Shenzhen I/O’s solitaire now available standalone

If you’ve heard folks talk about Shenzhen I/O, you’ve likely heard them celebrate the fiendish and delightful puzzles of building and programming hardware. You were likely a bit blindsided when they went on to praise its in-universe solitaire game. Well! If Zachlikes are a bit much for you but you do enjoy a nice bit of solitaire, good news: Zachtronics have now released Shenzhen I/O’s solitaire separately as a cheap standalone game.

As my relationship with technology can be somewhat difficult – this Laura Callaghan picture hangs above my desk for catharsis – I’ve not got around to Shenzhen I/O yet but I do enjoy good solitaire. Zachtronics say this variant is “inspired by Mahjong and FreeCell” and y’all commenters say, well, that it’s great. Here’s ‘invitro’:

“I’m hooked on the solitaire game. It’s easy once you learn it, so I’m trying for most wins in a row, eight is my best. I’ve even started writing a program to solve it, as I’m very interested to know what percent of the possible starting positions are solvable (I don’t think it’s 100%!).”

For the record, Zachtronics say “Over 98% of deals are solvable.”

‘Jekadu’ japes:

“Wait, there’s a puzzle game hidden in the OS? I just play the Solitaire variant that it comes bundled with.

“It’s really good Solitaire.”

While ‘meepmeep’ adds:

“I like the solitaire so much I’ve logged 40 hours and only actually done 3 of the main game puzzles.”

So the solitaire is good, is what I’m hearing.

Shenzhen Solitaire is £1.79/2,69€/$2.69 right now on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Shenzhen I/O owners will need to buy this separately if they want it standalone but hey, they do have already have the exact same solitaire within I/O.


  1. Porkolt says:

    As an avid mahjong player I feel it necessary to point out that there is a traditional sequence order for the three dragons, and the one displayed isn’t it! It should be green – red – white.

    Now I have no idea how this solitaire game works but if one of my assumptions is correct then that order should definitely be changed to avoid confusion.

    …Damn. I guess it’s probably actually possible to play Shenzen I/O and change that order, isn’t it.

    • Slow Dog says:

      You can collect four visible identical dragons into a group. There’s no ordering, other than in the position of the collection buttons.

      You can’t change the order within Shenzhen IO, either. It’s only thinly related to the main part of the game.

  2. meepmeep says:

    Shenzhen I/O owners will need to buy this separately if they want it standalone

    Nope, we get it for free. From the Steam Store page:

    NOTE: If you own SHENZHEN I/O, you don’t need to purchase SHENZHEN SOLITAIRE! After solving a few puzzles in SHENZHEN I/O, a link to a full version of SHENZHEN SOLITAIRE will be placed on your in-game desktop for you to play.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      But that’s in-game solitaire, still contained within Shenzhen I/O, isn’t it?

      • meepmeep says:

        Oh, right, yes – I misunderstood, thought that “a full version of SHENZHEN SOLITAIRE” meant the standalone Steam game.

  3. Jekadu says:

    Glad to see it got ported from the Concept OS. It’s ruddy good Solitaire, and the OS is a bit bare-bones to use as-is.

  4. ahmedabdo says:

    One of the best developers…. ever!

  5. April March says:

    Could someone explain how the rules differ from Microsoft’s Solitaire, and why it is so good?

    • Jekadu says:

      It uses a 40-card deck divided into 3 suits and 3 colours instead of 4 suits and 2 colours. Cards are numbered from 1 to 9. There is 1 filler card which is automatically removed once freed. The rest of the cards are value-less “dragon” cards belonging to one of three suits that need to be collected in the side area.

      There is no undo, nor is it possible to drag cards back into play once collected.

      It’s simpler than it sounds. What makes it special is a really good song that plays in the background.