Mobile game of the week: Sage Solitaire

Zach Gage is consistently one of the most elegant designers of our time. This week, we can say he's done a meaningful refresh on computer Solitaire (one of the most-played video games of all time, thanks to the iconic Windows bundle), and not really be exaggerating.

Recently-released iOS game Sage Solitaire is part Solitaire, part poker, in its way: You have 3 rows of 3 cards each (so nine piles) to clear from top to bottom, and you do this by building "hands", like pairs or straight flushes. When you're stuck you can use a limited "trash" ability to remove a card, and you may get extra points for using a certain suit.

Even its aesthetic decisions are subtle but bold: Gone are the traditional red and black suits, in favor of a fresh four-color scheme that helps in suit-matching and hand-building. I never really understood til now why I had so much trouble "reading" poker hands and whether or not I "had anything"; Sage Solitaire's system of rows and hues very gently makes it all easier to manage, clear and clean.

The basic game is free on the App Store, with a fuller, ad-free version available for purchase. Currently there is no official Android version, so beware of malicious imitators on the Google Play store.