The highest praise I can give Deck ‘Em is that I immediately attempted to download it on my phone.
Originally released on a mobile title (iOS only, sadly), Frosty Pop brings a new take on the classic card game Solitare to Steam. While the game’s mobile roots are evident with a lack of depth, I can’t stop booting this game up.
I literally played a couple of rounds just now between typing these paragraphs.
Deck ‘Em Proves You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
The concept of Solitare is still alive and well in Deck ‘Em. The theming of a boxing match, however, helps elevate it. It’s no longer about hoping the right cards will be uncovered. Instead, there’s a sense of strategy, planning, and a little luck at play.
Compare that with the original, which has some blatant flaws. Sometimes it’s impossible to win. Other times, it’s the opposite: you can’t lose no matter what. At its surface, Solitare is sometimes best used as a time waster.
Deck ‘Em takes a different approach. Is there still the luck of the draw at play? Sure, but there are ways to compensate for that. You can plan for bad draws thanks to how the board is set up. The game is played on a board of eight spaces. Four are for you, and the remaining four are played from the deck. Some are attacks from your opponent, the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Others are beneficial cards that can be used. Sometimes it’s a punch to lower the Champ’s attack. Other times it’s a block to mitigate damage. You can also heal your health; you start with 21 hit points. Once you’re out, you lose the round.
Deck ‘Em Is All About Hanging on Until the End of the Fight
It’s important to note that you can’t knock out the Champ. Deck ‘Em is truly about hanging on until the very end. If you survive all 12 rounds, you’ll take home some cash. Even if you get knocked out in the sixth round, you’ll still take some cash home for your troubles. You won’t, however, take home the satisfaction of surviving.
That satisfaction is something Deck ‘Em does a great job of delivering. Despite the lack of tangible rewards, I’m still motivated to do well. I still want to make it until the end, even if I receive nothing.
Ironically, this is the biggest drawback of Deck ‘Em. The game solely exists within those 12 rounds. Once a match is over, it’s rinsed and repeated. There’s nothing to do with the money you earn other than compare your winnings with an online leaderboard.
The first thing I did was look for a way to upgrade my deck. But, alas, that doesn’t exist.
Given the mobile roots, this isn’t too much of a surprise. The game is meant to be played in short spurts and is best as it is without alterations. Still, I wish there was more here. It’s a testament to how much I’ve enjoyed my time with Deck ‘Em. I want to keep playing. I want more to the game.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the premise of a reimagined game of Solitare, but Deck ‘Em delivers. Despite its shortcomings and lack of depth, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Of course, your mileage will honestly vary based on how much you can get out of the concept. As a time waster, though, I can’t ever go back to the original Solitare.
The publisher provided a copy of the game for review.