Slingo Bingo
| Slingo Bingo

The mobile gaming demographic isn't something that's really been pinned down yet. Nevertheless, with developers unsure of whether to aim their next action platformer or symbol-matching puzzler at suited commuters or kids on the bus to school, bingo isn't something that leaps out at you as an activity demanging to be made into a game for either of these groups.

The enduring image of the archetypal bingo fan is the overweight, middle aged woman with a little too much time on her hands. Hardly the kind of cool lifestyle message advertising execs love to get their hands on, is it?

In an attempt to distance itself from the murky preconceptions of the Saturday night bingo brigade, Slingo Bingo takes the well-trodden path of making everything colourful and cartoon-like.

However, it's not just the initial lack of cool factor that's a serious issue. Real-life bingo is more or less a game of pure chance, which doesn't really make it the best material for first-class gameplay.

Bravely, though, Slingo Bingo does keep the core of the bingo experience. You have your card listing the numbers you need to match, with those randomly selected. Five numbers are drawn each turn. To enrich these gameplay building blocks, there are a host of objects the player can also get in place of numbers.

The most important of these are the joker symbols. The red joker lets you remove any number from a specific row, while the blue joker makes it possible to take any number off the board.

To complete a level, a certain pattern of numbers has to be removed before the 20th turn, which is the maximum amount of turns you can take in a level. There are loads of other symbols, too, from devils that steal your points, to point multipliers, free turns and keys that reveal bonus levels.

The real strength of the game is the well-judged structure, meaning that you're still discovering new symbols and features hours after your first play. Levels generally take about four minutes to complete, and there are ten worlds, each of which contains six levels.

Other than just emptying the number board, you're also judged on your speed, the amount of points you rack up and how many hidden objects you reveal. After each level, you're given a star rating, which is your bingo bonus, with a perfect five-star report meaning you've pretty much aced it.

There are even some meaty game-spanning Xbox 360 style achievements, the most ambitious probably being the matching of 10,000 numbers, which would require a considerable amount of time glued to your phone screen.

That said, you might find yourself netting that achievement without even realising it because Slingo Bingo is such a blast to play.

The wealth of power-ups and special items keeps play varied throughout the game, while the comprehensive achievement structure maintains the addiction levels up. Other elements are thrown into the mix to keep things fresh, too – there's a round in each world where you have to face off against a bingo-ing pirate on a single game board, for instance.

Visually, the game is bright and bold, but it would have been nice to have different backgrounds for each of the gameworlds rather than just the single option that is used throughout. It's only a minor complaint though, as the game board and number slots take up most of the screen anyway.

With 60 levels on offer, 300 ratings stars to collect and nine game-wide achievements to get, Slingo Bingo will keep you clicking away for absolutely ages. Armed with a lesser structure and less well -judged difficulty curve, the game would have got dull a long time before the final level. But as it is, Slingo Bingo is a clear 67, made in Heaven.

Slingo Bingo

Slingo Bingo will win you over with its great structure and gameplay variety. Give it a shot even if you'd never dare head down the local Mecca