So Symbian has plenty of frantic puzzle games and awe inspiring 3D adventures, but what if you want something more sedate? What about a nice game of solitaire - yes, I know you've probably played that until you're blue in the face, but stick with me as this is a little different to the standard fare. Pyramid Solitaire takes a different, ahem, angle on the solitary card game.
I hadn't heard of Pyramid Solitaire before reviewing this game - if you are familiar with it, excuse me while I explain the rules to those who aren't!
The game starts off with a pyramid of 28 cards, with the rest of the cards left on the deck. Your objective is to clear the entire pyramid by matching pairs of cards whose value adds up to 13. For example a six and a seven, from any suit, will match. Kings are treated as having a value of 13 (and so will clear on their own), Queens have a value of 12, Jacks are 11, and Aces equal 1.
The full 28 card pyramid
As you work your way through the pyramid, you can only match the exposed cards, and given the pattern of the pyramid, two cards have to be removed to reveal one behind - apart from edge cards.
Working your way through the deck
You take three cards from the deck at a time. These build up in stacks if you fail to clear all of them. There's a single foundation spot where you can put a card that's in your way, but this implementation of the game only lets you remove that card by matching it with its arithmetic counterpart.
The game is won when there are no cards left on the board, and you lose if you have cards remaining that cannot be matched.
Once you know how to play the game, success is within your grasp!
Knowing these rules before playing would be helpful. Now, Pyramid Solitaire for Symbian does have a help screen that gives a short(er) explanation of these rules. However, the (Angry Birds-like) menu that lets you get back to main menu or continue playing shoves the one-line explanation off the side of the screen, completely obscuring the key part that says you have to match cards that add up to 13. One quick trip to Wikipedia remedied the situation though.
Oops - the crucial instructions are beyond the side of the screen!
The aesthetics of the game are solidly inspired by its title and decorated with faux hieroglyphics. However, this makes a nice change from the standard green baize in most solitaire games, and it doesn't distract from the content either.
Here's an unsolvable game - but you have to work that out for yourself, the game won't notice and tell you.
Longevity shouldn't be too much of a problem with this game as card games seldom get old when you need to pass away a little time and relax. Pyramid has the benefit of being a lesser known game, which brings a little novelty value (or at least it did with me).
I felt that the menus were rather rough around the edges - particularly with the help page blunder. Furthermore, there's no hints mode, or any notification of when the game is at an unsolvable position.