Something about the name Word Solitaire: Aurora calls out for a marketing tagline. Like, “Word Solitaire: Aurora: To Hell With Numbers!” Or, “Word Solitaire: Aurora: Well, What More Do You Want?”
Word Solitaire: Aurora is a thought-inducing word puzzle game that’s relatively bare-bones, but doesn’t require exquisite flash to ensnare its players. The core rule of the game is easy to grasp. You spell words with cards until your board is filled with usable vocabulary. Try not to make the ghost of your English teacher cry.
The game plays very similarly to classic Solitaire. If you’ve piddled away hours of company time on Microsoft’s version of the game, you have a decent idea of what you’re getting into. You begin each round with columns of cards face-down, and one card flipped over in each column. Flipped cards are used to spell words, which are awarded points based on length and the strength of the letters used, similar to Scrabble.
Clearly this is not a new Aurora Feint game.
Assembling words frees up the first card in other columns, which can then be flipped to reveal more letters and spell more words. You can then draw more letter cards out of the “deck” as needed. Just repeat until all the letters have been turned into genuine samples from the English language, and move on to the next level.
Occasionally, Word Solitaire: Aurora will throw you a bit of an extra challenge, such as more occupied columns that make it harder to re-arrange letters, or a special focus on a certain letter. Don’t be too intimidated, though: If you find yourself with a lingering “L”, “Y,” and “Z” that are keeping you from advancing to the next level, you can pull them into a Sun icon in the lower-right that obliterates the rogue letters. Take that, P! Nobody ever liked you.
Cut Pam? That’s a terrible idea, Word Solitaire!
Each level allows you to burn a certain number of letters, but you can still expect to get stuck here and there. Unfortunately, if you surrender, the game knocks you back– way back. Slogging through ten levels just to regain your footing is a tedious journey. Not to mention you always run the risk of getting stuck again and being sent back to Go.
There’s also the issue of word recognition. You’ll scramble for your dictionary more than once when you suspect you’ve spelled a total nonsense word that has no application in the real world. Most of the time, you’ll be right. Depending on your resolve, you might re-arrange your letters, or you might just grab the opportunity to move on, albeit a bit guiltily.
Even with these issues, Word Solitaire: Aurora is a quick and fun way to dose yourself with some bus-bound word play. It’s a very cromulent game.