Fairway Solitaire from Big Fish Games is an iOS remake of the company’s 2007 PC game. The game is available for free download as both an iPhone app and a separate HD iPad version. Both versions are actually limited trial versions, with the full game unlockable via in-app purchase. Both versions have performed well in the App Store charts, with the iPad version in particular still riding high at the time of writing.
Fairway Solitaire is a simple golf-themed take on solo card games. Players are challenged to clear various boards by playing cards that are either one value higher or lower than cards which are already on the table. If no moves can be made, the player draws another card from their deck and repeats the process until either the board is cleared (which is regarded as a “perfect” round) or the deck is empty of cards, at which point the player is given a golf-style score according to how many cards remain on the table. The game is structured like a game of golf, with the player aiming to finish various “courses” as much under “par” as possible.
Obstacles are added to the player’s efforts in the form of water hazards and sand traps. Face down cards are normally revealed when the card on top of them is removed, but sand-trapped cards remain face down until a special sand wedge card is revealed. Meanwhile, water hazard cards remain locked face down until all specially-marked “water” cards have been disposed of.
The player’s skill at forward planning (and luck) is rewarded with a “Great Shot” bonus mechanic which comes into play after five cards have been played without drawing from the deck. The more cards which are played without drawing, the higher the bonus on offer. The bonus in question is awarded in the form of Golf Bucks, which can be used to purchase “irons” for use as specific numbered cards during a hand, or for various powerups from the in-game Golf Shop. Golf Bucks are also awarded upon completing various trophies and achievements in the game, and can be purchased in the full version via in-app purchase. There are also occasionally “Wild Shot” cards hidden in the deck during a particular hand, which have the chance of either hindering the player or offering access to a number of minigames with Golf Bucks rewards.
The free version contains a generous amount of content, with all of the game’s first “course pack” available for play. These nine courses each contain at least three hands to play, and many contain more. While the physical arrangement of cards is the same each time, the exact cards which are used is randomized, meaning there is plenty of replay value even for those who do not wish to pay for the full version. However, making the purchase not only allows players access a much wider variety of courses, it also allows for the customization of the cards’ appearance, full access to the Golf Shop and more trophies to strive for.
The game is very polished, with excellent sound effects, music and cartoon cutscenes throughout. The player’s game is also accompanied by occasional voice commentary, most of which is memorably humorous in its nature. The high degree of care which has been put into this product coupled with its easy to understand yet addictive gameplay make it likely to be a big success — and the game’s user figures further prove this.
On iPhone, Fairway Solitaire peaked at No. 22 in the App Store Free App charts and is currently placed at No. 38. In the Free Games charts for iPhone, it peaked at No. 14 and is currently at No.23. On iPad, meanwhile, the game peaked at No. 2 in both Top Free iPad Apps and Top Free iPad Games, and is currently placed at No. 5 in both charts. To follow the progress of the game through the App Store charts, check out AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.