Some few weeks after it was announced, the next game from Bithell Games, The Solitaire Conspiracy is here. The people who made hit gems such as Thomas Was Alone and John Wick Hex have gone and done it. They’ve made their own spin on Solitaire. Promising gorgeous espionage aesthetics, a full campaign with FMV cutscenes and additional game modes, just what was I getting myself into? Turns out, it was something magic.
Solitaire, now complete with its own narrative
Launching the campaign and being greeted with its opening credit sequence, I was left stunned. Even marketed as a short, and developed by quite the small team, The Solitaire Conspiracy is an incredibly polished product. This much is clear in the opening alone. The game’s credits showcase panning shots of its artful characters, dramatic zooms on decks and hell, even some cards falling in style to throw into the mix. Witnessing this, it feels like I’m about to be in my very own Bond film, all set within the context and confines of the traditional game of Solitaire.
The Solitaire Conspiracy’s story is shown to you in front of your own very eyes, looking upon an in-game futuristic monitor. Its narrative follows as such: a spy organisation by the name of Protega has fallen. You are, sort of, kidnapped and unwittingly are now a spy yourself. Aided by FMV cutscenes that show Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller as Jim Ratio, your companion in the game’s entire runtime, you are tasked with taking down one single man. That man, cheekily, is called Solitaire. It’s up to you to play out the game’s missions, reconnecting with other agencies to inevitably take down the big bad. However, you won’t see these crews assembled in cutscenes, but more on that later. Simply put, don’t expect your narrative beats to come gamified too, those come to you only in the FMV cutscenes.
As a story, The Solitaire Conspiracy is quite solid, albeit trope-filled. This is more than welcome. Soaking in espionage themes and vibes is absolutely my niche and I enjoyed it greatly. The narrative, barring some tidbits of lore in the descriptions at the beginning and end of missions, is told to you through these aforementioned cutscenes. Each mission you complete gives you experience, and earn enough of that and you earn a new ranked level. This level is when you’ll get the next narrative beat and be rewarded with those sweet exchanges between your companion. With plenty of randomly generated matches and experience to go around, this never feels like a grind and instead is a fun thing to work towards in matches.