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Best of Pam Droog

Gaming Guru


"Totally Puzzled" Will Keep You Guessing

16 October 2005

"It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." *

The speaker of that famous quote certainly was not referring to Totally Puzzled video slots. Based on all kinds of puzzles and brainteasers, the game is another excellent example of IGT's ingenuity in creating a slot machine out of just about anything. I can imagine Slot Designer #1 saying, "What can we make a game about now? We've used everything already. I'm totally puzzled." Then Slot Designer #2 replies, "That's it! Totally Puzzled!" And so it came to be.

Actually it's a neat slot, colorful and inviting and fun to play. The symbols, as you can imagine, picture a variety of puzzles including those twisted-up nail thingys, a Rubik's Cube-like game, wooden jigsaw puzzles, a wooden dog, puzzle pieces, a goofy puzzle face and one of those triangular doodads you find in restaurants off the highway where you move golf tees between holes.

The game also features interesting sound effects, including lots of bells and whistles (literally) and the 1977 hit, "(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again" by LTD during the Free Spin Bonus. Why? I honestly don't know.

The game has two bonus rounds. The Pick and Slide Bonus starts when the "Pick and Slide" symbol lands on reels 1, 2 and 3 of a played line. The screen turns into a tile grid and you pick one and slide it over to reveal a credit value. You can slide up to four tiles at a time, all in the same row, in the same move. With each move you can choose "Keep" to take home your bonus credits (and end the round) or "Win" to take up to two more chances. (Here's a little hint I found in the "Help" section, after I had played the game: For the best play, slide a pink tile toward the lowest displayed values. You'll see what that means when you hit the bonus round for yourself!)

The "Free Spin" Bonus begins when that symbol lands in any position on reels 3, 4 and 5. During the free spins you earn credits at the same bet and number of lines you originally selected. What's neat is that a whole different set of reel symbols appears, with lots of different puzzles that don't appear in the original screen. Personally I think a lot of them are fantasy puzzles because I have never seen anything like them in real life.

Now if a "?" symbol lands on reel 3 during the bonus, you have won the chance to choose one of the ?s at the top of the screen. I picked one and got 10 more free spins and another chance to pick a ? which led to more free spins and so on and so forth. In all I won 730 credits. "Nice going"! said Mr. Slot Machine Voice. "Thanks," I thought. "All I did was sit there and point to question marks!"

I guess the biggest puzzlement with Totally Puzzled is: How the heck can I win a life-altering jackpot on a penny slot? Well, that's difficult. But in the meantime you can have a good old time on this perfectly pleasant video slot.

Until next time, enjoy Life Among the Slots!

* "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." (Sir Winston Churchill in a radio broadcast, October 1, 1939)