Looking for a little Halloween gameplay in mid-summer? Then come calling for The Ghouls at night. With its deliberate cartoon style, this Betsoft slot brings out the undead in every reel. Its playful haunting music and effects further add to the fun.
The Ghouls offers a trio of special features—progressive jackpot, click-me bonuses and free spins—as well as a wild card to increase winning opportunities. Gameplay is simple, but every aspect is detailed in the information windows. The Ghouls is available for free or paid haunted gaming on desktop platforms.
The five-reel three-row slot takes up most of the screen. A progressive jackpot ticker sits above the top row, increasing with time.
Bets are adjusted with the buttons below the rows. Coin values between .02 and .50 are available, with the progressive adjusting with the selection. Between one and 20 paylines can be played using “Select Lines”. “Bet per Line” sets the bet and payout multiplier between one and five. “Spin” starts a single play using the customized settings. “Max Bet” starts a spin with the per line bet set at five. A “Paytable” button offers up the excellent game information screens.
The Ghouls has no autospin or options switches, so aggressive players must keep clicking spins one by one, and muting the sound must be done with one’s device.
In order of increasing value, here are the cartoon baddies that will either haunt your balance or deliver terrifying payouts: Black Widow Spider, The Eye, Black Cat, Howling Wolf, Flying Witch, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy and Haunted House.
Wins occur when three or more symbols align successively on a played payline, from left to right and right to left, starting from the first or last reel. Five Haunted Houses award the jackpot when the maximum per line bet has been played.
The Ghouls has an excellent array of special features, though some quirks reside in each.
Jack-o’-Lantern serves as the wild symbol, standing in for all the regular icons. But it’s scarce rather than scary, appearing only eight times in 160 test spins. A player may need to wade through 50 spins before seeing it once.
Landing three or more Tomb symbols on a payline takes the player to a click-me bonus graveyard screen. The player can start clicking on as many of the six graves with silly names (Rob Degrave!) as possible before the bonus ends and wins are collected. The bad news: payouts are often lower than many of those offered by the regular symbols. The good news: getting four or five Tomb symbols on the reels increases the bonus winnings.
When three or more Draculas show up on played paylines, the free spin game begins on black and white reels. The good news: free spins increase with the number of Draculas; 3, 4 or 5 icons result in 5, 10, or 15 spins. The bad news: the click-me bonus game is switched off and it appears as if the vampire has been removed from the reels, thus additional spins may not be available. Like the wild symbol, this feature is rare, occurring only once during 160 test spins.
The variety of features is great in theory, but their scarcity and low win value hamper the excitement. It’s understandable why a game’s bonuses would be either sparse or nominal, but making them both seems like a misstep or mingy business. More casual players won’t take much issue with this, but experienced or aggressive gamers will.
The Ghouls partially makes up for the feature quirks with a comforting lack of low-paying regular symbol “wins”. Only three out of the 24 possible win combos pay out less than the total bet.
The game’s biggest victory is its amusing theme. The visuals, the sound and the simple gameplay keep The Ghouls an airy thrill for players of all (legal) ages.