GameHouse Casino bets on tight gameplay rather than gimmicks, and it pays off wonderfully
It seems kind of sad to suggest that a game needs to be something more than just fun, but that’s kind of where we’re at when it comes to free casino and slots games. With real online gambling starting to gear up in the U.S., titles like GameHouse Casino could easily be overlooked. That’s a shame too, because it’s one of the more promising Facebook casino games to hit the market.
One thing you’ll notice right away is that GameHouse Casino is more about substance than style. That’s not to say that the latter is completely lacking, since the game has sharp graphics (particularly in full screen mode) and excellent audio. But you won’t find any pop culture tie-ins or sponsorships, which keeps the focus on the games themselves.
For slots fans, that’s just fine, since the selection is excellent. There are 17 different machines to choose from right off the bat, without the need for leveling up to unlock them. That’s a welcome bit of variety, and something that most competing titles choose not to do.
All of the slots feature free spins, appropriately themed bonus rounds and a shared progressive jackpot that can reach some staggering totals. The sounds are great – especially the hyperactive noise the machines make when you are waiting to see if a third bonus symbol will appear. Another nice feature is that you can mouse over the symbols along the bottom of the screen instead of having to go to a separate pay table screen to find out what you can win. You’d like to see something maybe a little different in the way of mechanics than the standard five-reel play, and the jumps between different wagering levels feel pretty large, but overall there is little not to like about the slots.
Table games are represented by blackjack and roulette, both of which are very true to their real world counterparts. Blackjack makes you wager on either three or six hands in every round, which can get a bit expensive, but it has all the options you want (including surrender) and is simple to play. Roulette is even friendlier to players who might not know the rules that well, highlighting exactly which numbers are covered on the layout by any given bet. It doesn’t rush you either, as the ball doesn’t get thrown until you’ve made all the wagers you want.
Video poker is a different animal, since it’s actually more complicated than the game most commonly seen in physical casinos. You still get dealt five cards and decide which ones to hold, but the second round of cards actually fills nine or more different hands to finish off the round. On the plus side, advantageous cards are pre-held for you, and there are six different variants to try.
And that’s that for the most part. There are goals to accomplish that are sort of a cross between quests and achievements, and friends can be added so that you can exchange gifts. This isn’t a title that is stuffed full of social features though, and given the way the casino games come off as the stars of the show, that makes sense.
Pop ups that encourage you to buy more coins with real money are only a minor nuisance. Of more concern was the fact that the game froze up on me once in a slots bonus round, leaving me no choice but to back out to the lobby without winning any coins. That’s the kind of glitch that can infuriate players, but since the game has only just launched, the developers have time to take care of problems like that.
We might be nearing the end of an era for Facebook casino games, but GameHouse Casino is refined enough to send it out on a good note. Give it a try and savor the chance to gamble with nothing at stake, because it’s likely to be different a year or two from now.