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'Awesome Solitaire' Makes Lonesome Card Playing Full of Glitter and Glam

Awesome Solitaire
Solitaire is one of the few computer games not to have seen much in the way of improvement or innovation. In fact, since it became the world's most popular timewaster with the release of Windows 3.1, electronic versions of solitaire have become pretty much indistinguishable from one another (outside of the occasional fresh coat of paint). 'Awesome Solitaire' for the iPhone doesn't mess with the mechanics, and that's a good thing. Instead, the company behind the game, Wolter Group, has loaded up the app with constant affirmations of progress and slick, flashy animations ala 'Guitar Hero' that make the normally staid card game feel downright epic. Or should we say... awesome?

Awesome Solitaire

The cards flip, fly, stack and sparkle (literally) as you play. The rainbow splashes that inform you of "cunning" or "solid" moves recall the disco aesthetics of a Daft Punk video, while the starry background lends a sense of grandeur that you wouldn't normally associate with a game you play alone. Our one and only complaint: no sound. 'Awesome Solitaire' deserves a soundtrack that lives up to its name. Instead, those sparkling graphics and smooth animations are paired with absolute silence. It may just be solitaire, but this card game is begging for explosions, whooshes and twinkling noises to match its epic design.

If you've been yearning for a solitaire game with a little more flair -- or looking to learn the addictive game -- 'Awesome Solitaire' may be just what you need. And with the game available for free through the weekend, there's no reason not to check it out. Also peep our Q&A session with the game's creator, Ethan Miller, below.

What makes 'Awesome Solitaire' so awesome?
Well, first off, Solitaire is a great, classic game. But so many apps like this in the App Store feel cobbled together, and aren't much fun. So we decided to make the smoothest, best-playing version, and then use "awesome" as a jumping off point. Lots of flashy animation, glowing particles, hyperactive affirmations to the player. Why not? It's 2010 and you have an iPhone. Make it awesome. Also, nice custom-designed cards. Just made it the best we could.

Of all the classic games you could have chosen to give a flashy "awesome" makeover, why solitaire?
It's one I really like myself, and it seemed like an easy first step. The game play is already solid, so focus on the polish.

Was there any specific inspiration or guiding theme for design?
Yeah, I had a big moodboard to start. Disco, flashing lights, Japanese television commercials, and of course, the cosmos. If you look at the promo video (which I'm very fond of), you get a big helping of these things.

The promo has this really high energy J-Pop soundtrack, and then you fire up the game and there is no sound at all. Is there a particular reason you chose to make the game silent?
Yes. Personally, I'd rather listen to my iPod while playing casual games like this, on the train or whatever, so I consider sound that's not core to the gameplay to be more of a bug than a feature. But that's something a lot of users have asked about, and we may change our minds if people are into sound. There are a lot of fun things we could do.

Anything in particular you'd consider adding sound-wise to enhance the experience?
Probably some Game Boy-style synth sound effects. The game congratulates you for practically everything you do, so that would be a good place for sound. Maybe a little musical number during the winning animation. Optional, of course.

Are there plans for any future enhancements? Are you going to offer deep Twitter and Foursquare integration?
We have a version with Game Center achievements and a couple other surprises in testing. Beyond that, I can't comment on unannounced features. We have a lot of ideas for expansion if it becomes successful. It can only get more awesome from here.

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Tags: apps, awesome solitaire, AwesomeSolitaire, downloads, ethan miller, EthanMiller, features, gaming, ios, iphone, reviews, solitaire, wolter group, WolterGroup