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PopCap's Latest Facebook Game Is My Latest Not-So-Secret Shame

by Jeff Cork on Mar 30, 2012 at 11:46 AM

I’ll be the first person to point out that I’m a sucker of the highest order in a few specific situations. When I see a current-gen game priced at $8 or lower, I am always tempted to add it to my collection—even if I have firsthand knowledge that it is irredeemably awful. I’ll read a book through to its conclusion, even when I figure out a few chapters in that I hate everything about it. And in those rare occasions when I visit a casino, I’ll make a beeline to the slot machines, even if I have to plow through the blackjack, craps, and poker tables, where I know full well that my odds are better. It looks as though the diabolical minds at PopCap have my number.

Lucky Gem Casino is my latest Facebook-gaming obsession, at least temporarily bumping Bejweled Blitz off its perch. If, like me, you’re morbidly fascinated with slots, you may want to check it out. Or you may want to avoid it entirely, if you value your office productivity (Shh!).

Like just about everything that PopCap touches, Lucky Gem Casino is beautifully designed. That level of attention extends to both in its candy-coated visual presentation and rich audio production. Each of the game’s eight tables are based on existing PopCap franchises, such as Bejeweled, Chuzzle, and Peggle, and the game’s special modes are drawn from those games. For instance, the bonus mode in Mystery P.I. machine has you hunting for hidden objects in a background, with each one providing a “cash” prize. I completely understand that calling any of this "gameplay" stretches the definition of the term to its limits, but it's as faithful a rendition of video slots that I could hope for.

I haven’t checked out any of the game’s social functionality, because I loathe bothering people with details of what I’m playing on Facebook. (Keep your invites to yourself, thank you very much.) If you don’t mind making a tremendous pest of yourself, you can spread the wealth with your victims friends as you earn achievements and strike it rich.

Coins are the basis for the game’s economy, and players can build up their stash by hitting jackpots or opening their actual wallets. What I appreciate about the game is that you’re given a fairly generous amount of additional coins every few hours; I’ve never had the need or even urge to spend any real money on the game. Believe it or not, I’m not that much of a sucker.