Game Reviews

Super Zombie Slots

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Super Zombie Slots

Zombies have officially done everything, and eaten everyone.

They're in shooting games, driving games, strategy games, and tower defence games.

They've fought (and eaten) everything from plants to people, from rednecks to red snappers.

With Super Zombie Slots, they've come to a free-to-play pseudo gambling game. Only this isn't the first time they've participated in the casino genre. They've been in pretty much exactly the same game before, because Super Zombie Slots is a freemium re-skin of King Cashing 2.

Join me over the next seven days as I find out whether or not it's any good.

First impressions

What always puts me off gambling is that it looks totally unfair and thoroughly boring.

I like video games because they tend to involve competing with other players or AI routines on the basis of skill. Video games are about skill and intelligence - qualities you can improve over time, steadily improving your prospects. None of this is true of gambling.

From what I've seen so far of Super Zombie Slots, luck is very much emphasised over skill, to the point that I'm starting to wonder whether there's any skill involved at all.

The game opens with you instantly thrown into the "action", without a title sequence. You press a button to spin the reels on a one-armed bandit, then press it again to stop those same reels from spinning. You can stop them individually, if you like, but why you would want to slow the game's pace by doing this is yet to be made apparent.

The three reels have three different elements that are combined to various effects. The reel on the left is one of your zombie characters, the reel in the middle is a weapon, and the reel on the right is your enemy.

You can see enough of the elements of the reels to form a 9x9 grid, and if you line any of these elements horizontally in a combination that the game approves of, then good things happen.

If your reels match your hero with an enemy, you attack them. If it adds a weapon into the mix, and it's a weapon your character is proficient with, you get an attack bonus.

There are other combos, but you get the idea. Your attacks deplete the health of your opponent, and if they run out of HP before you run out of Cherries - the currency used to spin the reels - then you win.

The problem I'm having so far is that none of this seems to matter, because it isn't up to me where the reels stop, so why should I fret about lining up icons? Why should I invest? Why should I care about whether I win or lose, if it's down to chance anyway?

Hopefully I'll find out in the week ahead.

Day 3: Resurrected

Super Zombie Slots divides its single-player into volumes of a comic book, and I've just reached volume two.

The game is revealing a little more depth, but it's still a fairly brainless experience thus far. Have I used that 'brainless' pun before? Probably, but it's still funny.

I now have enough characters to customise my party, and loads of weapons (each with different attributes), plus numerous Bonus modifiers that add extra icons to the reels that give out additional XP, GP, and so on.

You can only field three characters, weapons, and bonuses though, so you might want to think about the upcoming battle, and whether it's best to go in with a weapon that deals a large amount of damage or a theoretically weaker one that the enemy happens to be weak against. Characters have preferred weapons, too, so that's worth considering.

But the fact remains that this is a game of luck. Although you can increase your chances of victory, if the reels don't run the way you need them to you're stuffed.

One thing I've noticed over the last couple of days is that you have to pay to enter missions, and that the reward payout is almost always roughly twice the participation fee. I found this out by entering one mission that was too high for my level, and after a couple of tries I couldn't play any further due to lack of funds, and had to return to previous levels to build up funds.

Returning to earlier stages does earn you extra experience, and each level confers a Skill Point to improve a character's stats, increases the probablity that you'll get rare treasures at the end of missions, or ups the number of spins you're given before failing a mission.

Aside from this levelling element, and the excellent comic book art, I'm still not really seeing the appeal.

Day 7: What happened to the other arm of the one armed bandit?

To come back to the gambling metaphor: when you win in Super Zombie Slots, you don't feel like you've accomplished anything. Worse still, when your party is wiped out you feel like you might have been cheated by a higher power.

Progression through the title isn't too hard, it's just one of perseverance. Keep playing, keep grinding, keep earning currency, keep buying new equipment, and eventually you'll get through.

The game becomes significantly easier the more powerful you become, so when you return to previous missions to improve upon your Bronze or Silver ranking you'll get Gold almost every time.

Super Zombie Slots has a chuckle-worthy sense of humour, and its presentation is fun, but the game behind it is so minimal as to be almost meaningless.

Most of the time you'll be tapping a button on the screen with your bets hedged, hoping that your team is strong enough to progress through the story. If it is, you'll see the next stage, if it isn't, you'll need to go back and grind a bit more.

I want more from my games than what Super Zombie Slots offers, basically.

Because what Super Zombie Slots offers is a delightful comic book aesthetic wrapped around an equally paper-thin and luck-based exercise in tapping your phone's screen until bored.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.

Super Zombie Slots

I'm not a gambling man, so Super Zombie Slots really isn't for me, but I think it's a pretty good bet that its shallow play isn't for you either