While a game about ghosts and a spooky castle might be better suited to play around Halloween, MegaZebra's Solitaire Castle on Facebook is perfect to play any time of year, offering the now standard Pyramid-style solitaire gameplay found in other recently popular games (like PopCap's Solitaire Blitz, for one) in a level-based setup that makes the game more complex as you go along.
In Solitaire Castle, you'll help a friendly purple ghost explore the many levels of this spooky castle, completing levels that each contain three overall goals. These goals normally revolve around removing all of the cards from the board, earning a specific number of points or completing a combo (that is, playing a specific number of cards before having to draw another from the deck). Each level comes with a different card layout, or simply a different number of cards that must be removed from the board, so each level may also be more or less challenging than the last.
Each stage comes with is own leaderboard, allowing you to compare your score with that of your friends, but you'll unfortunately be limited to five lives that recharge over time. These lives are used as you complete levels, and are unfortunately used even if you successfully complete a stage. It would have been understandable to see a life wasted if we failed to remove all of the cards from the board, but here, you're "penalized" either way.
Gallery: Solitaire Castle on Facebook
As of this writing, there are seven different areas of the castle to explore, but you'll need to earn a certain number of stars (by completing each stage's goals) to unlock anything outside of the Entrance Hall. You can replay levels if you need to earn more stars, but some stars are locked entirely at first, requiring you to ask your friends for help in unlocking access to even earning them. Technically, this makes the experience more social, but it's another design choice I could have done without.
All of that being said, Solitaire Castle is a polished card game that's really fun to play, even if you only do so while waiting for your energy to recharge in other games of the same type. The card layouts offer some real challenge, and even offer elements of strategy as you combine both the "luck of the draw" with your own decisions in which card to play next. If you like the more popular games in this genre, like Solitaire Blitz on Facebook or Fairway Solitaire on iOS, make sure to give this one a try as well.
Click here to play Solitaire Castle on Facebook --->
Have you tried Solitaire Castle on Facebook? Do you like this star and goal-focused gameplay, or do you prefer the random score-focused gameplay of Solitaire Blitz instead? Sound off in the comments.