Remember Slingo, the popular, fun and highly addictive internet game that had you wasting most of your work hours trying to get the high score? Well, thanks to MumboJumbo, this incredible browser game is now available on DSiWare in the form of Slingo Quest, a reincarnation of the classic with a few extra surprises.
Slingo is incredibly simple, and that can account for most of its popularity among casual gamers. The game board is set up to look like a bingo board, essentially a 5x5 board of seemingly random numbers. You spin slots and hope to match the five numbers that you have spun with the numbers on the board. You are limited to twenty spins per game though, and while this may seem like a lot, they seem to go by pretty quickly. If you can get five covered squares in a row, whether they are horizontal, vertical or diagonal, then you’ve got yourself a Slingo. Throughout the game you can get bonuses with lucky spins, such as Jokers that can count as whichever number you want, score multipliers and free spins. Figuring out how to use these bonuses to your advantage is part of the strategy and challenge involved in this game that relies mostly on luck.
The controls are about as simple as the gameplay itself. You are given the option to use either button controls, the touch screen, or a combination of both. The button controls involve using the D-Pad to navigate around the game board and then pressing A to select the piece you would like to cover. You also press A to spin the slots, or else you can press the L or R button to do the same. With the touchscreen controls you do all of your selecting simply by tapping the screen. Because the game board is featured on the bottom screen, all of your number selecting can be done with ease, and while one control scheme isn’t necessarily easier than the other, using the touch controls does seem to be speedier option.
When first starting a new game, you must create a profile for which you will choose your name and gender. While neither your name nor gender shows up later in the game, this is strictly to differentiate between save slots, of which you can have up to three. You will then be taken to the game’s menu where you can choose to play Quest, Classic, view your stamp collection, switch players, view high scores or go to the help menu. If you are unfamiliar with how Slingo works, then it is recommended that you play classic mode first. Classic mode is simply Slingo at its purest: there are no bonuses or any other distractions, just plain Slingo. This mode is perfect for familiarising yourself with the gameplay, or for just wasting time when you don’t feel like being in Quest mode. If you are already confident with the game, however, then jumping right into the Quest is your best bet.
While the gameplay in Quest mode doesn’t change too drastically from Classic, it is divided into levels that make it feel more like you are advancing towards a concrete goal. As you play each level, getting high scores, finding keys and clearing the board will get you more points and will also open up the next level along your path. The world is divided into eight different islands, each with five levels and a bonus unlockable level on each, coming to a grand total of 48 different levels. The fifth level on each island is actually more of a boss battle that pits you against a pirate who is playing on the same board as you. Whoever gets more points from the board by the end of the match wins, opening up access to the next island. While it may not seem as though Quest mode is very lengthy, especially considering that each board can be completed in less than three minutes, the real challenge comes in getting the high scores and finding all of the keys to unlock the secret levels. Quest mode works wonders towards increasing the game’s replayability in that it provides a challenge other than simply getting the highest score.
Another feature in Slingo Quest that adds to the replayability is the implementation of the Stamp collection. Stamps are basically just achievements that you earn by doing specific things in the game such as getting four Slingos in a single move or making 1,000 Slingos. While earning these stamps does not unlock anything else or open more levels, the desire for completion makes them a nice addition to the game.
While the audio and visual presentation aren’t the most impressive things in the world, they’re also not terrible. The graphics are bright and cute and everything is clear enough to be seen easily, which is important in a game like this that relies on your quick reflexes and ability to find your target. The audio, on the other hand is some of the most mind-numbingly repetitive noise you will ever hear. There is one song in this entire game, and it is a very upbeat and very catchy tune that will be stuck in your head no matter how hard you try to beat it out of you. Don’t take it the wrong way, the song itself isn’t horrible, and it really does fit the mood of the game, but a bit of variety would have been greatly appreciated.
The one thing that this game is missing that would have been nice to include is an online leaderboard. Nothing too fancy, just something that shows the high scores of different players who are also connected to the Internet. When your game is based entirely around getting high scores, it’s interesting to see how others are doing in comparison to yourself. Beside that though, there isn’t much to complain about: Slingo Quest is not a perfect or groundbreaking game by any means, but it does what it sets out to do, and it does it with success.
At 800 Points the asking price is a little steep, but if you are a fan of casual games then this is one to get. It’s the perfect pick-up-and-go game to play while sitting on a bus or waiting in the doctor’s office because of its simplicity and addictive nature. It’s true that a few extra features would have been nice, but with Quest mode being a decent length and truly unlimited replay value in classic mode, you will undoubtedly be getting your money’s worth on Slingo Quest.