Best In Show Solitaire – An Indie Game Review

best in show solitaire screenshot1
Best In Show Solitaire – An Indie Game Review

Platforms: Windows PC, Mac, Linux

Game Name: Best In Show Solitaire

Developer: Graduate Games

Genre: casual, card game

Developer Summary

Have a barking good time in the addicting casual Card game, Best in Show Solitaire! Adopt and Train 40 different breeds who all have different abilities and stats that affect each hand, as you strive to win the National Title of “Best in Show.”

What We Think

From indie game developer Graduate Games comes Best In Show Solitaire. If you liked Faerie Solitaire (which was one of my favorites on Steam last year) then you will be pretty familiar with the set up of “Best in Show” – the layout is essentially the same, (even the specific music cues when you get bonuses), minus the appeal of the storyline that so captivated and motivated me keep to continue playing “Faerie Solitaire”

best in show solitaire screenshot2

In this game you are vying to become the best in show, and if you are a dog lover, perhaps this is the perfect niche game for you to wile the hours away, attempting nine grueling rounds to get to the next level.

After carefully selecting your dog from the pet store based on attributes like which will run out of stamina, loyalty and so on, you quickly discover you must go back to the pet store where you can purchase water, or treats, or trade up for a new dog. This can be considered fun, but I found it tedious and found it merely interrupted my flow as an avid player of Solitaire.

Different dogs have different traits and trained abilities that aid in gameplay. You can train your dogs’ abilities at the Dog Select screen or unlock more dogs as you get further along in the game. It may be an early-release bug, but I found it confusing that I would get a notice for a newly unlocked dog when there were still only three dogs unlocked in my dog selection page.

best in show solitaire Dog Selection screen

You also can collect coins and spare cards as you progress in levels, the spare “cards” are fun little icons shaped as dog bowls, or chew toys, or pet food.

As I mentioned above, each level consists of nine rounds which can become a bit tedious and redundant in that there are not many extra perks happening per level. You do have objectives you need to do before you can get a pass to be allowed to move forward in the game, but I found, even playing in EASY mode, that my cards were not being shuffled kindly and it would take me at least two tries to get through a whole level (that is – nine rounds at the minimun of two minutes each – times two, if you’re lucky – and not falling asleep by then, of your life wasted trying to get to the next level.) The perks are that you do get bonuses for combos and earn cash every level (thankfully it doesn’t reset), so if you have to repeat a level you are just building your bank to by more boosts for your pups.

The tutorial level feels a bit long as it too lasts a whole nine rounds, though I suppose it gives you the opportunity to earn some cash and bonuses, unlock some new dogs and get accquainted with the game before going full throttle.

The only major frustration I found in this game, is that while travelling level to level, you are really lacking real incentive, whereas in “Faerie Solitaire” you are releasing the faeries and being told a story in between levels…so it takes you on a bit of an adventure and gets you excited about getting the next destination, whereas BiS reserves few twists in the plot.

best in show solitaire screenshot1

With Best in Show, I found myself getting bored at the mundane levels and really didn’t feel a sense of excitement towards what it may next introduce. The only payoff at the end of the level is a news article that really doesn’t alert you of anything substantial. It made me start to wonder where the three hours I had logged for the game was actually getting me, besides a hopefully inevitable top prize.

All told, it is a well-constructed game featuring cute, nicely illustrated dogs (if you are a dog lover); every aspect of all the levels are heavily dog-themed. I give it 2 1/2 out of 5 stars just for the lack of real adventure and storytelling. Without the sense of adventure, I really can’t justify the extra time required to get through the whole game, which is essentially, a game of Solitaire.

In conclusion, had I not first been so intrigued by the hybrid casual card-game/RPG nature of “Faerie Solitaire” I would have nothing to compare it too and give it a 3, but alas…I just wasn’t as excited while playing this game as I had hoped.

Get Best In Show Solitaire at Graduate Games

[xrr rating=”2.5/5″]