GAME REVIEW: Solitaire Blitz

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I have been trying to move away from the realm of Facebook games because I find it can be the Bermuda Triangle of productivity, especially if I’m in a mood conducive to procrastinating.

PopCap Games have made the procrastinating extremely appealing, and the getting addicted to Facebook games almost impossible to avoid.

Solitaire is one of those games that gets me every time… I have to beat it. I have to get the cards to fall right so I can complete the hand. Another element of Solitaire that captured my attention and my interest was the range of decks to rotate, keeping it fresh longer.

The new addictive PopCap Game available on Facebook takes what you love about Solitaire and Blitzes it – turning it into a fast-paced speed round of Solitaire that you can compete against your friends, as well as sending them helpful boosts and gifts.

Solitaire Blitz takes place in your new idyllic island home as you embark on a career as a treasure hunter. Each of your solitaire stacks is a deep sea excavation, if you can clear the stack you get the treasure. The treasure ranges from shells, fish eggs and other random items you would expect to find on the ocean floor but there is also exciting, rare and expensive treasure like crowns, jewels and antiques. As soon as you claim your treasure it is converted to silver, which is your currency for purchasing boosts.

My favourite boost is extra time, because I’m a little slow and my observation is off at the times of day I get around to playing, but you can also get boosts to add cards, add jokers, blow up stacks and more. There are a range of boosts available each week and you can choose up to 3 at a time, if you can afford them.

Solitaire Blitz isn’t a game you can play endlessly, unless you buy extra energy, because you start with 5 and each hand uses one unit of energy and it slowly accumulates to recharge. Energy is something you can send to friends, and receive as well as buy so there is no need to be out of energy and the earned energy is stored differently to bought and gifted energy which means you can hold some in reserve.

Within the hand there are ‘Time Lines’ which will add bonus time to your hand, which can be a lifesaver!

The game is played with 2 decks of cards which are dealt into 7 stacks and 1 build pile. The cards from the stack need to make it to the build pile and there is the chance to open up two more build piles if you find the cards with the keys. Each card you play needs to be consecutive to what’s on top of the build pile and suit doesn’t matter, also you can go up or down and Ace can be high or low. Then there’s the Jokers, your wild card that you can play anything on.

Now it’s time to race the clock and see what treasure you can unearth by clearing stacks before the timer runs out. Have fun and try to keep an eye on your real time clock as well as the stop watch or you too might find yourself trapped in the Bermuda Triange of Facebook games.

Find out more: Solitaire Blitz Game

School 26

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Silicon Sisters Interactive is Canada’s first female owned and operated video game studio, founded and staffed by industry veterans, committed to developing games with a distinctly female focus that are high quality and inspirational. Data and studies analysis play a large part in the Silicon Sisters’ development process to ensure their games are relevant to women.

The first game to be released by Silicon Sisters is School 26, a unique game designed especially for tween and teen girls. It is built around the complex and catty world of high school so is perfect for the 12-16 demographic.

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School 26 centres around Kate, the new girl at her 26th school. All the moving has made maintaining long-term friendships a little beyond challenging so the new enrollment sees Kate make a deal with her parents – the family stays put if Kate makes good friends.

The player needs to assist Kate in her quest for friendship through the obstacle course that is high school. Intuition, empathy and strategy are important tools to help steer Kate through the moral dilemmas of high school as she builds friendships and a life at her new school. The dilemmas faced by Kate and the player controlling her are the very real, very relevant situations faced by teens every where, every day like – power struggles, peer pressure, romance, betrayal, alienation and acceptance.

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Social engineering has been identified as prominent in the life of the teenage girl, for some it IS the life of the teenage girl. School 26  sees Kate needing to get to know her new classmates, resolve their issues and strengthen her connections to them. This is done through dialogues, quizzes and a card matching game with rules that shift to reflect the evolving social dynamic among those at School 26.

Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, Silicon Sisters’ CEO says “By highlighting and rewarding the social activities girls engage in every day, School 26 legitimizes ‘soft skills’ such as communication, empathy, and networking. Girls need to understand that these skills will give them a competitive advantage not only in high school, but also later in life.” And that is exactly the sort of skill that girls need to have, among others of course, and a game that has certainly piqued my interest.

School 26 will be released for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch in the App store in April. The game will cost $2.99 for iPhone/iPod Touch and $4.99 for iPad (HD version). PC, Mac and Android versions of School 26 will follow soon after.

To learn more about the game and check out the screenshots and trailer please visit the official School 26 website at: www.school26.ca

Competition Alert! Heartwild Solitaire: Book Two

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Following Sacha’s review of Heartwild Solitaire: Book Two earlier this month, Orchid Games would like to give away 5 copies to Beauty and Lace readers.

If you would like to win a full version downloadable copy of Heartwild Solitaire: Book Two, leave a comment below telling us when you last had a little romance in your life. This competition is open worldwide, just make sure you leave a valid email address so we can email you your prize if you are a lucky winner.

Competition closes May 5th 2010 at 12pm AEST and winners will be announced by email and on this blog. Prize cannot be exchanged or redeemed as cash. Prize is electronic and in the form of an unlock code, you need to download the game onto your computer to access the game.

Download the free trial: Heartwild Solitaire: Book Two