Wrapping up our trio of reviews on the Reel Deal games is the entry into the fairly niche portion of gambling that is slot machine games with "Reel Deal Slots: Blackbeard's Revenge". As with the previous games the title explains pretty well what the game is all about, and in this case the game is extremely similar to Reel Deal Millionaire's Club because the two games actually share a number of features.
For example the character creation and prize systems are identical (prizes are different, the systems are the same) down to every detail I noticed. This of course isn't necessarily a bad thing but in both games the created character only ever served as a tiny on-screen avatar that you only saw from the waist up and really never had any major aesthetic contribution. So in that regard it is character creation purely for the sake of character creation which again is not necessarily a bad thing and many games do this.
Other similarities are that you can again load your own MP3's to listen to via the in-game MP3 player. Unfortunately you still have to manually type in the directory where your MP3's are stored each time you start the game. But now there is a new twist! In my playing with the MP3 player this time I found that it was far more temperamental and sometimes just trying to minimize the MP3 player out of the way would cause the game to crash. The effect is that I would end up typing in the directory multiple times until it didn't crash and I could finally play. So again my very strong recommendation is to play the game in a window and have your own MP3 player handy to play your music.
Betting lines range from very few up into the mid 20's on some machines!
The overall graphical presentation for Blackbeard's Revenge is again pretty good for games in this genre, particularly keeping in mind that many folks don't have the hardware to push the pixels on the cutting edge of 3D gaming. There is certainly nothing here that will impress but for the most part things look clean and professional, and the game sticks fairly close to its pirate theme (which is a plus all by itself in my book!).
Also well incorporated here is the menu system which includes both a 3D game interface for selecting slots as well as a simple list you can select from. Each machine allows quick access to its pay tables and changing your bet amount is pretty easy overall. The only real shortcoming to the menu system here is the stats menu which is simply a pain to traverse through like it was in the previous games. To check your stats for a given game you have to click past each game in alphabetical order hitting next until you reach your game. This is really just a cumbersome way of doing what a drop list would do far more elegantly and simply should have been corrected during testing but clearly fell through the cracks.
Wait a minute! What do wizards have to do with pirates?
Moving on to the gameplay I have to say I was actually fairly impressed with the overall package here. With 27 slot machines each with their own unique look and feel as well as their own features and specials, the game certainly has a lot to offer in what I would have thought of as a fairly limited game scope. At this point I will be honest in saying slots are not big for me and my experience with them in casino settings is extremely limited. So instead I'll draw on my deeper experience of pinball which is actually a pretty good analogy all things considered.
Just like in pinball where each game is unique and has different scoring, different modes, specials, features, etc... Similar to how you might see two pinball machines like the Adam's Family and Space Cadet and you know that each has its own unique experience and gameplay. In this way each theme has a personality of its own that separates it from other themes. And it is in this area that the creativity and ingenuity of Blackbeard's Revenge is strongest. Coming into these reviews I would have expected this game to do the worst in this category, but it really surprised me and changed my mind on how deep a slot game can be. I'll stress that while this is still not an epic adventure, there is certainly more here than some might think.
Pirates have their own gameshow?!?
The last interesting note on the gameplay here is the "dream world" odds that you can set. This is a feature that is available in all of the Reel Deal games but it is most useful here as slots are pretty much designed to slowly drain you of your money. Playing on the real world odds would probably become frustrating very quickly so most will want to play on dream world odds but you can try your hand at something closer to reality as well and it is certainly a nice touch to give the option.
With everything considered Blackbeard's Revenge is actually not a bad value for what it is. Like the other two games I must again recommend that folks looking for anything more than a game to putz around on should probably look elsewhere, but this time there is an additional caveat that you should be at least moderately interested in Slot Machine gaming as well or your value will not be nearly as good.
Still though scoring here is done based largely on the target audience for the game and for them the value is pretty good. There are a ton of machines to try and while I doubt many will like them all, they can each provide hours of entertainment.
Wrapping up the review I will say that when I started work on these Reel Deal reviews I, like many gamers who might be reading this, viewed gambling games as a strange gaming purchase to consider. Now clearly the scoring of these titles does not indicate that they are profound epics of the gaming world, but they aren't the horrible waste of good gaming effort, time and money many gamers might think. There is, in fact, genuine entertainment value to be had here. But specifically the major appeal these games offer is in the ease with which you can "pick-up-and-play" at any time, and for any length of time you choose. Some younger gamers have the hours to devote to those gaming epics but those with jobs, college classes, and/or kids will surely appreciate how conducive these games are to the "on-the-go" lifestyle.
The truth is that there are a lot of people who enjoy these games and are happy to pay a small price to play them in the comfort of their own home without the risk of losing a ton of money in the process. And for those folks these games are certainly worthwhile despite their often numerous faults. So if you're one of those people who enjoys card games, casino games, or in this case slots then the Reel Deal series of games is a good place to start looking and from what I've seen their take on the world of slots is one of their best titles and a good place to get your feet wet.