Throughout the history of video games, players have discovered that some real-life events and ideas translate better into interactive experiences than others. Playing football, marching into battle and exploring a dense forest are all exciting in their own ways, but others aren't quite as suitable when it comes to making the leap to your TV screen.
Casino games, while never wildly popular like shooters or platformers, have been around for a while, usually existing as distractions in full titles. Now, the extravagantly-titled Skunky B's Super Slots Saga #1 has arrived on Wii U and for 15 bucks promises "a heart pounding slots adventure" for you to gamble on. Let's see if you should sit down at this table.
The rather ugly graphics are the first thing your eyes will be drawn to in this game. After firing it up, you're greeted with a low-quality image of Las Vegas with a few dozen locks on top of it, representing the "different" slot machines you can play on.
The graphics don't get any better when you're using a slot machine, sadly — each one contains an image seemingly chosen at random from a Google search (the Roman coliseum, soldiers and landscapes, for instance). Not only do the images feel entirely out of place, they look like tiny 200x200 photos stretched to fill the screen. Simply put, it's utterly dreadful to look at. Even the pay table menu, which shows the values for different slot combinations, is all stretched out and emblazoned with a generic font.
You'll be wishing you had something more entertaining to look at when you discover how little this game offers in the playability department. It's the standard slot fare, just like in Skunk Software's other slots game, Slots - Pharaoh's Riches. You can select from one to eight lines to play at a time on the slot machine, and increment your bet so you're risking more money, but also making more if you win.
Of course, you're not risking real money here, so the "gameplay" essentially comes down to clicking the spin button over and over to see how much you win in virtual terms. Other than when you start out, there's really no reason to ever bet less than the maximum, as you'll eventually keep winning big and increasing the meaningless cash number on your screen.
Every time you bet, the amount you risked gets added to your "level" meter. When you reach a new level, a "new" machine on the home screen is unlocked — jump into it, however, and the only difference you'll find is a different low-resolution background. Each slot machine presents the same task — tap the spin button until you win a bunch of money or get bored, the latter of which will happen in about two minutes.
The only special event that changes up the gameplay is the occasional bonus round, which simply has you pick three cherries off a tree for a random bonus amount of money. Needless to say, it's less than riveting.
To add to the pain, the music is predictably annoying — it gets repetitive after five minutes, and if you can avoid the urge to reach for the mute button on your TV remote control in your first play session, then you deserve some kind of award. This game lacks any sort of polish in any department, and it doesn't even use the GamePad's buttons to, say, change the betting amount or go back to the main menu.
If you run out of cash, you have to start over. Amazingly, the game doesn't alert you of this at all, as the spin button still display a bright green light when you hit $0 (or if you try to bet more than you own). You have to go back to the main menu and click the restart button, which locks all the machines again and resets your money count to the $1,000 you began with.
This reset button is easy to hit by accident, though — tap it out of curiosity and all your progress is obliterated without so much as a confirmation. Of course, the result is still you pressing spin over and over, so it's not like a reset means much. We intentionally tried to run out of money just for the heck of it, and ended up earning over $500,000 in the process. Oops.
Unfortunately, that's really all this game boils down to. You keep pressing spin and get a random outcome to add a random amount of money to your meaningless winnings count. It's no fun at all, and you'll wish you didn't pay real-world money for this game the instant you start playing it. Perhaps that's the ironic message? Let's hope the #1 in this game's title isn't indicative of a planned sequel.
Skunky B's Super Slots Saga #1 is an absolute hot mess of a video game. The gameplay consists of hitting a single button over and over with no meaningful results, the unprofessional graphics are an eyesore to observe, everything feels rushed and every slot machine is the same, bar the terrible, zoomed-in image in the background. You'll have seen everything this game has to offer in its first, excruciating five minutes, and at $15, this button pressing simulator is highway robbery. Stay far, far away from this one.