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Fairway Solitaire

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
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Deck the balls

Product: Fairway Solitaire | Publisher: Big Fish Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Card/ board game | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.2
Fairway Solitaire iPhone, thumbnail 1
You can kind of see where Big Fish Games was coming from with Fairway Solitaire. Take two perennially popular desktop time sinks, bang them together, and see what pops out at the other end.

Quite what kind of voodoo's at work here we don't know, but Fairway Solitaire pulls off its unlikely golf/card combo with aplomb. It's a fairly traditional deck-clearing game married to a host of neat gameplay twists and framed within a faintly tenuous golfing veneer.

Each themed course is split into a number of holes which task you with clearing increasingly obtuse arrangements of cards by moving them to the deck at the bottom of the screen. Single cards can played if they're one higher or one lower than the current top deck card, regardless of suit.

Your goal is to clear as many of the cards as you can before you run out of stock - and remaining cards are tallied on your score sheet at the end of each hole.

Ace in the hole

So far, so solitaire. It's the myriad golf-themed gameplay additions that make Fairway Solitaire something a bit special. Water hazards, for instance, need to be cleared to unlock additional stacks, while you have to chip away at Rough cards to bring them into play.

There's also a Great Shot combo meter that's triggered once you remove six cards in one run and builds with each successive card you remove from play.

Once your combo meter is full - a state that generally involves a fair amount of observation and nimble thinking - you're handsomely rewarded with 1,000 Golf Bucks to spend elsewhere in the Golf Shop.

Special cards pop up from time to time, too - Wild cards can help or hinder your progress (and usually result in a golf-themed mini-game) while Iron club cards are handy for building mega-length Great Shot runs.

There's plenty more to discover, too, and it all adds up to an ingenious package that offers a surprising amount of strategic opportunity alongside solitaire's inherent luck of the draw.

It's also a game heavy on content, with around 350 holes to play over numerous exotic locations - although you'll need to meet increasingly stringent par requirements to unlock each successive course.

Putt your money where your mouth is

Thankfully, there's help at hand in the Golf Shop. Here you can spend your hard-earned Golf Bucks on a dizzying array of items to ease the pain of progression - from extra mulligans to bonus points on your Great Shot meter.

Throw in 32 achievement-style trophies which reward lateral thinking with money and there's a lot to sink your teeth into.

It might look like a straightforward card game on the surface but there's much more to Fairway Solitaire thanks to its assured, inventive design. It's a hugely enjoyable, supremely polished strategic deck shuffler that should suit puzzle fans to a tee.

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Fairway Solitaire
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 27 February 2012
An incredibly entertaining, oddball twist on the classic solitaire formula
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