Poor Penny. Her nasty boss at the paper factory fires her just for throwing her co-worker a piÃ±ata party, so our hapless heroine decides to pack her bags, beloved dog and last $200, and head to Las Vegas to try her luck.
But don’t be fooled — Jackpot Match-Up: Penny’s Vegas Adventure isn’t a craps simulation, roulette wheel or poker game – instead, it’s a fun three-in-a-row puzzler with casino-like sights and sounds.
Most of the casinos are locked at the start of the game, but Penny scrounges up enough to play at Buffalo Billions Gamblin’ Hall. It is here we learn the main rules to the game, though other casinos – including ones with a medieval, pirate, Arabian and Roman theme – change up the rules a bit.
Penny is first presented with a board of tiles, resembling a slot machine. Each tile has a different graphic on its face, such as cowboy boots, sheriff’s badge and horseshoes. At the top of the screen, players see which two, three or four combinations they need to make by holding down the mouse and connected adjoining tiles. An example may be two horseshoes and a sheriff’s badge. Note: it doesn’t matter what the order is, so long as the proper tiles are linked before the timer runs out. Players must also click to pull the handle to collect all the cash they’ve racked up by matching as many of the tile combinations as possible.
By playing well, Penny will occasionally get a chance to spin a Bonus Wheel, which may land on one of the many power-ups you can use during the game. For example, one power-up — which you click with the mouse should you need it – may be to reshuffle the order of all the tiles. Another one may be to reset the clock back to the beginning. Some of the more exciting and useful power-ups is changing all the tiles on the board from one graphic (e.g. boots) to another (e.g. gun).
Other special tiles include “linker tiles” that can be added for extra points or to link tiles together that aren’t adjoined, plus there’s wild card tiles, smashable crates and more.
But what good is raking in all this cash if you can’t spend it? In the first casino, for instance, Penny pampers herself and her dog to spa treatments, picks up some new clothes and a swank new dog collar, too. In the second casino, you’ll see her upgrade ugly barbed wire to a white picket fence and change her banana seat bicycle to a motorcycle with side car! You get the idea. These 20 or so upgrades keep the game entertaining and amusing.
Jackpot Match-Up is a fun digital diversion for newbie or seasoned casual gamers, but it’s not perfect. For one, if you click on the wrong tile, or want to change the order of the tiles you’re connecting for strategic reasons, you can’t right-mouse on the tile to clear it. This would’ve have been a welcomed addition – especially given the fact you’re racing against the clock to make as many matches before the time runs out. Also, while the tile graphics change between casinos (and to a lesser extent, the rules), it would have been great to introduce a new puzzle game concept altogether, which is what I thought was going to happen. Alas, it’s the same game more or less between all the casinos, which may hurt its replayability.
Despite these minor annoyances, Jackpot Match-Up: Penny’s Vegas Adventure is at least worth downloading for the free trial. Many will like Penny’s spending habits while others will enjoy unlocking new casino with new themes and rules.