PopCap takes another stab at completely annihilating worldwide productivity with the announcement of Solitaire Blitz.
Generally speaking, the people who work at PopCap Games are a kind, clever bunch who instill great affection in everyone they meet. However, they absolutely hate the idea that anyone might ever get any work done. Peggle, Bejeweled, Plants vs Zombies; these are all "games" in a general sense, but in a more specific, honest sense they are one company's sum effort to cause worldwide economic collapse, like some kind of really genial super villain.
This morning the company official unveiled its latest stab at global industry, the innocuously-titled Solitaire Blitz. Edge has a lovely preview of the title that explains how exactly the company has opted to shake up the tired Solitaire formula which anyone who owns a PC should be immediately familiar with:
The game, which unfurls from one of PopCap's signature beautifully crafted tutorials, has you moving consecutively numbered cards - ace on king or two, seven on eight or six - from seven stacks to three piles, with the aim of clearing all the stacks within the time limit. You start with just one pile, unlocking the other two - and therefore increasing your chances of finding matches - when you play special key cards.
Being a Blitz game, it isn't about pure chance, nor is it about predetermined destiny through the lie of the cards. Instead, it's a melding of player reactions, strategy and PopCap number magic. Chance here is steered by bonus level, which increases the probability of getting runs of cards, and what it's tempting to call 'Blitz benevolence' - cards that simply seem to go your way - all accompanied by heady swells of Solitaire's fantastically opulent music, performed, incredibly as it might seem for a mere Facebook game, by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
The skill comes, as it does with standard solitaire, in strategy: making decisions that keep high your chances of finding matches. But Solitaire Blitz's big difference is the fact that you're chipping away at high stacks while storing wildcard jokers for the right moment under serious time pressure.
This being a PopCap title, the game features adorably accessible artwork, in what one might call "art-deco meets a Jacques-Yves Cousteau fever dream." You don't have to call it that, but I'm going to.
Solitaire Blitz joins Zuma Blitz and Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook next month, further strengthening the Zuckerberg empire and giving you something to do once you realize you hate everyone you knew in high school.