Slingo and the iPhone go together like peanut butter and chocolate
Before we get too far into this review, I have a confession I need to make: I’ve never really liked Slingo. The game definitely has its audience, but the simple combination of slots and bingo just did nothing for me. Now Funkitron has taken the Slingo experience and put it on the iPhone, and I just can’t get enough. If the simple act of going portable can turn a negative nelly like me around, it’s safe to say that Slingo and the iPhone might just be the greatest pairing since peanut butter met chocolate.
Originally debuting in 1995, Slingo may be one of the oldest and most well-known brands in casual gaming. Indeed, the series is so popular that out of the five Slingo PC games we’ve reviewed on Gamezebo to date, only one of them has scored anything less than four stars. It seems pretty clear that my personal disinterest in the series hasn’t been shared by the rest of the world. Thanks to Slingo Supreme, I finally understand why.
The basics of Slingo are easy enough to understand. Essentially the game is bingo with a slot machine determining which numbers are in play, rather than an old lady at the front of the room pulling balls out of a drum. Like bingo, players are given a 5×5 card adorned with numbers. Like slots, the players will make a spin to receive random results. If any of the numbers that show up after a spin match the ones in the row above, players can mark those numbers off their card. Get a row of five and it’s a slingo.
What makes Slingo Supreme so engaging is everything it builds on top of these basic mechanics. Rather than calling “SLINGO!” to win, the game is all about attaining a high score. Each slingo is worth a certain number of points. Get a double slingo and that’s worth more. Fill the card and… well, you get the idea. Players have 20 spins to rack up as high a score as they can, although those last few spins will cost you some of your hard-earned points, so long as you’re willing to risk them.
The game also features a slew of power-ups, unlockables, and mini-games. If your spin uncovers a joker, you can match any number in the row. Find a super joker and you can match any number on the board. Some bonuses and special items hide under the numbers on the playing field. Other items can help you spot where those are. The variety here really runs the gamut.
In between play sessions players will be able to equip certain bonuses to help them when they return to the main game. You can choose to set up patterns, for example, that will increase your score if you can complete them. Or you can equip a bonus that will help you to earn extra spins. These bonuses will be unlocked through regular play, so the more you play, the closer you’ll get to unlocking all 16. Equipping them is a special art too, as you’ll have a limited number of slots and skill points available, meaning you’ll need to be picky when choosing which perks matter most.
There’s also a light gambling element in Slingo Supreme that can quickly mean the difference between a six-figure score and a big fat zero. Every now and then your spin will reveal a devil who will force you into a minigame where you’ll have to bet against him. Sometimes it’ll be a simple card game of high/low. Other times it will be a shell game, or rocks, paper, scissors. You can gamble a little or go all in – the level of reward is tied intrinsically to the risk you’re willing to take.
The only thing that’s missing from Slingo Supreme is an online leaderboard. With most games, such an omission wouldn’t trouble us in the slightest – but since Slingo is all about score, it seems strange that we can’t see how we stack up compared to the rest of the world. And as neat as the daily challenges are – a mode that presents you with a unique objective to tackle every day – a lack of competition seems to take the word “challenge” out of the equation, leaving the mode feeling fairly superfluous.
As a former Slingo sceptic, I found it hard to believe that a portable version of the slots-meets-bingo-mashup would ever do enough to hold my attention. But it did – so much so that I’m going to go back to revisit the PC versions that I’d previously shrugged off. With a healthy mix of gambling, unlockables, and simple-but-addictive gameplay, Slingo Supreme offers the sort of edge of your seat excitement that’s a perfect fit for the quick-play iPhone gamer.