Miracle Merchant Review: Alchemy Meets Solitaire In Arnold Rauers' Latest Mobile Game

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Miracle Merchant is a unique blend of solitaire and alchemy. Check out our full review of the mobile card game, here. TinyTouchTales

On Tuesday, TiNYTOUCHTALES game dev Arnold Rauers released Miracle Merchant, the latest in a series of solo mobile card games. From the moment you open the app, you’ll recognize the same brand of charming graphics seen in all of the studio's offerings. What I find most fascinating about each of TiNYTOUCHTALES releases, however, is the creator’s ability to take something rather mundane, like a classic game of solitaire, and transform it into something new and unexpected.

Miracle Merchant is simple to learn but, like Solitaire, takes quite a bit of practice to become proficient. And like Solitaire, sometimes the hand your dealt makes winning a near impossibility. The fun is in the journey. If I had to give a brief explanation of Miracle Merchant, the best way I could describe it is Alchemy meets Solitaire.

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In Miracle Merchant players use different card combinations to create potions for their customers. Photo: Player.One

In the game, you play the role of an unnamed alchemist creature living in a medieval village. Customers come into your shop looking for various potions which you must create for them. 

The gameplay area consists of four piles of ingredient cards that are blue, green, yellow and red. When a customer comes into the shop, they will have two colored symbols appear to speech bubbles the left of them. The top symbol reveals the color of ingredient that must be included in the potion. The bottom symbol tells an ingredient the customer is particularly fond of and that offers extra points for using it. 

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Cards must match the customers' needs in order to create the right potion. Photo: Player.One

To make a potion you must combine four cards in the playing space. Each card is worth one point on its own, but in specific combinations, the value of each card can double or even quadruple. Your alchemist must think several steps ahead to ensure he don’t run out of a specific card color before all customers have been served. If a customer appears and you don’t have the color needed for their potion, the game comes to an end. You can see the required color for the next customer while you are serving the current one, so this helps with planning, but there are several curve balls thrown into the game that can sometimes foil even the best laid plans. For example, shuffled through each stack of colored cards are a few black/evil cards that actually take points away from your potion, if used. In some cases, you have no choice but to use a black card, and while there are tricks to lessen the damage done by these, you aren’t always successful. After a potion is mixed, if its value doesn’t add up to at least one coin/point, you lose the game.

To add to the complexity of the game, many of the colored cards in the deck will also have a colored icon on the left, right or bottom of the card. The left an right icons indicate that if a card of that color is placed next to it, it will double in value. Meanwhile, cards with a colored icon at the bottom, will double the value of every card played in that round that matches that color.

There are additional bonuses earned for different combinations like two or three cards of a same color played right next to each other.

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Part of the fun of Miracle Merchant is unlocking new potions collected as in-game achievements. Photo: Player.One

The game is set up in such a way that, while your primary goal, certainly, is to try to serve every customer (this is how you win the game), you’re also attempting to reach the highest score you possibly can as well as discover new potions my making various combos you haven’t created before. In fact, many of the daily goals and achievements are linked to making specific potions within the course of a game.

As you mix new potions, they are saved to a scroll of all the possible combinations in the game. Filling each in serves as an achievement. 

The game is casually played and can be set down or picked up at any time as there’s no time limit. A full round will take you somewhere between five and 15 minutes to complete. 

Miracle Merchant is available now on the Google Play and Apple App Store for $1.99. if you enjoy and unique take on classic solitaire mechanics, be sure to check it out.

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