Slot and Dragons: Too Random, But Definitely Enjoyable
Slot and Dragons is a Puzzle Quest kinda deal. Objects appear in lines at random, and it’s your job to make something of them in order to fight your enemies. This game reminds me of Battle Slots, another fantasy-themed slot machine quasi-RPG thing made by a company from my home state.
Combat consists of running into groups of enemies who attack every couple turns. Your task is to mash the lever to spin the wheel; the icons that pop up (including attack, heal, gold, slow enemies, and lucky sevens) affect the creatures in your party and build towards their attacks and special abilities. So there’s a definite heavy element of randomness in the slot machine, but the game requires a lot of legitimate player input as well.
But the randomness is there. You can sometimes steamroll enemies with a neverending cascade of attacks and heals, slaughtering the AI foes and leaving you at full health. Other times you’ll be struggling to do anything as the enemies slowly plink away at your health. It’s also possible (albeit uncommon) for a spin of the wheel to have no results at all if you can’t get even two of the same icon to line up. But the method for overcoming this randomness is to properly prepare for battle with the right units for the right situations. And wild cards are so good that there’s never a reason not to spend the extra little AP to keep them around one more turn.
The cards you use as characters have special abilities that you can activate after building enough energy. Most of these are simply “damage the enemy” but some are more interesting, like one that changes tiles of a certain color to healing ones for one spin, or (the one I used) a character with the innate ability to increase the health of red units. Elements like this keep the game from becoming a frustrating exercise in waiting for the RNG to give you the right effects.
When playing through any level, you need to select a partner (chosen from the multitude of online players) as your fifth character to help you through the levels. This allows for more variety in combat as well as encouraging hobnobbing with the userbase. The partner need not do anything on their own; being chosen to help someone else requires nothing of you and can even give a little bit of money when others use you to as a helper. There is no waiting in lobbies for someone to show up; you pick another player and everyone benefits.
Run out of turns? Wait a bit, or spend in-game currency to give yourself more turns. Slot and Dragons uses the same money-making methods I described in games like Wartune and Fantasica: Festoon the player with daily tasks, different ways to grind, junk to collect, daily events that give better bonuses, and multiple currencies. Yet I don’t hate Slot and Dragons like I do those other two because this game doesn’t starve you of resources to try to manipulate you into sacrificing filthy lucre just to get by.
There’s still too much randomness and grinding, though the pay-to-win aspect isn’t as bad as I feared; you can certainly get far through your own efforts and not have to fork over any real money to garner some entertainment from Slot and Dragons. It’s not original, but it’s competently made, aesthetically pleasing, and not obscenely money-grubbing. It’s a worthy game.