An RPG Adventure twist on a simple Slot Machine game. Spin the slots to do damage and gain gold!
One day, I had the idea for a Slot Machine RPG. I pondered it a bit, and there was one feature of the idea that I found particularly interesting. One of the problems with Slot Machines as games is that you need to lose more often than you win for winning to feel good. But you win record and your ability to play more are functionally identical, in the form of how much money you have. In Free-to-Play game form, where the money isn't real (until you spend real money), your virtual wallet fills with time, and the game conspires to deplete it as rapidly as possible while you're playing the game.
What's interesting is how much that dynamic is fundamentally altered with the addition of even one more resource. In Hero Slots, you "pay" for spins with health, which eventually reaches zero. Yes, you can win health and forestall the inevitable with lucky spins, but the odds are tuned to be very unforgiving when it comes to health. If that was the only resource, players would face unrelenting failure in every game. But Hero Slots can get away with those harsh odds for the spin currency, because it another currency: Gold, which is the money you get to keep. And that never goes down during the course of a game, until you spend it on permanent upgrades between games. Every game can feel like a win. You can have big victories or small victories, but you always leave with something, even though your ultimate defeat was even more certain than it would be at a traditional slot machine.
That pattern might be familiar to you if you've played games in the "Rogue-like" genre. The original Rogue, much like old arcade games, was a static challenge where you were perpetually doomed, and the fun was seeing how far you could get on each attempt. Nowadays, "Rogue-like" implies some level of iterative progress, where one "run" earns you permanent advantages for future runs. So the game can be functionally impossible, and doom the player to dramatic failure, while still providing them with a sense of progress and accomplishment, even through defeat. It's a useful paradigm that fits surprisingly well among games of chance.
There's another important resource in Hero Slots: Enemy Health. But fundamentally, that functions more as progress towards certain milestones which don't fundamentally change the game. New enemies mean more variety, and you get bonuses for defeating them. And as you defeat enemies, the rewards increase, so you are rewarded for getting farther. And you can spend your gold on upgrades to take you farther, faster. Enemies and their levels are the narrative pieces that make the game more understandable, relatable, and interesting.
In terms of slot machine design, the enemies are decoration. But the separation of the currency that you spend and the currency that you win is deeper than that. I think that's neat. Hopefully, it translates into a refreshing twist that players can enjoy. I want a gamer who doesn't quite like slots, because they think they're pointless, to play Hero Slots see the simple and relaxing game that slots can be. And I want a person who enjoys slots to play Hero Slots and find a depth and satisfaction that goes a step beyond the toil and hope of more realistic gambling games.
(I developed this game in three weeks in Dec. 2018 - Jan.2019. All the programming, game design, and art was done by myself.)