Slot Life – Haunted Mansion is a spooky fun mix of slots and mini-games

Making a slots game for any gaming console is a bit of a silly idea. Slots rely a lot on luck, timing of how long it’s been since a payout, and maybe a touch of strategy for how to bet. Slot Life – Haunted Mansion eschews most of these conventions for a fun, albeit still luck-based game that’s worth taking for a spin. It’s not the smoothest ride, though.

The short intro you get for the “plot” is that you’re inside a haunted mansion (hence the name of the game) and you have eight hours until dawn comes to amass as many investigation points as possible. There’s not much else to say here. Slot Life – Haunted Mansion is the latest in a series of Slot Life titles, the last one simply being a pirate theme.

The main slot gameplay features two machines, a lower and upper slot game. The main lower game uses courage points as a currency. You spin until you amass investigation points, more courage points, or ammo and magnifying glasses for special event minigames. If you collect keys, you’re granted access to the upper slot game. Here, you bet keys to try to earn tons of bonus investigation points, false clues (to help with another minigame) or win a giant jackpot.

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Once you figure out how the game works, Slot Life – Haunted Mansion starts to really get fun. You can win advances, allowing you to move an individual slot forward to get the match you want. You can also win holds, to keep successful parts of a spin in place while you spin again. With a little practice, you do learn to game the system a little bit, putting the odds in your favor.

If on the lower slot machine you get three of a certain kind of symbol (such as a gun or a map) you’ll be whisked away to play one of Slot Life – Haunted Mansion‘s five minigames. In these games, you’ll use items you’ve collected in the slot play to help defeat flying creatures, open up areas on a map, or just try your luck opening doors or cleaning beakers in a lab. Each game gives you the opportunity to win lots of investigation points, or risk losing a lot of courage.

Along the way you’ll be able to unlock a ton of achievements in either Crystal or Game Center. These range from specific minigame achievements to just random elements of chance in the slot machine. Definitely a good value-add.

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Slot Life – Haunted Mansion features bright, colorful graphics with decent hand-drawn detail. It has a distinctive style. It may not be the most dazzling thing you’ve seen, but it’s no slouch either.

Where Slot Life – Haunted Mansion‘s presentation utterly fails is in its soundtrack. The music that is in the game is some of the most dreadful MIDI composing this side of the 1990s. Oddly, when you’re in the main slots games (where you spend most of your time) there is no music at all. The option to mute the game’s soundtrack and just play your own music helps tremendously.

Slot Life – Haunted Mansion also features some terrible localization. It’s not the worst we’ve seen, but it’s right up there. The 12-page help section is so convoluted that I simply ignored it and figured things out for myself. It didn’t help when the first text that comes up includes “You will not be able to escape until it dawns!” During the game, I received useful clues like “The maginifying glasses you have will be the squares on the map.” (It really means that you’ll be able to uncover one square on the map minigame for every magnifying glass you’ve collected.) Finally, upon completing a playthrough, I was happily informed, “You have saved the situation!” Good to know, I suppose.

Slot Life – Haunted Mansion falls in that terrible review category of not bad but not great. It’s got a fun premise with a bit of depth to it, but also some serious flaws to contend with. If they don’t sound that bad, Slot Life – Haunted Mansion will probably be a good timewaster to add to your collection.