Game Over Online ~ Battle Slots

GameOver Game Reviews - Battle Slots (c) Phantom EFX, Reviewed by - Steven Carter

Game & Publisher Battle Slots (c) Phantom EFX
System Requirements Windows XP/Vista/7, 1.3 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM, 64 MB DirectX 9 compatible video card, 550 MB HDD
Overall Rating 71%
Date Published Friday, June 10th, 2011 at 07:15 PM

Divider Left By: Steven Carter Divider Right

Battle Slots is sort of an odd hybrid game. Half of it is an RPG, where you have to fight enemies and complete quests to improve your character, but the other half features a slot machine, where you have to use the payouts from the machine to generate mana and attack power so you can damage your foes. If this sounds bizarre and unique, it is -- well, at least sort of. Battle Slots borrows a whole lot of stuff from Puzzle Quest, pretty much just replacing that earlier title's match-3 game with a slot machine game, and the result is a mixture. Battle Slots mixes genres, it mixes old content with new features, and it also mixes good qualities with mistakes, and the result is an acceptably decent casual game.

Battle Slots takes place in the fantasy kingdom of Tellus. At the start of the game, you find a magical slot machine that allows you to defeat enemy creatures in combat, and pretty soon you're battling jackalmen, antlions, dragons and more as you wander around Tellus trying to figure out why all of the fantasy creatures of the land are angry, and how the evil King Ember might be involved. To help you out in your adventures, you recruit companions (including the dwarf Spudbucket, who shoots a potato gun at your enemies), you capture zoo creatures (which give you access to new attacks in battle), and you gather runes (which give you small bonuses).

The heart of Battle Slots is the slot machine battle game. The slot machine has three rows of five symbols, and there are 25 different payouts, so winning something is fairly common. If you get a payout from blue symbols, then you earn mana, which allows you to cast spells. If you get a payout from red symbols, then you earn attack power, which allows you to trigger an attack. You can also get payouts from gold symbols (for money), green symbols (for experience), and purple symbols (to summon a creature, which then helps you in some way). There aren't any classes in the game, but at each town you can visit a "slot smith" and adjust a slider for red versus blue symbols, so you can effectively play a mage or a warrior or a combination of the two.

Each battle in the game proceeds in rounds. You and your enemy spin your slot machines, you earn some payouts (or not), you cast a spell or trigger an attack, and then you repeat. This is simple and works reasonably well... except that it's almost all random. Winning or losing doesn't have a lot to do with what level your character is, or how well you've "equipped" your character with spells and attacks, or which companion and runes you're using; it depends on whether the slot gods favor you with payouts, and how good those payouts are. That means you can conceivably win or lose any battle depending on the spins you get, which is probably fine for a casual game like this, but it's sort of disappointing if you want your battles to include more than a trace amount of strategy.

Battle Slots has some other pluses and minuses. On the good side, the writing is entertaining, and the quirky quests (including repeatedly helping your "daft uncle Morty") help to make the game's 20-hour campaign more enjoyable. The spell animations also looked better than I expected. But on the down side, you have to fight the same creatures over and over (and you can only skip battles if the enemy is well under your level), and you're almost guaranteed to hit the level cap and run out of things to purchase well before the end of the game, making the final act kind of tedious.

So, overall, Battle Slots might be a useful diversion for you, depending perhaps on how much you like slot machines. Going in with fairly low expectations, I thought the game did a reasonable job, but I was glad when it was over, and I don't plan to ever go back and play through the campaign again. Meanwhile, I tried the game out on my father (who's probably much closer to its target demographic than I am), and he seemed to enjoy it. Battle Slots is easy to learn, and it's also easy to jump into and out of, and so it's useful as a time killer, but I wouldn't rate it any higher than that.

[28/40] Gameplay
[11/15] Graphics
[10/15] Sound
[07/10] Interface
[07/10] Writing
[08/10] Technical


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