Fairway Solitaire HD Hands-On Preview

Big Fish Games is known mainly for their hidden object games, but their upcoming iPad version of Fairway Solitaire may shatter that expectation like a stray golf ball in the parking lot. A strangely addictive combination of cards and golf, Fairway Solitaire has all the glamor of TV sportscasting, with you as the pro.

Unlike in Tiger Woods or Flick Golf, in Fairway Solitaire your goal is not actually to whack a ball into a distant cup. Instead, you’re given an arrangement of playing cards, and must rack up combos by picking numbers that are one above or below your current card.

What’s fun about Fairway Solitaire is that every aspect of the game has a clever golf twist. Undoing a turn is called a “mulligan”, and at the end, the amount of cards you have left tell you if you’re over or under par. Color commentators will muse on your moves, and certain sets of cards will be locked as water hazards, sand traps, or rough grass.

If you pick enough cards in a row, you’ll build up some huge combos that can earn you golf bucks. These can be used to buy irons that sit in your golf bag and act as a sort of wild card.

You’ll also be taunted by a cartoon gopher that is plotting destruction against the golf course, like in Caddyshack. The numerous audio, visual, and gameplay details are quite impressive, and they give this card game a surprising amount of polish.

As a freemium download, you’ll be able to play 9 courses (with three rounds each) for free. The rest of the game can be unlocked for $2.99, and doing so will give you dozens of new courses. A few years ago, Tycho from Penny Arcade cursed this game for being so good, and playing it on the iPad, we’re having the same reaction. Fairway Solitaire will be available in the App Store later this month for both iPad and iPhone.

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