Burning Monkey Solitaire 2005, by Freeverse
Posted: 16-Jul-2005

5 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Freeverse Type: SHAREWARE

Reviewer: Judd Spitzer Class: GAMES
     
$24.95   Download

Overview
In the world of computer purchases, I know that it has been said that you're JUST buying a $1250 deck of cards. But unlike our PC brethren, the Mac comes with a Chess game. Balancing the deck takes some panache; and to do that the folks a Freeverse have figured out a way to enable YOU TOO to burn every minute of productive computer time, all with an electronic deck of cards.

Requirements

  • System Requirements
  • Mac OS 9.0+ or X

Test System

  • iMac 800Mhz G4 17" Wide - 512MB
  • iBook G4 1.33Ghz 14" - 256MB
  • Mac OS 10.4 Tiger


Setup
Don't be discouraged by the
large download. This monkey expands out to a whopping 214.9MB. That's some deck of cards. As with many Mac OS X apps, this one is a matter of dropping the application into your desired folder on your hard drive.

Interface
If you have experience using solitaire or card games on a computer, then you will really enjoy your user experience with Burning Monkey Solitaire 2005 (BMS 2005). BMS has a natural interface, where your mouse can drag and drop individual cards or series of cards. Additionally you can tweak the look and feel of the game, from backgrounds, to the original music that will get you humming. One thing has stayed consistent with BMS, and that is the idea that you are in a theater, with a Monkey audience that berates and admonishes you for your less than stellar game play. In the end, if you win, the rewards are sweet.

All the controls that you may need are right on the screen. You don't really have a need to use the drop down menus, except for some advanced non-game play issues, such as changing your music or other customization features. The top of the screen features the basic controls, (see figure), and most are self explanatory, save one, "Bagel". Pressing this little button will cause a bagel to fly across the screen. The importance of this is little known, but fun to do when frustration becomes overwhelming. Additionally, every monkey can be pressed and prodded to produce some great animations.

Features
When many people think about solitaire, they really are thinking about the game Klondike. This is probably the most common version of solitaire played on computers or with a real deck of cards.


Burning Monkey Solitaire - Klondike

However BMS 2005 comes with 30, that's right, 30 solitaire games, most of which I have never heard of.

  • Klondike
  • Strict Klondike
  • Freecell
  • Baker's Game
  • Canfield
  • Baker's Dozen
  • Bristol
  • Four Seasons
  • Golf
  • Eight Off
  • Pyramid
  • Scorpion
  • Calculation
  • Will O' the Wisp
  • Little Spider
  • Yukon
  • Strategy
  • Dragon
  • Beleagured Castle
  • Leapfrog
  • The Wish
  • Carpet
  • Eliminator
  • Osmosis
  • Aces Up
  • Black Hole
  • Pile On
  • Cruel
  • 52 Card Pick-Up
  • 52 Card Put-Down


If just like me, you haven't heard of the games, don't worry, as there is adequate help available. While they don't provide step-by-step animated help, the instructions should be adequate for most with a curious mind.

Some of the standard features is the ability to change backgrounds and card decks, as well as the ability to choose music to play. Support for using your iLife libraries (iPhoto and iTunes) is not available. For true gaming fanatics, you can link up to the Internet, and post your stats and scores for the world to see how much time you are "helping the Freeverse guys to Test their software". Maybe in a future version you'll be able to watch other people play online and torment them in the gallery as a monkey.

The cards and the backgrounds and the stats are great, but it all pales in comparison to what BMS 2005 is all about. It's about the Monkeys. This game has personality. When you start up this game, you feel like you're playing with friends. Consider how much abuse you would take while you're trying to score that last card and win the game. The game has numerous monkeys, all well animated to give you some comic relief during your game play. As we all know, you cannot win 'em all, and those dreaded monkeys are relentless. You will experience arrows shooting through the air, bombs exploding, bad singing, and more. If you type different words on the keyboard during gameplay, you can find some of the more obscure "Easter Eggs". These are animations that the monkeys or new characters perform. You will laugh yourself silly with the stunts they pull.

Also, you will see that the monkeys tell jokes during gameplay. These are updated via the net on occasion, if you chose to go online with the monkeys.

Game Favorites
The standard game, Klondike, is by far my favorite version of solitaire, and BMS has a nice and smooth interface for game play. If you never have played Klondike, it is quite possible that you have never played solitaire. The object of this game is to move all your cards in order by suit up to the top of the screen.

My second favorite game is Freecell. In this game, no cards are hidden from your view, but you must move the cards in such as way as to move them by suit up to the top of the screen. "They" claim that every game of Freecell can be won, and it is highly addictive.

If you enjoy Klondike, you may find Canfield to be a fun variation of it. Canfield, like Klondike, has you move cards up to the top of the screen in order, but instead of starting with aces, the start card can be different each time.

Pyramid is another fun and easy to learn game. Cards are laid out as a pyramid, and you remove 2 cards at a time, as long as the total add up to 13. A King by itself is 13, Queen and an Ace is 13, Jack and 2 is 13, and so on.

Finally, worth mentioning is 52 Pick Up and 52 Put Down. While these are two games, I've never seen them in a solitaire game before, so I thought this was pretty cool. If you have small kids, this could be a fun game, just to have a chance to click on cards and having them move about the screen, and get an idea of the way the program operates.

There are plenty of excellent solitaire games in this mix that will keep you busy for years.

Summary
If you have the itch to play solitaire, then there is no better version available than Burning Monkey. Animation, music and wit come together in this game of solitaire making it the must have classic that will remain timeless. If you buy this game, you are guaranteed to have loss of time with your family and friends. Your projects won't get finished and you may not even find yourself able to sleep. Beware of turning your Mac into a $1250 deck of cards, it may force you to go out a purchase a new Mac just to have a computer again.

Pros

  • Addictive game play
  • Well done original music and backgrounds
  • Ample games with great game customizations


Cons

  • You cannot use your music from iTunes or backgrounds from iPhoto
  • Too addictive?


Overall Rating

5 out of 5 Mice