There seems to be a dearth of casino-style or gambling games on the Wii U eShop, so Skunk Software has taken it upon itself to try and fill this gap. Unfortunately, there is a glaringly obvious reason why gambling games aren't found all over the eShop: they simply don't work as intended. For its part, Slots - Pharaoh's Riches does what it sets out to do, but the meaningless gameplay absolutely fails to justify the price tag.
The gameplay is identical to any slot machine you've ever played, so don't expect any surprises here. Before each pull you can choose how many potential lineups to bet on, and how much to bet per line. Pulling the lever causes five separate columns to spin, with each one coming to a random stop. If the same symbols lay along any of the twenty different possible lines, you get some money, which varies according to the symbol. Getting multiple lines in one pull will multiply the cash output, and sometimes even lead you to a bonus round where you're randomly given a larger sum of cash.
It's a simple enough setup for sure, and it works just fine, but any semblance of entertainment is killed quickly by the utter insignificance of your actions. The point being, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. If Lady Luck isn't with you and your funds deplete into the negatives, the game continues on as if nothing happened. Obviously, the developers had to include some kind of incentive to keep pulling the lever, but it really isn't much of an incentive if it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. Couple that with the fact that there's nothing you can do to help your chances, and you're left with no logical reason to keep playing.
The presentation does the game no favours either. The Egyptian look is fine, and it fits well with the theme of treasure, but there's nothing particularly special about it. The main screen has a sandstone-esque look to it and the symbols on the slots are of Anubis, hieroglyphs, Pharaohs, etc., though the overall look is forgettable. Also, the one music track is an awful, repetitive MIDI track with a violin that loops way too much. You're far better off muting it and supplying music of your own choice.
All in all, Pharaoh's Riches is a shoddy shot at providing gamers with an interesting or meaningful gambling experience. While we can't speak to the legality of a gambling game on Wii U where real money could be exchanged, the lack of any consequence being enacted regardless of whether you've gained or lost money means you are simply pulling a lever to watch some symbols spin. Considering that this is going on the eShop for $9.99(!) at launch, we would absolutely recommend that you go elsewhere for your gambling fill.