Blue Shell Games’ Lucky Slots is proving to be one of the more popular of the recent crop of Facebook-based slot machine simulations. It was the 13th fastest growing Facebook title by DAU this week, and currently has 1,500,000 MAUs and 320,000 DAUs, with no sign of growth slowing as yet. But does it provide an original take on the genre?
Put simply: no, not really. Lucky Slots is a fairly basic slot machine simulation that, like most games in the genre, does not explain how to play slots for those who are unfamiliar. What the game does offer, however, is a good degree of audio-visual polish and a wide variety of machines for players to challenge as they rise through the experience levels. At the time of writing, there are nine different machines available, with each one unlocking at every even-numbered experience level up to level 16. Each machine carries a different visual theme, but all play identically to most other slots sims on Facebook — players purchase a number of “win lines” on the machine, spin the reels and hope a winning combination of symbols come up. “Scatter” symbols may be used to acquire free spins if three, four or five are matched on a single line, while “Wild” symbols may be used to stand in for any symbol except “Scatter.” Unlike some other recent Facebook slots games, there are no symbols that trigger minigames — it’s a simple, pure slots experience.
Unfortunately, that means the player is left feeling like there is very little control over what they are doing. There are no Holds, no Nudges and no powerups. There is no incentive for players to compete against their friends, and the default bets for even the first two machines will likely see players ripping through their initial allowance of soft currency within a matter of minutes — good for monetization, but not so great for those who like to feel they’ve had a satisfying play session.
The one twist on the very conventional formula that Lucky Slots otherwise follows is the ability to upgrade machines. With every spin, a small bar on the machine fills, similar to the “Mastery” meter you see on missions in text-based RPGs like Mafia Wars. Upon filling this bar, the player may upgrade the machine in order to increase its jackpot, bonus pool and maximum number of free spins available. In order to do this, however, the player must collect items either by asking friends to provide them or by purchasing them with Facebook Credits. This feature provides the game with both a means of viral promotion and another avenue of monetization outside of simple currency purchase.
So how is Lucky Slots performing so well when far more creative, interesting takes on the genre such as Team Slots and Lucky Cruise struggle to break a million MAUs and seem to tail off almost as quickly as they grow? Likely a combination of factors. The leveraging of friends to help upgrade machines encourages new users to try the game. Blue Shell Games’ official Facebook page for the game is very active and offers regular giveaways of free currency to players, as well as exhortations to Like and Share its posts with friends. And the in-game currency store runs regular promotions where players may get up to 50% more chips than usual, even when buying smaller packages.
The game is still growing at this time, so it remains to be seen whether these features will be enough to retain its users or whether it will follow a similar pattern to its rivals, with a very brief peak followed by a fairly rapid decline. Despite its relative lack of innovation in the genre when compared to its rivals, it’s perhaps one to watch carefully for the moment.
One to watch for now; while the gameplay is very conventional, users are still flocking to Lucky Slots at the time of writing.