Several new scratch ticket games have recently popped up at New Jersey online casinos. These offerings developed by IGT aim to provide a hybrid experience between online slots and a traditional lottery games, but while the elements of both are present many of the key characteristics are left missing. Elements like simplicity and ease-of-use are replaced by false control and long animations that draw out the action.
The new style of scratchers include:
- Color Cubes
- Medieval Loot
- Monkey Drop
- The Voice
- Wheel of Fortune: Winning Words
These games all offer similar gameplay in which a variably-priced ticket generates a range of possible prize values which need to be earned in fragments over multiple turns. As one would expect, the prize levels are broad and have increasingly difficult requirements, though like a paper scratch-off the possibility of a big win is often tantalizingly dangled until the end.
In Color Cubes the awards are won by knocking colored blocks out of a grid inspired by a traditional arcade puzzle game.
Medieval Loot features the prize pieces hidden in a castle which must be destroyed with a catapult.
Monkey Drop is styled after a pachinko game, with colored buckets that must be filled three times to complete a banana.
The Voice has licensed the red button and chair spinning theme of the popular television show, but lacks any of the musical elements or other entertaining aspects that make the show appealing.
Of the entire lot Wheel of Fortune: Winning Words diverges the most in gameplay, with only three prize levels that get filled with random letters in traditional Wheel of Fortune fashion. It’s also the slowest and most frustrating of the games.
It is not entirely clear just whom IGT is aiming to reach with these games. There could be people who enjoy watching The Voice, but for the singing and competition rather than the button and spinning chair. Similarly, someone could love Wheel of Fortune but hate solving the actual puzzles. Maybe there are even those who like pachinko but think it needs….more….monkeys?
Scratchers are often seen to appeal to lottery fans making the transition to digital, but traditional scratch tickets offer more instant results with clearer outcomes. And while these new games run pretty much automatically on their own, they seem designed to offer a false illusion of strategy and skill more typical of carnival games.
The most likely players to enjoy these games wants something new and different and is tired of seeing their money disappear too quickly on slot machines. This way the experience is drawn out longer, allowing more time to believe the big win is still on the way.
There is also something to be said for a slow-paced game now and then, and of the five Color Cubes did prove to be frequently enjoyable. Wheel of Fortune: Winning Words, on the other hand, was torturous and involves far too many steps.
While the new scratch games overall are inordinately long and simplistic, it is very good that IGT is attempting to move past the standard mold for online casino games. There is a gap between slot machines and lottery games that will appeal to fans of both, and it will only be found through experimenting. Scratchers need to be kept distinct from slots, but also can’t be too similar to the instant lottery games in other markets that are themselves way too fast paced for many players.
The games also need a bit more work on the technical side. The graphics are not particularly complex, but the software ran very sluggishly on several computers that had no problem with other games, including some of the flashier slot machines. There were also a number of small hiccups and bugs, particularly with Monkey Drop.
The new scratchers are available at many NJ online casinos, with Golden Nugget offering all five.