5 in 1 Solitaire Review
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Available For: Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii
Reviewed On: Nintendo Wii

When I was a kid, I used to spend hours playing solitaire. I must have known 10 different variations, and I’d play them over and over, one after the other, on quiet, rainy days. Years later, I did the same thing on my computer—on late nights in the dorm basement and slow afternoons at work. And now the same old addiction has reared its ugly head again—this time, on my Wii, thanks to Digital Leisure’s new WiiWare game, 5 in 1 Solitaire.

5 in 1 Solitaire features five different forms of card-based solitaire games. They include old standbys like basic Klondike solitaire (the one that used to occupy hours of computer time in college), as well as FreeCell and Spider. And there are also two newer, less familiar games: Gaps and Golf.

All five games include step-by-step tutorials, which explain the rules of the game while allowing you to make a few plays for yourself—so you can get the hang of it before starting a game of your own. The tutorials don’t take a whole lot of time, and the rules are generally pretty simple and straightforward. As soon as you run through them once, you’ll be ready to play.

While the games may be pretty easy to pick up, though, they’re next to impossible to set aside. Each one is completely addictive—and absolutely maddening. Once you start playing, you’ll have to keep playing until you can win—and once you finally do win, you’ll have to keep playing to prove that you can do it again. And then, before you know it, a couple of hours will have passed.

My only real complaint, then, is that the game doesn’t come with an alarm clock. And it would be nice if, from time to time, it could pop up a message that says something like, “Shouldn’t you be in bed by now?”

There’s really nothing fancy about 5 in 1 Solitaire. You can change a few rules, and you can choose from a few different decks of cards. You can change the music settings, too. But this is pretty basic stuff—just a collection of simple card games, played on a plain, green background. And when you win a game, you won’t get any fancy award sequences—just some simple fireworks.

Still, the graphics don’t matter all that much. What more do you really need when you’re playing solitaire? And those fancy award sequences only waste time that you could be spending playing another game. What really matters, then, is that the five games are easy to learn, simple to play, and so very addictive. 5 in 1 Solitaire is well worth your 500 Wii points. Just be sure to keep a clock handy when you play—or, better yet, set an alarm. Otherwise, your family may never see you again.

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