piles then follow the rules of this game? Yes.

The point is that some digital card games wouldn't work with a deck of cards (e.g. Fairway Solitaire) but this isn't one of them.

Also, working on a touchscreen isn't exactly a lofty goal for an iOS game, nor is working for a left-hander. I've rarely, if ever, come across an iOS card game I can't play with my left hand.

As for the other points here, a review is an opinion and this reviewer acknowleded that the game works well but the gameplay and design didn't grab him.

I haven't played the game yet, so can't comment on the final score, but the review seems fair. As Mark says (and the Aug Top 10 list proves), it's different strokes. You can't please all the people all of the time.
Sep 2013
Post count:
@Sobtanian | 01:34 - 7 September 2013
One gets the impression from the review that the reviewer has played the game once or twice, and cobbled together a "review".

The game is an entirely original form of solitaire. Your saying that any deck of cards will do is precisely the point, it's a digital solitaire game. That's like saying that any car will do instead of a racing game.

What you fail to point out is that it's not a clone of an age-old game, but an original design that works on touch screens flawlessly.

The gameplay itself is easy to understand, but has many hidden nuances and strategies, like any good puzzle game should be. Yes, luck is involved, but hey it's a game of cards.

This deserves to be on anyone's iOS device, and yes it's worthy of a best of August, or any month list.
Oct 2012
Post count:
Marco Latini | 12:07 - 6 September 2013
Sooooo....why the fuck did u put this game on your best games of august list....
Sep 2013
Post count:
@kurrrt | 12:02 - 6 September 2013
There's a lot that wasn't covered in this review, so as the developer I'd like to mention a few aspects of what this game actually is.

This is a complete redesign of solitaire, I looked at the card game on touch devices, saw soooo many people playing on their cramped little screens and wanted to create a brand new enjoyable experience. A wholly new solitaire game that has condensed the formula down to four piles. It's a brand new ruleset that you won't find in any other card game and it's got a lot of strategy.

It's not an arbitrary design either, I made it so that it can be played single handed with ease, left handed or right handed. That a tough constraint to design for, but I nailed it.

The look of the game is quite unique, it's understated and simple. The reviewer didn't care for it but a design like that is appealing to a lot of people, especially people looking for a card game, which happens to be quite a huge market.

Bottom line: this is a redesign of solitaire, a ritualized past time that is hard to enjoy on touch devices. It's simple, refined, and if you love solitaire or hate it, it's worth checking out because few (if any) people attempt to redesign a classic. If I succeeded or failed is up to you, but it is original, and you can email me straight from the app to tell me what you think.
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