Solitaire Detectives (iOS/Android) Review

Disappointing waste of a great premise

Solitaire is an interesting cultural artifact in that while it is both beloved and universal to anyone who has ever owned a PC, it is also a really dull game. If people only played Solitaire when they had nothing better to do, what does that mean for the games trying to cash in on Solitaire nostalgia?
Game Name: Solitaire Detectives
Platform(s): Android, iOS 
Publisher(s): Tapps Games
Developer(s): Tapps Games
Release Date: 4th April

Price: Free 
What immediately struck me about Solitaire Detectives was the aesthetic. The developer couldn’t seem to decide on either a ‘film noir’ look or a Victorian Sherlock Holmes vibe, so just kinda did both. It’s hard to imagine a pair of Trilby and trenchcoat detectives, sitting at their coffee-stained office tables talking out the missing jewels taken off the ruby shoes of a lonely dowager.
The whole tone of the game is indecisive, quickly swinging from dismemberment to wacky criminal scheming. The quick shifts would have been disorienting… if any effort had been put into the mysteries. Despite being called Solitaire Detectives, the rules seem to be more similar to Majong Tiles, with top cards being cleared freeing the bottoms ones until the board is empty. Each board contains a few key clues hidden under glowing cards, but since the board needs to be cleared even after you find them the effect is wasted.
The puzzles themselves are randomized and heavily based on luck. Most games you play will be unwinnable without using the premium joker cards, which can be won through daily quests or purchased for real money.
Some cards also have special properties, like the bomb cards or the roped ones. These mix up the gameplay a little but overall each mission is the same. After every few clues, an update to the mystery pop up in a block of text until the case is solved.
It feels like there is a much better game buried inside here. If the gameplay had been made a bit more varied or the mysteries had been made a bit more interesting or if the two elements had been tied together… at all… I could see this game doing really well.
As it is we have a basic puzzle game wrapped in a rushed detective theme, completely wasting the great premise it promises with a title like ‘Solitaire Detectives‘.
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So much unreached potential...

So much unreached potential...

– Great Premise
– Love the background music
– Pleasant looking
– Inconsistent tone
– Little gameplay variation
– Too eager to push microtransactions
– Shallow mysteries 
  • So much unreached potential...

About The Author

Luke Jimenez

An Aussie gamer and father of 3, Luke is as passionate as he is time-poor and eloquent as he is sleep-deprived. Mobile gaming has become a platform for unique and experimental ideas on the go and Luke is determined to prove it.