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5 Card Slingo

For: Mobile

Put your solitaire face on

Product: 5 Card Slingo Poker | Publisher: Iplay | Format: Mobile | Genre: Card/ board game, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 304KB | Reviewed on: K800i other handsets | Version: Europe
5 Card Slingo Poker Mobile, thumbnail 1
It speaks volumes about the games industry when FreeCell is the world's most played game. It's no wonder then that we've seen a consistent stream of card-based games for every possible format since PCs running Windows 95 first put our coffee breaks to such frivolous use.

The somewhat obscurely-titled 5 Card Slingo adds to this prolific genre admirably by combining enough styles of gameplay to create something we found to be rather unique – even if the name sounds a little bit too much like an Irish Western.

While the concept behind Slingo is a little tricky to explain - and initially seems rather restrictive - the simplicity of this addictive little card game slowly reveals itself. By taking solitaire (or FreeCell, as we prefer to think of it these days) and combining it with poker, a hint of Yahtzee and a suggestion of slot machine gambling, an amalgam emerges that's so addictive and simple, it's no wonder it's become an internet phenomenon (indeed this is I-play's second version of mobile Slingo).

It works like this. A grid of five by five squares makes up the playing area in which rows of cards are placed to form poker hands. The cards themselves are dealt at random by 'spinning' the slot machine, and are laid out underneath the grid – one card at the bottom of each column. Each card can then be placed in any square of the column directly above it (though not in those to the sides) as you attempt to build up the best possible hand in combinations of horizontal, vertical and diagonal rows.

It's this aspect of only being able to place the card in the squares directly above that initially feels restrictive, but as play progresses, it becomes clear this small constraint is what adds a significant part of the chess-like strategy and skill. Being allowed up to seven 'rolls of the cards', scores can reach dizzying heights and depressing lows, depending on how broadly fate is smiling on you.

A variety of bonus points can be won in many different ways - such as filling all squares, completing specific highlighted lines and completing a hand as quickly as possible - that add dynamically to the nail-biting tension of each deal.

And, as the casinos you visit during your gambling tour become more and more prestigious, heavier levies are placed on new deals and the gambling elements ("should I chance 1500 points on dealing the next hand, or play it safe with the lower score I've already got?") have a huge impact on progression to the next level.

Coupled with a timer for each hand (which isn't strict, by any means, but does award extra points for quick decisions), what's essentially a game of chance is infused with a distinct level of skill that allows a successful player to feel genuinely proud of a high score.

But while these brilliant and inspired combinations of different types of game add to 5 Card Slingo's appeal, there's also a fair amount of padding which unnecessarily slows the gameplay down. Some nonsensical back-story about travelling around the casinos of the world looking for lost gems occasionally rears its pointless head, while the irritating Slingo Joker provides useful instruction in a ridiculous manner.

Inane padding aside though, this is a hugely addictive game that, while providing quick and casual gameplay right when you need it, ends up stealing hours from your day and instils a compulsion to snatch your mobile phone back up the second you finally manage to put it down.
5 Card Slingo
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 14 January 2008
It's not often we get to call a game of solitaire addictive and exciting but that's 5 Card Slingo
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