In a previous article I covered some of the benefits of playing a digital versions of solitaire. But of the many apps that are out there for playing digital solitaire, which ones are the best, particularly if you have an iPad or iPhone? That's what I'll be focusing on in this article. But don't stop reading if you only have an Android device, because the majority of these apps also have a corresponding app for Android. So if there's an app here that sounds appealing to you, you only have to click the link provided to the developer's page, to check out whether there's also an equivalent Android app, or version for Windows or Mac.
CategoriesMy focus in this comparative review is not on apps that offer only one or two solitaire games, like Spider or FreeCell. There are literally hundreds of apps that already offer the classic Klondike solitaire game, for example. Instead, I want to showcase only those apps which offer a collection of different solitaire games that the enthusiast can explore and enjoy. I've grouped these into five main categories according to the number of games contained in each app's collection:
● Ultimate Collections are for the serious expert, and each app offers a minimum of 150 different solitaire games. In most cases it's a massive collection of hundreds of games, so if you're the person who wants to see everything that there is, you should head here.
● Superior Collections are for the dedicated fan, and each app offers around 60-100 different games. These are for folks who have more than just a passing interest in solitaire, and like to try a range of different games beyond the usual popular choices.
● Popular Collections are for the keen amateur, and each app offers around 30-50 different games. These are for folks who have more than just a passing interest in solitaire, and like to try a range of different games beyond the usual classics.
● Classic Collections are for the casual enthusiast, and each app offers around 10-20 different games. Each of these collections typically contains only the most popular solitaire games, so this category is for you if you just want to stick with the proven classics.
● Basic Collections are for the occasional dabbler, and each app offers only about half a dozen or so different games. These are typically the bare-bones "staples" like Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid, and Golf, which are found on nearly every site that offers solitaire.
RatingsWithin each category I've ranked the apps according to my personal ratings. For each app I've included my own rating and the App Store rating. My personal rating is mainly based by judging each game relative to the others in the same category. It is based on an overall impression of factors that include: 1. the number and quality of games included; 2. the graphics; 3. the user interface; 4. special features; and 5. pricing. Any rating is very subjective, so don't give my rating too much weight. Sometimes one particular gripe may sink a particular app for me, but you might give weight to different factors, so your experience with a particular app may be different from mine.
You'll notice that nearly all of my ratings have at least three or four stars (out of five), so you might wonder why I've rated all these apps quite highly. That's simply because I've only included the apps that I think are actually worthwhile. I play-tested a lot of apps with a view to putting together this comparative review, and I deleted and dismissed any app that performed poorly, that I couldn't recommend, or simply wasn't worth your time - they simply didn't make this list. As a result the only ones included here are those that I have personally enjoyed and made good use of, and that I think are worthwhile in some way.
To give another perspective besides my own ratings, I've also listed the App Store ratings. But at times the App Store ratings need to be taken with an even bigger grain of salt. Firstly, sometimes they are based on ratings from just a handful of people. Secondly, sometimes they are significantly impacted by disenchanted regulars who are upset after a particular update to their favourite app. Thirdly, in some instances they primarily reflect ratings from several years ago, and have been contributed by people who haven't seen more recent apps that might be significantly superior. So while the App Store ratings in many cases can be a helpful guide to popularity and quality, this isn't always the case. Certainly there are apps with very few ratings that deserve real consideration.
In light of the above, I suggest focusing especially on my overall comments and impressions, and that you consider the various strengths and weaknesses of each app, rather than the ratings alone. For one person the number of games included might be most important; for another person it might be the user interface or the ability to select custom graphics. In other words, you need to give emphasis to the things that are most important to you, and judge accordingly. In writing this comparative review it is my aim to help give you the information you need to do exactly that, and get you enjoying some of the wonderful solitaire games that countless people around the world also love!
Ultimate Collections - for the serious expert
Of course anybody can enjoy the apps in this category, not just the serious solitaire expert. But listed here are some of the apps with vast numbers of different solitaire games. So if there is a solitaire game that is slightly unusual, or a variation that other apps don't have, you may well find it in one of these programs. All of these have over 150 games at a minimum, so if it is sheer numbers you're looking for, start here.
BVS Solitaire Collection
Released: 2014. Last update: 2020. Games: 200+.
BVS Solitaire is the creation of Boris Sandberg, who has produced software for solitaire on multiple platforms, including Windows and Mac. This fine app has similar functionality to the versions available for PC. Aside from some counter-intuitive menus, the iPad version is very good, with particularly excellent graphics.
While the 280 games it comes with is a total that includes variations, it's an impressive collection, arranged handily by type. The software also lets you easily create your own solitaire games with custom rules, so there are endless possibilities.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (94 ratings)
Released: 2017. Last update: 2017. Games: 200+.
The first thing that impressed me with this app was the large selection of over 200 solitaire games, and the ability to arrange them by family or by favourites - a very convenient feature that I especially appreciate. There are also handy details for each game like the chance of winning, skill/luck ratio, and statistics.
The graphical look immediately strikes one as clean and modern, and there's enough customization available here to suit your taste. The user interface is intuitive and works well. It's just an all-round well done app, and is attractively priced as well. As you can tell, this app impressed me and I liked it a lot.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.9 (12 ratings)
Released: 2012. Last update: 2020. Games: 160.
This iPad-only app is an expanded version of their universal basic app which is free, ad-based, and comes with just 50 games. The interfaces of both games are similar, and while the Pro version doesn't have some of the bells and whistles of the more basic app, the fact that it comes with a massive 160 different games is a real strength.
It offers a very solid collection of different games, and plays very smoothly. And it has a good range of features, and enough customization to make it pleasing to use regularly.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.7 (564 ratings)
Solitaire Forever II
Released: 2019. Last update: 2019. Games: 300+.
This is a newer implementation of the Solitaire Forever app which has been around for a long time already, and was a big success. More recently the developer has been focusing his energies on this much improved and more modern app. The free version comes with only seven games, and the in-app purchase unlocks over 300 more games, each with helpful historical background.
Like its predecessor, the user interface isn't the most intuitive, and it suffers somewhat from a reliance on iconography. But this app really shows off the graphical capabilities of the iPad, and works best with good hardware. It's also available for Steam, Windows, Mac, and Android.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.0 (22 ratings)
Pretty Good Solitaire
Released: 2013. Last update: 2017. Games: 700+.
This app corresponds to the software available for Windows and Mac, and although it doesn't include all 1030 games that are part of the PC version, the 750 games it comes with is still incredible. The fact that its creator is an expert in solitaire games and has many original games to his credit already speaks volumes; his related web-site is also an excellent resource.
But the software was last updated in 2017, and unfortunately it does have a somewhat dated look which makes it less easy on the eyes than some of the other options. Regrettably these graphical weaknesses do hold it back somewhat, and prevent a higher rating.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (17 ratings)
150+ Games Solitaire Suite
Released: 2015. Last update: 2020. Games: 205.
This game comes with over 90 free games, and can unlock all 205 games with an in-app purchase. Alternatively as you play you can earn stars which you use to unlock more games.
It's not as sophisticated as some other apps, especially as far as the graphical interface goes. But it's a very fun challenge to unlock more games, and it does the basics quite well. An Android equivalent is also available.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.7 (1.6K ratings)
Epic Solitaire Collection
Released: 2015. Last update: 2020. Games: 826 (includes variations).
This remarkable collection of 826 games includes all the variations you could imagine, nicely arranged into categories. It's truly something for the dedicated solitaire gamer who wants to try his hand at more obscure games, and have everything at his fingertips.
One major shortcoming of this app is the absence of an undo feature in some games; personally I consider this is almost essential for digital solitaire. However it is worth having for reference purposes alone, given the massive number of games included, categorized helpfully.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.3 (7 ratings)
250+ Solitaire Collection
Released: 2011. Last update: 2020. Games: 253.
Just as the name suggests, this app provides you with over 250 different solitaire games. Games are conveniently arranged by type, and you can even make custom games. Some of the many custom games included have titles in foreign languages, which is one drawback of this app.
While not as flash as some of the more commercial apps, in part because it originated as software designed for Palm Pilot and Windows CE over 20 years ago, it's still a very impressive effort, with a lot of options and functionality. The free version is fully functional, and an in-app purchase simply removes ads; there are also free versions for Android and Windows.
My rating: App Store rating: 3.8 (2 ratings)
700 Solitaire Games HD
Released: 2011. Last update: 2020. Games: 700+.
What this app has going for it is the incredible number of solitaire games included. These can be conveniently filtered by category or type, and even by factors such as the odds of winning, skill level, completion time, decks used, or favourites. There's also a large number of in-game options for customizing things.
It all sounded promising, but on my older iPad I found the menu slow to respond once a game was in progress, and usability began to be affected. The cards also have a square look detracts from a classical feel, and there were other aspects about the graphics that rubbed me the wrong way; it didn't help that multiple messages to the developer were never answered. Clearly this app just isn't my cup of tea, but given the large number of high ratings, it's evidently a strong contender that might perform better with newer hardware.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (749 ratings)
Superior Collections - for the dedicated fanThe apps in this category are all for the dedicated solitaire gamer, and contain collections with a large number of solitaire games. Each collection contains from 60 to around 100 games. It's the place for the dedicated player of solitaire, especially if you want to explore more than just the standard traditional fare, and go beyond the classic solitaire games that are most popular.
Solitaire Victory HD
Released: 2012. Last update: 2020. Games: 114 (includes variations).
The original version of this app was first released nearly a decade ago, but regular updates and ongoing active development make it one of the few apps that make excellent use of the latest capabilities of newer iPads. The same is true of the companion iPhone version. The developers are Japanese based, but everything is in English.
There's a polished menu system, and a fine set of options for customizing game rules and graphics, as well as achievements, challenges, and many other extras. Numerous of the 114 games included are simply variations (e.g. there are three versions of Golf), and my only real complaint is that the size of the cards could be slightly larger. Overall it is an extensive and impressive collection with a lot of terrific features.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (30 ratings)
Released: 2011. Last update: 2020. Games: 60.
This app comes with 60 different solitaire games, with popular favourites and a large number of less common games both represented. One real strength is this program's ability to completely customize each game to your own rules (e.g. number of cards dealt, type of tableau building, and much more). I'd have liked to have seen a few more special features (e.g. tap to auto-move) as far as the interface is concerned, but the essentials are there.
I've especially found myself smitten by the beautiful graphics of this attractive app. There's over a dozen very attractive card-sets to choose from, and because the creator comes from Russia, these feature high quality traditional artwork that makes the game a real visual treat.
My rating: App Store rating: 5.0 (4 ratings)
Full Deck Solitaire
Released: 2011. Last update: 2020. Games: 50 (plus 18 variations).
Each variation is listed separately in this app, and the menu selection is based on the frequency of which you've played each game, which isn't the most intuitive or helpful. But for a free app it's a pretty impressive collection that includes most popular solitaire games, with around 70 total games (around 50 in total if you don't count variations separately).
While options for customizing graphics are limited, the ones that are available are easy on the eyes, and in recent years I've enjoyed many hours playing solitaire with this app. A free web based version will give an idea of some of the games and graphics.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (813 ratings)
Goodsol Solitaire 101
Released: 2013. Last update: 2017. Games: 101 (plus 34 variations).
From the maker of the excellent Pretty Good Solitaire, which has over 700 games, comes this slimmed down app that has 101 regular solitaire games, along with 34 bonus games that are effectively variants of some of the other titles.
It's much like the full game, but is intended to serve as a collection of the most played games only, rather than an exhaustive collection. Like the original app, it's terrific, except for an earnest need for a complete graphical overhaul.
My rating: App Store rating: 5.0 (3 ratings)
Hardwood Solitaire IV
Released: 2014. Last update: 2020. Games: 80 (plus 27 variations).
This commercially produced software has been around for a long time. The Hardwood brand first existed on other systems before an iPad version was created, and you can tell by the graphic interface. The base game just comes with Klondike, so you must purchase in-app currency that you use to add individual solitaire games, as well as to select alternative graphics and more. This means you're looking at spending around $20 just to unlock the 80+ solitaire games that it offers, and more if you want graphic upgrades.
The total of games increases to 107 different games if you include all the variations separately, and these are only organized alphabetically, so it's not my first choice. But some will like the bells and whistles it comes with. Versions for Mac, Windows, and Android also exist.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (60 ratings)
Solitaire Till Dawn
Released: 2017. Last update: 2020. Games: 100.
The graphics and functionality of this app isn't as good as some of the more commercial apps, but despite some sub-par elements with the interface and visuals, it's a very good collection. I especially recommend reading the helpful strategy notes included at the end of the rules for each game.
The free version gives you a solid set of 20 classic solitaire card games, and with an in-app purchase you increase this to 100 games. This program is also available for Mac, which isn't surprising given that it began its life as a program for the Macintosh Plus in 1991, and has been written and improved over almost 30 years by a developer with a passion for solitaire.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.7 (25 ratings)
Solitaire Collection Premium
Released: 2013. Last update: 2016. Games: 90.
This program is the personal project of a hard-working enthusiast of solitaire card games who enjoys developing software in his spare time. It's largely flown under the radar because he hasn't invested money to advertise it broadly. Its functionality and graphics is a little limited compared to some other options, and the last update was in 2016.
For a hobby style project of an individual, it's still a solid effort, and has a fairly impressive collection of around 90 different games. The free slimmed down lite version (covered below) comes with only half the number of games (45), and you get access to 15 of these and can unlock more by earning "jokers" through won games.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.2 (22 ratings)
Popular Collections - for the keen amateur
The apps in this category are all for the person who is keen to explore some of the most popular solitaire games, and wants to branch out a little from the more familiar classics. Each collection contains around 30 to 50 games, and the solitaire games included are typically all ones that have proven themselves to be popular.
Released: 2011. Last update: 2020. Games: 60 (includes variations).
This app is available for a range of other platforms (Windows, Mac, Android) besides iPad/iPhone, and is neatly organized into 20 main solitaire games. Each game typically includes a choice of rule popular variations, in effect giving you over 60 games.
The graphics and user interface are very good, and it's one of the best places you'll find a solid collection of classic solitaire games for free. There's also some nice features, like the lists of high scores for each game. Along with Solebon (listed next) it's one of my all-time favourite free apps.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.7 (831 ratings)
Released: 2014. Last update: 2020. Games: 50.
This is the basic version of Solebon Pro, which is listed in the previous category. But it still comes with 50 games, of which 40 are classic favourites, and 10 are complete originals. It's an impressive collection, and the ad-based free version is fully featured.
It's still being actively developed, with plans for additional graphic options. One real strength is that as an option you can select "winning deals", which only gives you deals that are solvable, thus increasing your chances of winning a game.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.8 (54K ratings)
Solitaire Plus! HD
Released: 2010. Last update: 2016. Games: 30.
This is a beautifully put together app, which has a lovely collection of 30 well-chosen classic solitaire games. Very few features that you look for in a solitaire app are missing, except perhaps a notification when you're stuck. And even though there's just one card face to use, it's one that is very clear and functional, and the overall user interface looks very sleek and modern.
Overall this program is very well done, and well worth checking out. There are also companion versions for Windows and Mac. If you have multiple PCs, be aware of the developer's special offer of a single purchase for multiple copies of the game for PC/Mac within the same household.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.5 (2 ratings)
Released: 2013. Last update: 2020. Games: 42.
This impressive app comes with 42 different popular favourites. For virtually all of them there are variant ways of playing as well, as well as a link to a youtube video explaining game-play. There's a relatively small amount of options for customizing the cards and background, but everything looks professional and pleasant.
Most importantly, game-play is smooth and pleasing. Scoring is implemented for all games, which takes into consideration a time element. At the end of each game your statistics are shown, followed by a leader-board that shows your score relative to the best global scores in the past day, week, month, and all-time bests - great incentives to keep playing!
My rating: App Store rating: 4.8 (139 ratings)
Most Popular Solitaire
Released: 2013. Last update: 2019. Games: 30.
This is the little brother of Pretty Good Solitaire (700+ games) and Goodsol Solitaire 101 (100+ games), and is a collection of the 30 most popular games.
Like its older and bigger siblings, this is a fine collection that has been created by an expert in the field of solitaire. Unfortunately and it is somewhat held back by an outdated look.
My rating: App Store rating: 3.0 (1 rating)
27 Solitaire Games
Released: 2008. Last update: 2016. Games: 29.
This isn't an especially glamorous app as far as looks goes, and options for customizing the graphics are limited, although there are some nice wallpaper backgrounds. But the graphics of the cards are clear, and the collection of 29 games is extremely solid. And perhaps most importantly, game-play is very smooth, and the essential features are there.
A "Dailysol" features lets you compare your scores for eight of the games with a global leader-board. A free version (5 Solitaire Games, covered below) comes with only 8 games, and is a good place to see the potential. These apps have been around for a while, and don't have as many features as some of the competition. Even so they hold up fairly well, if you're looking for slimmed down software that focuses on letting you enjoy playing.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.5 (88 ratings)
Pandora's Solitaire Collection
Released: 2013. Last update: 2018. Games: 33.
This comes with 33 different solitaire games, of which around 20 are classics, while around a dozen are some lesser known unique ones. It gives you a good springboard for exploring the classics while trying some less familiar games.
The graphics of Pandora's Solitaire Collection aren't as polished as some of the more commercial software, so it doesn't live up to the competition in that department. The in-app purchase removes ads and gives you access to some other premium features.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.3 (141 ratings)
Released: 2010. Last update: 2020. Games: 38.
This app offers 38 different games, and is a strong collection that includes all the classics and more. It allows some in-game customization for games like Klondike so that you can select the draw variants you prefer. It requires iOS 11 as a minimum, and operates smoothly and cleanly given the small size of the program. The at-a-glance overview of the statistics for all games played is also implemented nicely.
The menus have options for changing the deck, but no alternative graphics are provided other than the standard looking deck that is the default. The app is adequate if you are okay with a plain look, but could benefit from some improvements in the area of looks.
My rating: App Store rating: 3.0 (1 rating)
Released: 2013. Last update: 2018. Games: 40.
This app comes with around 40 games, and is a very well rounded collection that includes all the popular favourites and a handful of others, all of which have rightfully earned their place in this collection.
Initial impressions were quite positive, but once I spent some time with the app I began to experience a few annoyances with the interface. Examples include the visual sparkle that appears whenever you touch a card; the need to click twice to move a card; and the cardinal sin of having no undo button.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.4 (9 ratings)
Classic Collections - for the casual enthusiast
The apps in this category are more limited, and don't typically include as many games as the above apps. But if you're just looking for a decent package with one or two dozen classic and proven favourites, that's exactly what you'll find here. These collections offer more than what you'll find in the most slimmed down apps that offer little more than Klondike, Spider and FreeCell; here you'll find 10-20 classic games.
Solitaire Deluxe 2
Released: 2013. Last update: 2020. Games: 16.
This is a well-rounded set of 16 classic solitaire games, giving you some good variety. It has lovely graphics, and you can select an option that ensures winnable deals if you wish.
It's got various social features like an in-game currency for getting additional cards and backgrounds, and quite a bit of development has gone into the extra frills. But the game-play itself is quite solid and enjoyable, and it plays very smoothly, so I find myself coming back to it often.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (121K ratings)
Released: 2009. Last update: 2020. Games: 12.
The low App Store rating for this app is a bit baffling, and seems only to be a result of an earlier update that caused some glitches that removed statistics for some long-time users. But the current version works flawlessly, and this app is very impressive compared to others in its class. It features a dozen classic solitaire games, with all the options you could want for customizing difficulty levels and variants, including "solvable" deals.
The built in "achievements" system lets you collect cards towards a Golden Deck, which gives some great incentive to explore all aspects of the program. The free version is ad-supported, with each video ad earning "Hearts" you use for playing games. Despite some signs of its age in the graphics department (it first came out in 2007), it is a very pleasing product.
My rating: App Store rating: 2.5 (31 ratings)
18 Solitaire Games
Released: 2015. Last update: 2020. Games: 11.
Despite the name, this app actually comes with 11 different classic solitaire games. Variations of several of them (e.g. Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid, and Golf) are given separate entries to bring the total up to 18 games. Popular favourites like Scorpion, Simple Simon, Eight Off, Forty Thieves, Easthaven, and Baker's Game are also included.
It requires iOS 10 as a minimum, and has a very clean and smooth interface that works very nicely. Listed as "themes" are half a dozen different and attractive card faces, along with some other minor customization options for the graphics. Games are timed, but the addition of some statistics would be a nice enhancement. For a fairly basic app, it does the job well, with a pleasant and pleasing interface. Try the web version to get an idea of what to expect.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (82 ratings)
Solitaire Card Collection
Released: 2017. Last update: 2020. Games: 10.
Don't be deceived by the budget look of the opening menu. This game offers 10 different solitaires including essentials like Pyramid, Golf, Klondike, and Forty Thieves, along with half a dozen lesser known but popular favourites, each with options for the usual array of variants.
Once you get into the games themselves, the looks and game-play is smooth and pleasant, despite limited in-game options. The developer is quite responsive, actively improving the app and implementing some changes after I alerted him to some issues with an earlier version.
My rating: App Store rating: N/A (0 ratings)
Solitaire Till Dawn Lite
Released: 2017. Last update: 2020. Games: 20.
I've included the full version under Solitaire Collections, since an in-app purchase of $2.99 gives you access to 100 games. But the free `lite' version gives you a very solid set of 20 classic games, so this app really deserves inclusion in this category as well.
It's not flashy as far as the graphics and functionality are concerned, but you'll get a well-rounded collection of 20 essential solitaire games to start with for free. The written information included with the rules is also very helpful.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.7 (25 ratings)
5 Solitaire Games
Released: 2009. Last update: 2018. Games: 8 (unlock 2 more by playing).
Despite the title, this app actually comes with 8 games (Aces Up, Corona, Duchess, FreeCell, Golf, Klondike, Pyramid, and Yukon). Completing a relatively simple challenge unlocks a ninth (Tri Peaks), but you'll have to be really good to meet the requirements to unlock Spider. In fact the "Caribbean Cruise" feature which lets you unlock extra features by achievements is a nice idea, but most of them are impossibly difficult to attain.
Despite being around for a while, and not having as many features as some of the competition, this app holds up fairly well if you're looking for a slimmed down app that focuses on letting you enjoy playing. The full version (27 Solitaire Games, covered above) costs $9.99 and contains nearly three times as many games.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (167 ratings)
Solitaire Collection Lite
Released: 2014. Last update: 2017. Games: 15 (unlock another 30 by playing).
The premium version of this app ($2.99) has 90 games and was covered already in the previous category. This Lite version is free and comes with 45 games, and you start with 15 unlocked. By winning games, you earn "jokers" that you use towards unlocking more games.
It's somewhat inferior as far as functionality and graphics go, but it still runs smoothly, and the collection of games you start with is very solid. It's quite decent for a free game.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.6 (11 ratings)
21 Solitaire Card Games
Released: 2014. Last update: 2020. Games: 17.
Once you disregard variants (there are twelve listings for Klondike and Two Deck Klondike alone), this app actually includes 17 different games. Although the developer's website is dead, updates have been as recent as this year.
Don't be put off by the poor first impression you'll have from the unorthodox and very basic menu system, or the card graphics that are optimized for the iPhone and look very stretched out on an iPad. The actual game-play turns out to be very functional and adequate, including nice implementation of features like tap to move, autocomplete, and basic stats. Somewhat surprisingly, it ends up playing smoothly and pleasantly.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.5 (318 ratings)
Released: 2011. Last update: 2020. Games: 20.
One strength of this app is how it includes around 20 different solitaire games, all classics, including some rule variations for each. The app is hampered by sub-par graphics, and more recent updates have caused the advertising to become overly intrusive, and on an older iPad (3rd gen) the ads introduced some other issues that affected my user experience.
Even so, Solitaire Star does give a good introduction to the most popular solitaire games. It seems to run much better on a new iPad, so with newer hardware you may have a better experience with it than I did.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.4 (1.1K ratings)
Basic Collections - for the occasional dabbler
This category lists only the slimmed down apps that have a bare-bones set of less than ten solitaire games each. Typically they include around half a dozen of the most well known ones like Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid, Golf, and perhaps a couple of others.
Solitaire Collection Fun
Released: 2019. Last update: 2020. Games: 8.
This game features the five Microsoft favourites (Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid, and Tri-Peaks), along with Canfield, Castle, and Yukon, for a total of 8 of the most popular solitaire games. It also has things like challenges, a variety of themes.
While the graphics aren't up there with some of the more commercial apps, and the cards aren't very large, the extra features it has really commend it. In fact, I'd even recommend it slightly ahead of the Microsoft app, also given the three extra games it includes.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.9 (1.0K ratings)
Microsoft Solitaire Collection
Released: 2016. Last update: 2020. Games: 5.
This game features the five Microsoft favourites that have dominated Windows computers for more than 25 years: Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid, and Tri-Peaks (which is a variation of Golf). Some rule variations are offered for each.
This app is free, but it feels somewhat bloated given all the ads and extras it includes. There's lots of other additional content like daily challenges, a star club, and the ability to earn XP and level up, earning points you can use towards changing up the graphics. It's very well polished, but it feels a little over-commercialized, and is especially geared to those who enjoy earning achievements and rewards.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.7 (100K ratings)
Card Shark Solitaire
Released: 2009. Last update: 2017. Games: 6.
The solitaire games included with the free version of this app are Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Canfield, Forty Thieves, and Beleaguered Castle. It's been around for a while, and but the graphics and user-interface are still pleasant to use, making it a real pleasure to play.
If you don't want to be bothered with all the extra bells and whistles that come with Microsoft's app, this is a good program to try along with the Boy Howdy app listed next. The full version (which I have not tried) includes a larger number of classic solitaire game, and also supports numerous multiplayer card games like Cribbage and Hearts.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.7 (1.4K ratings)
Boy Howdy Solitaire Collection Fun
Released: 2017. Last update: 2020. Games: 7.
This app is a bit more minimalist, which is perfect if you just want to focus on playing the games themselves. Besides the same five games as the Microsoft app - Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid, and Tri-Peaks - it also includes Forty Thieves and Klondike Double Deck.
This is a good example of an app that is free, and gives you the basics without compromising on quality or performance, perhaps aside from limited options with the graphics and relatively small-sized cards.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.8 (4.5K ratings)
Released: 2020. Last update: 2020. Games: 3.
This app was just released in June 2020, and may struggle a bit on older systems due to the demands of the graphics. But it's worth trying, because the developers have achieved the rare distinction of producing something genuinely innovative in the world of solitaire: you can literally "flick" a card to its destination with your finger. While not for purists, those looking for novelty will appreciate the new dimension this adds.
Wins generate the in-game currency needed for customizing cards and graphics, but options will be limited unless you do an in-app purchase for the ad-free Club Flick version. It currently only comes with three games (Klondike, Pyramid, and Elevens), with the promise of more.
My rating: App Store rating: 4.7 (443 ratings)
RecommendationsAs you can see, there's a lot of different options, and nearly all of these programs have enough good things about them to make them worthwhile. So where should you start? Well, that depends on what you're looking for. The above descriptions should help you narrow down your options to identify some good candidates that suit you. Otherwise here are some of my recommendations, with the "awards" I'd give for various features:
● Most games: The biggest collection of games is offered by Epic Solitaire Collection, which has a massive 826 games. Thomas Warfield's Pretty Good Solitaire and 700 Solitaire Games HD both have over 700 games.
● Best expert collections: While they don't have quite as many games as the ones in the previous category, both BVS Solitaire Collection and Allgood Solitaire have a very large collection of more than 200 games, as well as the best combination of all-round looks and features.
● Best classic collections: For the best apps that feature only the more popular games, All-In-One Solitaire and Solitaire Plus! HD both have 30-40 games and are solid performing and attractive apps all round.
● Best slim collections: For a small and tidy collection of games with a clean looking and functional no-fuss interface, my picks would be 18 Solitaire Games and Card Shark Solitaire.
● Best free collections: If it's just clean game-play of the classics that you're after, Solitaire City and Solebon are hard to beat, as excellent value free programs.
● Best family tree: Many apps do a good job of showing how different solitaire games are related, but especially Epic Solitaire Collection. The info on the website for Thomas Warfield's Pretty Good Solitaire is also excellent, and I also found the categorizing by Allgood Solitaire very helpful.
● Most beautiful: The apps that impressed me the most with a variety of attractive card-sets and backgrounds were Solitaire Deluxe 2, BVS Solitaire Collection, and the classic European look of the cards in BigPatience HD.
● Most innovative: Flick Solitaire adds an innovative "flick" aspect to the game-play, and Solitaire Forever II really takes advantage of the iPad's graphical capabilities, with some striking good looks.
● Most modern: Many of these apps were first released many years ago and have just had small updates since. Solitaire Victory HD is one of the few games that really takes advantage of the latest technology, with a very modern interface, and a lovely range of games and options.
● Most addictive: While not as flash as some others, I found myself constantly playing 150+ Games Solitaire Suite, trying different games in order to unlock more. And while it only has 16 games Solitaire Deluxe 2 is a very well-rounded package in terms of looks, features, and fun, that I often kept returning to.
● Most fun: If you are big on things like achievements and challenges, Solitaire Collection Fun and Microsoft Solitaire Collection are both a great deal of fun, despite a very small number of games. The quest for the Golden Deck in Astraware Solitaire also proved to be a very fun incentive.
● Most competitive: Do you like being able to score more points or achieve faster times than other people? Solitaire City has a list with top times for each different game. You can take this to the next level with the global leader-boards in 27 Solitaire Games and All-In-One Solitaire. The competition to beat others in Solitaire Collection Fun's quest for Hearts is also addictive.
● Most customizable rules: Quite a number of apps allow you to fully tinker with the rules to suit your personal preference or even create your own solitaire games, aomong them being BigPatience HD and BVS Solitaire Collection.
● Most solvable: I'm a big fan of apps that have the option to deal hands that are known to be solvable. Good apps that offer this special feature include Solebon, Solitaire Deluxe 2, and Astraware Solitaire, and Solitaire Victory HD.
● Most strategic: Only a few apps give you good strategy tips for the gameplay of individual games, among them being Solitaire Till Dawn, Solitaire City, and 27 Solitaire Games.
● Most researched: The creator of Solitaire Forever II has thoroughly looked up the rules of each game with meticulous research, and it shows with the information provided along with each game.
● Most instructive: Some apps do a good job of teaching you how to play new solitaire games, with inbuilt video tutorials or training modules, including Solitaire City, 250+ Solitaire Collection, Solitaire Deluxe 2, Solitaire Whizz, and All-In-One Solitaire.
● Most friendly creator: In the course of researching and playtesting for this article, I enjoyed some back-and-forth correspondence with some of the creators behind these apps. Most developers were quite responsive, but I especially want to single out Rick from Solitaire Till Dawn and Mike from Solitaire Forever II, whose passion, dedication, hard work, and warmth really shone through.
Direct links for all apps featured in this review:
● Ultimate collections (over 150 games): 1. BVS Solitaire Collection, 2. Allgood Solitaire, 3. Solebon Pro, 4. Solitaire Forever II, 5. Pretty Good Solitaire, 6. 150+ Games Solitaire Suite, 7. Epic Solitaire Collection, 8. 250+ Solitaire Collection, 9. 700 Solitaire Games HD
● Superior collections (60-100 games): 1. Solitaire Victory HD, 2. BigPatience HD, 3. Full Deck Solitaire, 4. Goodsol Solitaire 101, 5. Hardwood Solitaire IV, 6. Solitaire Till Dawn, 7. Solitaire Collection Premium
● Popular collections (30-50 games): 1. Solitaire City, 2. Solebon, 3. Solitaire Plus! HD, 4. All-In-One Solitaire, 5. Most Popular Solitaire, 6. 27 Solitaire Games, 7. Pandora's Solitaire Collection, 8. Wiz Solitaire, 9. Solitaire Whizz
● Classic collections (10-20 games): 1. Solitaire Deluxe 2, 2. Astraware Solitaire, 3. 18 Solitaire Games, 4. Solitaire Card Collection, 5. Solitaire Till Dawn Lite, 6. 5 Solitaire Games, 7. Solitaire Collection Lite, 8. 21 Solitaire Card Games, 9. Solitaire Star
● Basic collections (under 10 games): 1. Solitaire Collection Fun, 2. Microsoft Solitaire Collection, 3. Card Shark Solitaire, 4. Boy Howdy Solitaire Collection Fun, 5. Flick Solitaire
Disclaimer: The information in this article was accurate at the time it was first published. I play tested these apps extensively over three months from June to August 2020; selected apps may have under-gone updates since then.
About the writer: EndersGame is a well-known and respected reviewer of board games and playing cards. He loves card games, card magic, cardistry, and card collecting, and has reviewed several hundred boardgames and hundreds of different decks of playing cards. You can see a complete list of his game reviews here, and his playing card reviews here. He is considered an authority on playing cards and has written extensively about their design, history, and function, and has many contacts within the playing card and board game industries. You can view his previous articles about playing cards here. In his spare time he also volunteers with local youth to teach them the art of cardistry and card magic.