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Fantasy Slots: Adventure Slots & Games - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Fantasy Slots: Adventure Slots & Games

WiiWare | Big John Games | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 700 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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13th August 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

It's nice when developers take note of a genre that's lacking on the WiiWare service, as it allows for a great amount of potential once their titles release. Enjoy Gaming was the first to realize that the platform could use more casino simulations, causing them to release Cruise Party. Unfortunately, this was met with negative reception from a number of media outlets. So with that release having come and gone, Big John Games has just recently released Fantasy Slots. Before the developers proceed to bring this to the DSiWare service, let's first determine if this is a successful WiiWare title.

    The game allows for up to 3 different profiles, each starting you off with $2000 in your pocket. The Main Menu gives you two choices to start with: Slots Games and Bonus Games. After achieving $1,000 in Lifetime Earnings you'll open up the Suite Living option. The heart of the game involves using slot machines to amass wealth. You can bet credits from the money you have, hoping that luck will be on your side. All together, there are 8 slots you can play with: two 3-Reel, and six 5-Reel slots. You have Cherries and Diamonds for the first set, while the 5-Reel selection offers a much wider range of themed machines to use. Gold Rush, Power of Zeus, Pirate Cove, King Arthur, Wild Safari, and Rising Sun.

Once you've made your choice, you'll instantly arrive inside the virtual casino with the slot machine staring you in the face on your TV screen. On the panel below are a series of buttons that you'll want to familiarize yourself with beyond the obvious 'Spin' button. 'Bet One' allows you to add credits manually up to a max of 3 or 45, depending on the type of reel you're using. 'Bet Max' automatically inputs the maximum amount of credits allowed for a spin. The 'Pay Table' will bring up a display to show you the possible winnings you can achieve by making a series of matching pictures. 5-Reels have an exclusive 'Change Lines' function, which allows you to isolate how many paylines you'd like to cast bets on. Finally, the 'Cash Out' button is for when you'd like to take your leave and head back to the Main Menu.

    You can either use the pointer to make your selections, or go the lazy way and use the D-Pad. Each machine also has a digital display that tracks such things as the number of credits you have remaining, your payout from the last spin, and, in the case of 3-Reels, the number of coins you've inserted. Whichever machine you end up using, you'll find that the developers have done a good job in aiming for a realistic approach. Familiar sound effects that you'd expect to hear in a casino are played as you make spins. Making successful match-ups over the course of a turn will produce flashy sparkles and dollar signs, as well as having tiles pop-out at you.

Some machines have better chances for payouts than others. 3-Reel Slots are low-risk but at the same time, they're also low in prospects for high earnings. More exciting are the 5-Reels which afford more potential for successful winnings, especially when you go for a maximum bet. For that reason, the standard machines aren't very enticing unless you're low on funds or you want to satisfy an attachment from using one in your past. 5-Reels also look more appealing since the look of the machine is dictated by the theme you select. So for example, the 'Power of Zeus' set features Greek lettering with symbols of mythological creatures to coincide with its roots.

    With the 5-Reel machines, you also have the opportunity to participate in a series of Bonus Games. If you meet a specified condition on the given machine (e.g., line up 3 specific symbols across a payline), you'll be given the chance to potentially earn a large sum of money. Take for example the mini-game for the King Arthur machine. You'll guide a donkey with a basket on its back by using the D-Pad to collect coins and the occasional sword. Once you sustain three hits from falling rocks, the game will be over. All of the games have nice animations and controls, and they don't look terrible in spite of their simplistic nature. Aside from the bowling game which features imprecise controls, they're modest means of brief entertainment to mix up what could easily become monotonous gameplay.

Once you play the mini-game on each machine for the first time, you'll unlock it for casual play under the Bonus Games option. Unfortunately, the payout is very low, so if you're hoping to abuse these to get really far in the game, don't waste your time. Try to make use of these when you find yourself getting tired of heading to the slot machines (provided you've unlocked more than one). High-scores are recorded so that does add some reason to return but not much. There are hidden tasks that you can perform to earn special items, such as making 10 successful detonations in Gold Rush. And these are neat to discover.

    Under Suite Living, you have 3 VIP rooms that can be unlocked by earning a set number of money towards your lifetime earnings. The interface here is straight-forward and the idea of being able to customize your space is nice. You can spend your money at the Shop on tables, TV sets, games, artwork, and other assorted knick-knacks. Once you've made a purchase, use the D-Pad or the pointer with the A Button to aim and drag your item to where you think it fits. You can adjust the camera to one of 8 different views to check out the entire room, or use the Plus Button to zoom in and isolate specific areas.

Until you unlock the ability to have your own suite, the game can get boring. And the minimal presence of music certainly doesn't help. The Bonus Games do help a lot but because it's entirely luck-based as to when they'll appear, there will be times where you'll just be dying for them at some points to help with the variety (or lack thereof). Once you really get into it though, playing slots can be oddly addicting to the point where you might even have to sell your possessions for money to keep playing. And that's a good thing since the game manages to capture the real-life appeal this game has tried to replicate.

    Even still, I feel like this entire game could've been taken a step further to become an entire Casino experience. Rather than just limiting things to just slots, the developers could've included table games such as Blackjack and Poker, or even something less-explored such as a Pachinko machine. Had they included these elements and executed them with the same quality as what we have here, the game could've become a quality release for a wider audience.

    I think Fantasy Slots does a good job for what it is, but if you've never played a game like this before, you may very well tire of playing slots all the time, wishing for other things to do. The bonus games as well as the aspect of using your winnings to purchase goodies both help add much-needed variety. But even then, this experience is less about casual, and more for the hardcore slots players. This could've been an even stronger casino game with more things to do. But all things considered, anyone interested in bringing the Slots experience to their living room should be fairly pleased.

20/30 - Good

Gameplay 7/10 - Faithful recreation of the slots experience for your living room, bonus games, ability to customize your own living space
Presentation 7/10 - Pretty average with some nice animations and special effects, minimal music, realistic casino noises
Enjoyment 3/5 - Take down a point or two if you're only a casual player, can get boring, mini-games mix things up but wear off eventually
Extra Content 3/5 - Could've easily been more fleshed out, unlocking everything may take a few hours but this is meant for short bursts, custom suites

Equivalent to a score of 67% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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