Review: Adventure In Vegas: Slot Machine (DSiWare)

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

There's a reason slot machines are successful: they tease the player with the chance of winning it big. The idea that you can walk in to a casino with only a few pennies to your name and walk out a rich man has enticed people for decades, and the game remains a staple at nearly every casino in existence.

Once you take out the thrill of winning actual money, though, you're left with a completely mindless, random-chance-fueled game that offers little mental stimulation beyond the slight amount of concentration it takes to pull a lever. Turn it into a video game, add in an equally random story and top it off with an unnecessarily confusing interface, and you're left with a pointless title completely devoid of fun. In other words, you're left with Adventure in Vegas: Slot Machines.

Whatever your definition of “adventure” is, it's pretty safe to assume that “Adventure in Vegas” isn't it. Here's your “adventure” in a nut shell: some relative you've never even heard of dies (yep, that's actually the way it's worded in the game) and leaves you tons of cash. You (and just to clarify, by “you” we mean some guy who looks like a strung-out Jonny Quest) take this money with nary a question and go on a road trip across America. That last bit of info doesn't really matter, however, as this road trip is entirely inconsequential to the actual game. You're in Las Vegas now and you're not going anywhere.

After the game gives you the lowdown, you'll get to choose your first slot machine — there's three, and they're all unlocked from the beginning, so while they all offer mildly different challenges, it doesn't really matter which one you choose. As the title suggests, these slot machines are where the actual gameplay comes in. The thing is, the gameplay is about as fun as the “adventure” is adventurous.

Not many surprises here: there's an icon to tap for raising your bet, and there's an icon to slide for pulling the lever. If you play on the first two slot machines you can actually command up to three slots to not spin on your next turn to increase your chances or winning. But you can't choose the same slots twice in a row, to keep things fair.

But then, “fair” isn't really the right word, because when it comes right down to it, this is a game of blind luck. It's designed to be unfair. And that, ultimately, is why the game isn't any fun: there's simply not a whole lot of joy to be had with a game that hinges your success upon elements that are completely out of your control. The only thing mildly compelling the game has to offer is the “Risk!” button. If you win on one turn, you can hit the button to automatically bet everything you just won to double-or-nothing on your next turn, and there's a 50 percent chance either way. It's still random chance of course, but it at least manages to offer some minor thrills in a game that desperately needs them.

There's a few gameplay features, though, that add some unnecessary complexity to a game that can barely dish out the simplicity with much competence. Since you're playing as this guy who has inherited a bunch of money, apparently you have a bunch of...well, stuff as well; such as a mansion and a car, and a creepy panther. If you run low on money (or run out completely) you'll need to sell your belongings to pick up some extra cash. Here's the thing: your only reward for playing these slot machines is buying stuff. Not new stuff, either: stuff that you've already sold to get more money to play the slot machines to buy...stuff.

Conclusion

Adventure in Vegas: Slot Machine isn't broken, unplayable or convoluted beyond reason — it just simply isn't even remotely fun to play. It's a game based entirely around a few taps of the touch screen, and luck. Without the thrill of winning actual money or any compelling reason to keep coming back, it wouldn't be worth your time even it were completely free. 200 points is a little too much to ask for the level of boredom and monotony that awaits you here.