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Gameplay

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Value
Publisher: Freeverse    Genre: Board & Card
Min OS X: 10.1    RAM: 64 MB    Hard Disk: 200 MB


Burning Monkey Solitaire 3
September 2, 2003 | Tom Burns
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The folks over at Freeverse Software have proven themselves time and time again to be the masters of card games. Nobody can compete with their renditions of Hearts or Spades, and the online play features in those games are phenomenal. They have truly isolated the market, and I don’t need to mention how excited I was to have the opportunity to review their latest game, Burning Monkey Solitaire 3. Having played the previous editions, I had a good idea of what to expect, but I was still blown out of the water.

The game play is what you would expect from a solitaire game; ranging from nearly complete automation to totally manual play. There are 21 different games of solitaire included, ranging from the standards like Klondike and Freecell to strange variations, with names like Osmosis and Four Seasons, and they have even included 52 Pickup for those really slow days at the office. The documentation and help files are excellent, and will help you learn new games quickly. Also new is the ability to post your scores on the Internet and rank yourself against the other players. There is another Web-powered feature, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Perhaps the most interesting (bizarre) part of the game is the cast of monkeys. Fans of the series know that the word “monkey” is in the title for a reason. The entire cast from the older versions has returned, plus a few new faces. Now why, you ask, are there monkeys in a game of Solitaire? The answer: To tell really, really bad jokes. As Freeverse’s Web site says, the monkeys are there to “help” you, which actually means that they will berate you and tell knock-knock jokes. Even more interesting, perhaps, is the game’s ability to obtain even more monkey jokes from the Freeverse servers for your enjoyment.

Now before you run away in fear, I should point out that as with most of the more peculiar features in the game there is an option in the preferences that will remedy the problem, if the chatter becomes annoying. Freeverse is very aware that what is funny to some is annoying to others, and accommodates some peoples' need to strip the quirks out of the game very well.

Graphics:
The game’s graphics are more than on par with Freeverse’s other games, far exceeding my expectations. They went with their tried and true two-dimensional style, appropriate for the game at hand. The graphics are extremely crisp, and the animations are fluid. The game includes a variety of decks and backgrounds to keep everything looking fresh, and if you ever get bored with solitaire you can just start clicking randomly on the monkeys; something humorous is bound to happen.

Sound:
Sound is not the first thing you might consider when buying a solitaire game. It is not crucial to game play and it certainly doesn’t change the game in any specific way. That being said, I was very impressed by the soundtrack and effects included, and also by the ability to add tracks from your own collection to the playlist. The seven tracks included span multiple genres, ranging from “Burning Monkey Jive,” a swing song, to tracks like “Rocket”, which tend more toward a techno/trance/ambient feel. The sound effects make an excellent feedback mechanism for moving the cards around, and I found that I enjoyed the game more with them enabled.

Conclusion:
Freeverse has another gem for their card-game crown with this one. The variety of games is impressive, and I learned quite a few new solitaire variations while writing this review. The game has reasonable system requirements, making it extremely viable on an older iBook that needs a few new tricks. The game appears at first to be a bit cute, but the little monkeys will grow on you, and you’ll be clicking the bagel button every five minutes before you know it.

Pros:
- Mobile gamer friendly
- Enough games to keep you playing until BMS4
- Bizarre menu options, buttons and other clickables
- Monkeys!

Cons:
- Monkeys could become annoying to some people



Burning Monkey Solitaire 3
Publisher: Freeverse
Download Burning Monkey Solitaire 3 Demo


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