For a style-less nerd, I have some pretty intense feelings about fashion. Stripes with plaid? Socks with sandals? Bring me my pitchfork and flaming torch! So when I'm forced to match not only socks with sandals, but fluoro green socks with tan sandals, just so I can complete a level of a Golf-like solitaire game, it causes me to break out in hives.
Fashion Solitaire is a surprisingly challenging blend of solitaire and dress-ups, almost in the same way Fairway Solitaire pairs golf with a card game. You must dress a certain number of models with at least a hairstyle, top and bottom garment and shoes before you can progress, and there may be conditions attached, such as including a red item. You can earn more dollars by designing your own clothes and adding them to the solitaire deck. On the solitaire side, each card represents a garment type (i.e. shoes, jewelry, skirts, etc) and features particular colors and patterns. They are stacked in piles with only the top card exposed, and you use the exposed cards to dress your model. You can stack cards of similar type (but not color or pattern) and remove unwanted cards to the reserve pile, or to a blank deck. Earn more dollars by picking up a group of cards of different types, i.e. a skirt, top and jewelry, to dress your model with one click. It's easy and fun! Well, up until you have 8 models to dress and no reserve stacks and for some reason you have four different garment cards exposed, none of which are the one you need to meet the conditions criteria, and model A is demanding a plaid dress that you've already used on the model that wanted brown a couple of screens ago.
The game seems to be aimed at people who like fashion rather than gaming, and as such, takes a little while to ramp up the difficulty. Once it does, though, it's challenging enough for any solitaire enthusiast. The feature of being able to design your own clothes is a nice touch. You can't design the shape or pattern — you unlock them as you progress — but you can match shapes with patterns and colors and swap the resulting card with one in the default deck. Strategically, you should try to keep a variety of colors so you don't end up struggling to meet that last compulsory condition before you can progress to the next round. At the end of each section, you have a fashion parade with the best garment designed in each round, as chosen by you, giving you the option to take photos and send them to friends!
Analysis: I have a few quibbles with the presentation. It's hard not to compare this game with JoJo's Fashion Show, and even though the gameplay is much richer, the artwork is kind of bland. The colours and patterns offered in the design screen range from OK to awful and the images are sharp and choppy. It can still look good, but the unfair tendency is to think "JoJo's fashions are so much prettier" if you've ever played that game, and of course a lot of this game's audience will have done so. There's also a fairly pointless "Buy Clothes" feature which I really haven't used — there's no scoring bonus the way there is with designing your own clothes, and you still have to swap the item with an item in the default deck. You can't turn hints off. In terms of gameplay, however, none of these are show-stoppers, just things that it would be nice to see developed further.
Long story short, this is a fun, addictive game that will have fashionistas screaming when they have to match fluoro pink with flouro green just to get a model off the screen... wait, we're in the middle of an 80s revival, it's all OK!