I am getting a bit weary of reviewing word games (I love them, but there’s just not that many new things you can do with them at this point), but Word Monaco Solitaire is the most interesting title in this category that I’ve seen all year. The game is based on the idea of playing a word game based on solitaire at some sort of resort in Monaco (I could probably find better things to do in Monaco than play card games, but that’s the basic idea and it does give the game a nice atmosphere).
Here’s how it works: The game pieces consist of letters that are arranged in columns just like they are in solitaire, and the idea is to move them around until every letter forms a word. That’s the essence of the game, although three rule variations are offered along with nine difficulty levels.
The basic concept works well enough. Even though the number of words in each level is limited, getting all the letters into just the right spot provides a good challenge. Had the game been thrown together with limited sound and mediocre graphics, it would likely be overlooked as just another shoddy word game. What makes WM an exceptional title are not only the terrific graphics, music, but the overall feel of the game. While the graphics and sound evoke the famous French resort country and contributes to the game’s atmosphere as a casual game, WM provides plenty of feedback to the player. Once you successfully create a word, a green gem appears over that column. Dragging over a letter or group of letters results in a pleasant sound effect as well as the last “card” in the column to smoothly flip over.
Word Monaco Solitaire is not quite the same as taking a vacation, but its design and implementation meet all the requirements of a great casual game. Its visually stimulating, has great audio, has challenging but laid back game play, is very engaging, and is very easy to play. While it relies more on eye and ear candy more than other word games, it’s still good fun.
Word Monaco Solitaire
Developer: Smart Box Design
Genre: Word Games
Platform: Pocket PC 2003+
Rating (of 4): 3.4