Quest for the Ruby Ring
The popular solitaire card game returns in Tri-Peaks 2: Quest for the Ruby Ring. Piles of cards are arranged in triangular patterns at the top of the screen. The bottom row are turned face-up. The remainder of the deck is shuffled at the bottom of the screen with a single card visible. All you have to do is take cards from the "peaks" that are either one above or one below the active card and remove them to the bottom of the screen. When face-down cards no longer have anything covering them, they flip over and await your move. It's a challenging and well-made card game that's as much luck as it is number crunching skill.
The story behind Tri-Peaks 2 is similar to an old serial adventure where Indiana Jones-type explorers head out to rummage through ancient tombs. Tex and Ally Carter are the heroes, and they're on a quest for the great Ruby Ring. They must search through temples in India, China, Easter Island and more, and as you complete rounds Tex will uncover treasure. Play a dud, however, and one of the temples' many traps will be sprung.
The interface is mouse-driven — it's a simple matter of clicking cards you want to remove and tapping the right mouse button to turn over the next card in the deck. Win half a dozen rounds or so to find an artifact that will be placed in the museum. Every once in a while you'll be treated to a pachinko-style minigame that Peggle fans will eat up. Don't expect the same level of polish and greatness in this diversion, however.
A good general strategy to keep in mind is that its more advantageous to uncover new cards than it is to get rid of current ones. So, if you can remove more than one card during a turn, always shoot for ones that will turn over face-down cards. This opens up more options and allows you to earn more points, more rubies, and increases your chances of clearing the screen.
Analysis: Tri-Peaks 2: Quest for the Ruby Ring is, for the most part, a straight-up video game conversion of the popular solitaire card game. The audio visual package is great, lending an intriguing plot and setting to the experience. As with some variations of solitaire, Tri-Peaks is largely dependent upon luck of the draw. Many times I've managed to clear all of the peaks save one lone card, and unfortunately everything left in my deck didn't help, forcing me to redraw and start again. That translates into frustration, which translates into closing the game and coming back later.
If you're a card game or solitaire fan, picking up Tri-Peaks 2: Quest for the Ruby Ring is a no-brainer. The core gameplay is unchanged, the few extras (wild cards, bonuses for streaks, etc) don't change the basic feel, and its sleek presentation is easy on the eyes and ears.