Zynga Slingo proves that Zynga knows how to handle a beloved franchise

I’ve never really understood the current fascination with slots on Facebook. Stripped of the chance of winning back the cash that you plunk into a slot machine, slots games on Facebook all too often involve engaging in repetitious drudgery for nothing in return. Imagine my surprise, then, when I played Zynga Slingo and found myself all but addicted to it. Not only does it combine the best aspects of slots and bingo, but even better, Zynga Slingo feels like a proper casual game that’s enjoyable in its own right.

I should clarify that Slingo is hardly new; in fact, it’s one of the oldest casual games on the Internet. Slingo first appeared back in 1995 during the days of AOL CDs and 56k download speeds, and it achieved a considerable following that surprisingly never sparked many imitators. The premise was simple but effective. The developers of Slingo took a bingo-like board and attached a bottom row that functioned like a slot machine. You then used the numbers that randomly appeared on the slot interface to mark off the corresponding numbers on the board, racking up winnings as you completed lines or filled the entire board. It’s so much fun that it’s something of a surprise that Slingo hasn’t edged bingo out of the gaming scene entirely.

Zynga Slingo

Now Zynga has partnered with Slingo to bring this venerable warhorse into its stables, even while outfitting it with its own signature social standbys. The move also marks Zynga’s first foray into licensing – one wishes they’d done the same with Scrabble and Words With Friends – and a meeting of both the old and new faces of casual Internet gaming. And the wonderful thing? It works.

Zynga’s take on Slingo keeps all the good parts of the old formula (down to the joker, the devil, and the angel that caper throughout the presentation), while mixing it up with multipliers, leaderboards for competing with your friends, and a hefty arsenal of powerups that makes finding matches easier. Not only will you find the usual Zynga shower of coins after each win, but you’ll also encounter a variety of themed levels and an upcoming option to play directly with your friends.

Zynga Slingo

In short, Zynga Slingo is a must-play if you love slots, bingo, or simply casual games in general. The basic gameplay, which awards bonuses and multipliers based on how quickly you make matches, is every bit as exciting as Bejeweled Blitz or Zuma Blitz once you’re moving quickly enough, and the different line configurations provide many ways to win. Even the energy bar isn’t much of a concern here, since matches usually last long enough to grant a feeling of accomplishment and the tutorial is robust enough that even newcomers should pick up on the game’s surprising complexities fairly quickly.

I’d even go so far as to say that there’s nothing disappointing about Zynga Slingo, except perhaps that some of the leaderboard options (including the aforementioned ability to play with your friends) aren’t available yet. But even without them, Zynga Slingo brings everything that players of Slingo have loved for 17 years, along with everything that makes contemporary social gaming so addictive and enjoyable. All signs point to Zynga Slingo being a notable success, and their work here thus far dispels any doubt of Zynga’s ability to handle a noteworthy franchise.