Showball Plus

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Showball Plus

Showball Plus Casino Game

Sometimes, games don’t need to have obvious themes in order to get their point across. In most cases, players are really only interested in the action, anyway; unless a theme can either bring new players in (like when a game is tied to a popular movie) or works really well to bring out the action in the gameplay, it can often feel pasted on – almost not worth the effort.

In Showball+, a bingo-based game from Patagonia Entertainment, there is ostensibly a theme, at least if you look on their website. There, you’ll read about a character named Mike Cheetah who is trying to win gold medals, with a cute little story about how your play is helping him get there. But there elements don’t actually seem to appear in the game itself, meaning that it will stand on its gameplay elements. Whether or not this game can do that depends on exactly what it is you’re looking for.

Balls to the Wall

Showball Plus is a bingo-based game that can be found at online casinos alongside similar specialty games. The object is fairly simple: make patterns on your cards that will earn you prizes by matching your numbers with those that are randomly generated by the game.

The game begins with the player structuring their wagers. At the start of the game, you’ll see four cards displayed, each featuring 15 numbers. These are displayed in a three-by-five grid, with numbers ranging from 1 to 90 – very similar to the 90-ball variant of bingo seen in many countries. You may play anywhere from one to four cards, toggling each by clicking on them. You can also generate different cards by hitting the new tickets button.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll also see an option for setting your bet size. You can choose between many different bet sizes, with your total wager being split evenly between your cards. All bets are measured in credits, which are normally valued at 0.25 units of the currency you are playing in.

Once you’ve set your wager, you can hit the play button to start the action. At the top of the screen, you’ll watch as balls fly from left to right across three rows. In total, 30 balls will be released this way. Each ball has a number on it; if a number matches something on one of your tickets, it will be marked off for you. Should you complete a winning pattern in this way, the appropriate squares will turn orange to show you the win. If you’re one spot away from a win, the relevant position will blink red so that you will know what number you need to earn a prize.

There are 12 patterns in total that you can make in order to score prizes. Not all of these patterns are easy to describe, but they are clearly illustrated in the game itself; if they sound confusing here, they are perfectly obvious once you play the game. The payout chart is as follows:

  • One Line: 3x
  • Arrow: 3x
  • Cross: 8x
  • Triangle: 10x
  • Checkerboard: 40x
  • Square: 40x
  • M: 100x
  • Two Lines: 100x
  • All But “X”: 200x
  • Roman Numeral II: 500x
  • Perimeter: 750x
  • Full Card: 1,500x

Once all 30 balls have been revealed, you’ll have a choice to make. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see two buttons next to the words “extra ball” – NO and YES. If you would like to end the game, it is as simple as clicking no, which will finish the round. On the other hand, if you would like to purchase another number, than you may choose yes, which will send an additional ball into the game.

However, these extra balls are not free. Each one has a price that is determined by the current situation on your cards. If you have a shot at winning some big prizes, the next ball will likely be expensive; on the other hand, if there are no wins in sight, then the next ball might cost just a single credit.

You’ll have the option of buying balls up to 10 times, though you can also choose to end the game at any point. After 10 additional numbers, the game will automatically come to an end, and any prizes you’ve earned will be awarded.

Special Features Add Gameplay Variety

While Showball+ doesn’t have quite the bevy of features that you’ll see in some of Patagonia’s other titles, there are a couple of special features that can open up additional opportunities to win prizes. First, there’s the standard jackpot game that is found throughout this entire line of games. As usual, you’ll need to play all four cards and at least three bets per ticket in order to be eligible to win this prize. In order to earn the jackpot, you’ll need to complete a full card in the initial 30-ball portion of the game. In other words, you can’t buy any extra balls and still get the jackpot.

There is also a bonus round that can be reached, though we have to be honest and say that we’re not sure how this feature works. There is no obvious marking anywhere in the game that would suggest it can get you into this feature, and the documentation that can be read inside the interface doesn’t mention it at all. However, there are clearly screenshots of the bonus round on the Patagonia website, so we know it definitely exists. If you do manage to get in there, it’s a simple click and pick style game in which 12 options are available. Clicking on any one will reveal a number of credits that you’ll earn as a prize. You can keep selecting over and over again to accumulate prizes until you reveal a square that does not have an award behind it; at that point, your bonus round is over.

Finally, it’s also possible to be randomly awarded free spins during play. If this occurs, you’ll be given a free round at the same stakes as you were playing when you triggered it. Keep in mind that while the main gameplay will be free, you’ll still have to pay for any extra balls you might want to buy.

No Strategy Required

Most bingo games are light on strategy, and this one is no exception: most of your success or failure while playing Showball+ will come down purely to luck. There’s nothing you can do to influence the numbers that will come or the patterns they’ll form, so you’ll just have to hope that things come out your way.

Of course, you do have to decide whether or not to purchase extra balls at the end of each round. In general, you should avoid these offers: the game dynamically prices each ball in a way that ensures the house will make money in the long run. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but if you want the best odds possible, pass on these extras.

A Bland Entry in the Series

Showball Plus fits pretty naturally into the line of bingo games created by Patagonia Entertainment. The basic gameplay features are exactly the same, and many of the other features are more or less identical: we’ve seen the jackpots, the extra numbers, and the bonus rounds before in other titles.

But while the basics may be similar, there’s not much to make this particular game stand out from the crowd or otherwise make it unique. The theming is very bland – you’ll see a lot of metallic greys and blues – and there are no real strategic decisions to make. Patagonia’s occasional problem with documentation pops up again here, too: the fact that we can’t accurately describe the bonus features is annoying, especially when we don’t have many other reasons to particularly recommend this game.

In the end, Showball+ will probably be just fine for players who want straightforward bingo-based action and not much more. In a vacuum, we’d say this game is solid, if not outstanding in any particular way. But since Patagonia has so many other bingo titles that are more enjoyable than this one, we’d say that most players would be better off seeking out one of those rather than settling for this rather pedestrian version of the same basic framework.

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