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GameBox Solitaire by PDAmill, Price: $9.95
Reviewed October 2003 by Tony Peak

Even though I've never been more of a casual player of Solitaire, PDAmill's GameBox Solitaire hooked me from the first hand dealt. Its simple interface, professional graphics, and incredible soundtracks really pulled me into the game and kept me playing. I found myself interested in learning to play all 10 varieties offered, something I can’t say any other solitaire game to date has made me want to do.

GameBox Solitaire provides 10 games, offering a little something for everyone. While other solitaire packages may offer more games, GameBox focuses on quality over quantity. The 10 games included are favorites of many including Blind Alleys, Canfield, Chinese, East Haven, Fourteen Out, Freecell, Golf, Klondike (classic Solitaire), Pyramid, and Pyramid golf. All the features you would expect unlimited undos, replays, and automatically saved games are accounted for, as well as simple statistics tracking.

Where GameBox Solitaire really excels however, is presentation. The graphics are top notch and feature eye pleasing effects like drop shadows, card animation and cards that sway realistically with the movement of the stylus. From the opening deal to the winning animation, the title screen to the credits, it all looks absolutely great. It may sound like small details, but it’s these very details that turn a good game into a great game.

Equally enjoyable is the game's sounds and music. The beat is both relaxing and engaging, and makes it easy pass the time. The game’s features list it as ‘three soundtracks totally over 15 minutes’… I can’t say I’ve ever counted, but the music is certainly very pleasing to the ear. It loops nicely and blends very seamlessly. It’s certainly a nice touch that enhances the quality of the title and helps to break any feeling of monotony.

Really the only fault I have with the game is its simple one page game descriptions. While this gives you all the needed info to pick up and play in a very short amount of time, a more in depth in game guide would have been highly appreciated. Let’s face it… if you’re playing Solitaire you probably don’t have a lot else going on at the moment. A strategy and more in depth history section would have provided some nice light reading. Some of the rules are vague and could be covered more.

Even so, casual players such as myself will have no problem picking up and enjoying this game for one deal or ten. Experienced players should find nothing to dislike, though this isn’t exactly going to expand your game. The quality that PDAmill is known for is here in full force, and delivers ten outstanding games of Solitaire.

Playing Hints and Tips

New players may wish to start with easier games to get the hang of things. I personally found Pyramid to be the easiest to pick up, and very addicting. Canfield is also simple and fun, and easy to win if you pay attention to the cards.

 

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Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics What’s not to like? This is Solitaire of the highest quality. The cards, tables, menus, animation, and effects are all perfect.
Sound When Jason “Jaybot” Surguine is involved, you know the music is going to be top notch. The sounds are excellent as well, not a single complaint.
Fun Meter GameBox Solitaire is truly an all-inclusive solitaire. Everyone from the newbie to the old pro can easily pick it up and play. It’s the most welcoming and enjoyable game of Solitaire I’ve ever played.
Addictivity With ten games, some of which feature a million possible deals, you’ll have no shortage of Solitaire to play. Even so, while the game is extremely solid in both graphical and audio details, it’s a little lacking in depth behind the scenes. Greater statistics and an in depth rulebook would have went a long way, as well as a more game variations. With such an incredible game engine already in place, the more the merrier! PC players used to dozens or hundreds of game choices may find 10 a slap in the face.


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