To the Rescue of Wonderland
Normally when a game arrives from Avanquest for review, it is provided on optical media packaged in its own DVD case with a suitable front cover. However, to break the trend, this next title from Avanquest is only available as a download product from the company’s website. This game is entitled Wonderland Solitaire.
While there are various forms of the basic Solitaire concept of removing cards from the playing field, the game of Wonderland Solitaire concentrates its focus on the particular Solitaire variety known as Golf. With this type of Solitaire you are presented with different layouts of cards that need to be removed from the playing field. Some of the cards will be faced up while the greater number will be positioned face down until any overlaying cards have been removed. There will also be a Draw pile from which you can take the top card and try to start a sequence, either upwards or downwards in face value, from unobstructed cards that form part of the main layout. The object of the game, like other forms of Solitaire, is to remove all the cards from the playing field before the Draw pile has been used up.
Wonderland Solitaire does add some additional features to this basic format in an attempt to increase the appeal of this game which is set in a magical kingdom. These extra features include wild cards which can be used at any time to start of continue a sequence. In some cases a group of cards will be locked until you find the key or Yum-Yum card to help remove the blockage and reveal uncovered cards.
Wonderland has been ruled for many years by a kind and wise king but he has now died. A new king needs to be elected. The fairy prince Argon is the clear favourite for this role as he is kind, just and well respected but, and there is always a “but”, the evil sorcerer Rasmos has other ideas. He wants the crown for himself and summons up a magical whirlwind which scatters the voters to all parts. He then conjures up an army of skeletons to vote for himself. Your role is to gather up the scattered voters by playing numerous games of Golf Solitaire so that a fair election can be held.
The scope of this game is spread over nine areas which surround the world of Wonderland. These areas have picturesque names that include Sunbeam, Cheerfield, Flakeston, Sageland, Tikitoki, Fog Canyon, Crow’s Nest, Roaring Thunder and Mouth of Darkness. Each of these areas needs to be tackled in sequence with 10 rounds that need to be completed in each one. Points are awarded for each card removed from the playing field with additional bonuses for creating long sequences and completely clearing the playing field.
Points earned can be used to purchase spells from a Magic Store which is open for business at the conclusion of each game. There are spells to reveal the number of cards remaining in the Draw pile, reveal some of the covered cards, increase the number of undo moves or give you an extra wild card. Some of the spells are only available for the next game.
In order to complete an area you must have achieved a specific target by the time the ten games have been completed. These targets could involve reaching a particular points total or creating a sequence of a specific length. Failure to achieve the target by the end of a ten game sequence will mean that the area will need to be replayed before you are allowed to continue.
Fairy tale characters are used to embellish the playing cards rather than the more traditional card faces. Both the backing story and the imagery used on the playing cards mark this game down as being aimed at the younger family members. Along with the main Quest form of game play, there is an option for Free Play which presents you with a randomly selected single game. Up to eight individual profiles can be created and these can include different volume levels for the background music and sound effects plus playing the game in a choice of resolutions.
As mentioned this game is available for downloading from the Avanquest website. The game is priced at £10.20. You will need a 1.0GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 52MB of hard disk space running Windows XP and later.
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