How do you go about reviewing a game like Slots: Valentine's Edition? It's a pretty good simulation of a casino slot-machine experience, yet of course you can never win any real money. Regardless of your opinions on gambling, is it even ethical to make a game like this available to its 12+ audience, particularly when there's a cash store attached to the game? Perhaps it's better to simply take the game at face value and see where it leads us.While there are a large number of machines available in the game, you won't get to play on each one immediately. The more spins you take (win or lose), the higher your XP bar goes, and the more you gamble the quicker it rises. As you reach new levels, new machines open up for play and each one covers a different theme.
Lucky 7 is the bog-standard machine you start out with, and it's filled with playing card denominations and a whole basket of fruit. On Pharaoh's Treasures it's more of the same, albeit with sphinx icons, hieroglyphics and so on. Romance in Venice assumes a Renaissance styling, while Valentine's Hearts is full of gift cards and cute teddy bears.
Regardless of the machine you play, you choose how many lines to play on each spin, and adjust your bet depending on how lucky you're feeling. You might even unlock a mini-game where you have to reveal bonuses with screen-taps - and you can lose it all if you're greedy. Should you run out of money entirely, you'll have to head into the cash store where various bundles of tokens can be scooped up for a variety of prices.And this is really where we have a rather uneasy concern with Slots: Valentine's Edition and every other game in the genre. Just like real casinos, it's really not in the developer's interest to have you tapping away at a free game forever, so how confident can you be that the game engine ticking away in the background is playing fair? Why exactly should we place that trust so readily in the app? How can you be sure the game's not drawing you towards the cash store, while poised at the same time to punish you artificially?
You can't, of course, and so how you feel about the game will likely depend on your own cynicism. For us, we found the game competent at what it does, well-themed for the time of year, and yet questionable as an offering on the App Store. By all means take it for a spin if you enjoy the hypnotic tinkles of the jackpot experience, but we could never recommend giving real money to this or any other casino game.
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