The Chronicles of Emerland Solitaire
Where to start? There's so much to say! I guess I'll begin with the basics.
This game is made by the people who brought us Tropical Fish Shop 1&2
, Garden Rescue
, and Odysseus: Long Way Home
. Options include sliders for music and sound effects, full screen, wide screen, custom cursor, and tips. You can turn on/off the tips at any time via the options menu. You have two difficulty settings to choose from, relaxed
. You can't change this one
FYI, I chose the challenging setting, and my review will be based upon this setting.
The graphics are gorgeous, and we have full voice-overs during the adventure portions (did I say adventure? hohoho *grin* I'll come back to that). The music is just as beautiful as the graphics -- very pretty, very soothing. I have to say that the antagonist is a bit overdone, but I can forgive them that
So, the game is categorized as being a card game with hidden objects, but that's not terribly accurate, which is why I'm calling it a card-adventure. We have an actual plot with this, and goals that we have to fulfill. The hidden object portions are things like "find 10 agarics" (red mushrooms with white spots, by the way
) or light 10 lanterns, always continuing the plot. Rest assured, if you have trouble finding things (some are hidden behind other items), there is a refillable hint... and if you can't stand finding the hidden items, you can SKIP those scenes!
For those familiar with Faerie Solitaire
and Fairway Solitaire
, this has the same play-style. For those not familiar, cards are played in number runs. You have a base pile at the bottom of the screen that you work off of, and you place cards on it consecutively one higher or one lower than is shown. For instance, if you have a 10, you can play a 9 or a Jack on it. Longer runs get you higher points, and points = experience. Like a role-playing game, experience makes you go up levels. Every level you gain earns you new abilities that will help you with the solitaire portions of the game. Not only that, but you can find goodies underneath the piles of cards that you clear off. Money is the first kind of bonus that we find, and money is used to purchase items that will help you during the solitaire portions. So, we have skills earned with experience, and bonus items that you get in the store with the money you find. Both skills and store-bought items will help you with the game. We have a quest with many obstacles to overcome (imagine that!), the next thing we will find during our gameplay is supplies. It all ties in with the plot very nicely.
As you progress through the game, you will eventually gather companions, whom you can upgrade via the store (I haven't met them yet, so can't say much about that at the moment).
There are ten hands to play in each level, and you CAN replay a hand if you're not happy with how you did, but you must replay it immediately. Don't click on the "Next" button if you want to replay, or you'll have to play the whole ten hands to redo it.
Playing in challenging mood certainly is a challenge! haha I've had to replay some levels close to ten times before I was able to pass them
By "pass", I mean that there have to be four cards or less when you run out of cards - not always easy! Ach~ Well, I like a challenge, it adds to the interest of the game
There are also trophies to be had, which adds yet another level of interest!
To review, the graphics and music are wonderful, the gameplay is varied, fun, and challenging, and we have a role-playing feeling due to the plot and quests we need to accomplish. Love this game, an absolute must-try for those who love card games, and/or for those just looking for something different to play.