I take a look at the Onirim App and it's simplistic yet enjoyable play style #Onirim #cards #solitaire #zman #app

The tabletop industry is finding new ways on how to use technology to our advantage. It’s not uncommon for games to have an app version of itself, or for games to have companion apps to enhance the experience. I decided to look for some new apps that are focused on the card or board games and found quite a few.

I’d like to review a game called Onirim: Shade Torbey, a game developed by Asmodee and Z-Man Games.

Onirim is a single-player game that pits you against the deck. You are trying to escape the Labyrinth, and must unlock all the doors before your draw pile is empty. If you don’t, you lose the game.

Understanding the Components

  • Card Colors: Onirim has five different card colors available.Red, Blue, Green, Tan, and Black.
  • Location Cards: There are three types of location cards that are available in the base game: Sun, Moon, Key.
    • Sun Card: The Sun Card is the most populous of all the cards and is used strictly for matching in the Labyrinth
    • Moon Card: The Moon Card is the second most populous card in the deck, and is also used strictly for matching in the Labyrinth
    • Key Card: There are three Key Cards per color. You are able to use Key Cards to match in Labyrinth, Immediately unlock a door, or use as a Prophecy
  • Door Cards: Each color has three door cards that are in the deck. The whole point of the game is to unlock the door card, either through matching three cards in the Labyrinth, or having a Key Card of the same color in your hand when you draw the Door Card. One important detail to remember about Door cards, is that they can never be discarded.
  • Dream Cards: Dream cards require you to take an action when you draw the card from the deck. There is currently only one dream card availabe, the Nightmare Card.
  • Game LayoutIt’s very important to understand how the game layout works. If you look at the screenshot below, I’ve numbered and circled each part of the layout, and will talk about them below this image
    1. Onerirc Doors:  This area of the layout is where you can see what doors you have unlocked, and what doors you need to still unlock.
    2. Labyrinth: The Labyrinth is where you will be using cards to match three of a kind. Once a card is played in the Labyrinth, it is unable to be used in the game again.
    3. Hand: Your hand will always have five cards in it. If you play a card it must be replenished, if two cards are played they must be replenished. You cannot play anything until your hand has five cards.
    4. Limbo: Limbo is where door or dream cards that can’t be played at that point go. Once you have resolved the current action, any cards that are in limbo will be shuffled back into the deck
    5. Deck: The deck is the cards left to be played. There are two additional key numbers to the deck
      • Nightmares Left: This icon lets you know how many nightmares are still in play
      • Card Count: This counter lets you know how many cards are still available in the deck. It is important to remember that the card count includes door and dream cards in it’s count. So the amount of playable cards is always smaller than it looks.
      Discard: The discard is where you place cards that have been removed from the game. You are allowed to look at the discard pile whenever you wish.
    1. Discard: The discard is where you place cards that have been removed from the game. You are allowed to look at the discard pile whenever you wish.
A game with The Glyphs expansion activated.

Drawing Cards

There are two types of ways cards are dealt. The game itself doesn’t specify what they are but I’m going to call them a Deal and a Replenish.

Dealing Cards

Being dealt cards only applies to starting the game, and when you have discarded all the cards in your hand. You will deal yourself 5 new location cards only. If you are dealt a Door or Dream card, they are placed into Limbo and shuffled back into the deck after your hand has five cards.

Replenishing Cards

Replenishing Cards is done after your hand is below 5 cards. During a replenish, if you get a Dream or Door card you act on it

Playing Actions

Onirim’s base game has two actions you can do at the start of your turn, Play a card in the Labyrinth, or Discard a card. 

Play a Card in the Labyrinth 

Placing three cards of the same color in the Labyrinth will unlock a door of the same color.  The game will take the card from the deck, place the door up in its Onerirc Door location, and then shuffle the deck before replenishing your hand. If all the doors of the color you have matched have already been unlocked, then you will just shuffle the deck.

If you play a different color card before matching three of another color, then those other cards are out of the game. The three matching color cards must be played consecutively.

The biggest takeaway about the Labyrinth, is that two cards of the same symbol can never be played consecutively. It doesn’t matter if the cards are the same color or not, a Sun cannot be played after a Sun, a Moon after a Moon, or a Key after a Key. There must always be another symbol in-between (Sun – Moon – Sun).

Discard a Card 

Aside from playing a card in the Labyrinth, your only other option is to move a card from your hand to the discard pile. You might do this because you are trying to complete a match in the Labyrinth, you already have the doors unlocked to that color, or you are using a Key card for a Prophecy. 


When you discard a Key Location card, it triggers the Prophecy move. In this move you reveal the top 5 cards of the deck. At this point you can reorder the cards in any way you want. There are two rules to remember when playing a Prophecy:

  • You must discard one of the five cards at the end of the Prophecy
  • If your prophecy reveals 5 Door cards, you lose. (I’ve yet to have that happen to me)

The benefits of a prophecy however are threefold:

  • If you need a location card to complete a match it’s a great way to ensure it comes first.
  • If you see a Door in the prophecy and you have another Key in your hand, you may want to move it to be drawn before you complete a match in the Labyrinth.
  • If you see a Nightmare card in the prophecy, you’d want to discard it. This is the only way to discard a Nightmare card without having a consequence.

Drawing Actions

There are two drawing actions that can happen in Onirim when you are replenishing your hand. Drawing a Door Card, or Drawing a Nightmare Card. 

Draw a Door Card

When you draw a Door card from the deck, and you have a matching colored Key card in your hand, you have the option of using the Key to unlock that door immediately.

If you choose to not unlock the door, or you don’t have a matching key the Door card is placed in Limbo and shuffled back into the deck after you have 5 cards in your hand.

Draw a Nightmare Card 

When you draw a Nightmare card, you must resolve that nightmare immediately before continuing. There are four ways you can resolve a drawn Nightmare card

A Nightmare rears it’s ugly head at the last minute
  • Discard all the cards in your hand: This removes all cards in your hand and gives you five new cards and deal a new hand of cards.
  • Discard the top 5 cards of the Draw Pile: When you decide to do this you take the top 5 cards of the draw pile and discard them. If the card is either a Door or a Nightmare it is placed into Limbo and NOT into the discard pile. Any other cards are discarded immediately. You will then replenish your hand.
  • Use a Key Card: You can use a Key Card to counter the nightmare. Discard your Key Card and replenish your hand.
  • Use an Unlocked Door: By choosing to use an unlocked Door, you will place that Door key back into Limbo and replenish your hand.

Whatever way you choose to resolve the Nightmare, you can discard card it after you are done. Any cards placed in Limbo are then shuffled back into the deck.

How to Win

Winning the game is done by unlocking all eight doors. If you fail to unlock all the doors before you run out of location cards go to in your hand from the deck, you lose.