Review of KISS Slots
Every Halloween between 1979 and 1982 I had to go out dressed as Paul Stanley because my mom couldn’t get Gene Simmons’ make up right. Every year the neighbourhood kids would make fun of me because Paul was the weakest one in the group, and they were all dressed as the cooler band members of Ace, Gene, or Peter. It didn’t help that mom couldn’t get the star quite right so it didn’t actually look like a star, and it was so big that it took up half my face. Technically, I think I looked more like a black and white cookie than the Star Child.
This devastating childhood trauma aside, I grew up loving the band as a youth and had all of their albums and toys. However I drifted away when Ace and Peter left the band, then the remaining members took off their makeup in the early 1980s, and new bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Metallica came on to the scene and revolutionized Heavy Metal. Of course I came back to them in the mid ’90s when they did their reunion tour with the makeup, and their records were played regularly on my stereo from that time until now.
I tell you all of this because I want you to know that I am a huge KISS fan who had Great Expectations for this game. Unfortunately this online slot is one of the most disappointing games I’ve ever played in my life. Don’t worry, this review will break down every problem with it, and try to find silver linings wherever possible.
As you will read below, I think that this was just a straight up cash-grab by KISS Inc. and WMS Gaming. They basically just took the land-based version of the game and released it as an online slot without changing anything, and as all experienced slots players know, there is a helluva difference between land-based and online games. So let’s Unmask this game to see why it’s a Destroyer that won’t pull the trigger of your Love Gun…
The screenshots below are going to excite you at first glance, and I want to assure you that these feelings are absolutely normal – it’s KISS after all! And as KISS fans, we get very excited anytime we see the band or their logo…it’s just how we’ve been trained over the last few decades. However, the difference between this game and everything else with the KISS brand name on it is that your excitement is going to quickly wear off and you will soon be disappointed. Picture how you would feel if you were unboxing KISS action figures in 1978, and it’s the exact opposite of that.
One important thing that you will want to pay attention to is the insane amount of paylines covering the two unique sets of reels, so you can learn what’s going on and how to win. The left side consists of a set of 5×4 reels, while on the right there is a set of COLOSSAL reels that are 5×12.
I’ve never been able to wrap my head around all of the potential win lines for a 243 payline slot machine, and I wasn’t much better with the 100 paylines that KISS Slots has an offer. I find that any game over 64 paylines can get very confusing very quickly, and they almost aren’t any fun to play – there’s just too much going on to keep track of. Although in this slot you can alter the number of paylines, but it can only be either 20, 40, 60, 80, or 100.
The world of Rock n’ Roll was changed forever when the members of KISS decided to follow in the footsteps of Glam Rock pioneers like David Bowie and Alice Cooper, and put on makeup and outrageous costumes. They took glam to a new, heavier level, and played the role so well that they had fans believing that they were truly from outer space – or demons straight from hell. No one knew quite what to think of Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Gene Simmons, and Paul Stanley when they sang, “I’m 93, you’re 16! Can’t you see I’m goin’ blind!”
Although KISS’s songs were simple technically, their musical anthems were able to harness the rock ethos of the 1970s like no other band before or after them. They saw the changes coming to popular culture as the Flower Power of the 1960s began to dissipate in the early part of the decade. When they commanded fans to “Shout It Out Loud“, young people around the world as far as Australia and Japan grasped onto the idea and transformed it into a religion…or at least an organized collective of likeminded thinkers, otherwise known as the “KISS Army”. Just watch any KISS concert footage from any country between 1975 and 1980 and you will see tens of thousands of possessed fans drinking up every drop of fake blood that the band had to offer. It was about more than just the music.
Regarding KISS Slots, I suppose that the storyline of this game is somewhat true to the obscure idea of wanting to “rock n’ roll all nite and party every day“. The game is just one non-stop party that has gone wildly out of control – but not in the good way. This is a party without a chaperone, and it desperately needs one. And due to this game’s glaring lack of a storyline, you’ll be just as dazed and confused playing it as you would be waking up in a field with a hangover after a raging Beer Bust in 1976.
My mother and I always bash a slot game when the designers are lazy, and instead of using their imaginations for 10 minutes to come up with a wide selection of unique symbols they just shrug their shoulders and use a 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace. Well, WMS gave you 4 of the 6 worst symbols in online gambling, so that should give you an idea of what you’re going to get with this game.
Since you’re reading this review I’m going to assume that you are somewhat familiar with the band KISS, and what propelled them to stardom – their makeup and their highly visual live performances. So why exactly did WMS feel that they didn’t have enough material to work with and decided on playing card symbols instead?
Record covers, the old Casablanca Records logo, Eric Carr as the Fox, Vinnie Vincent as the Anch Warrior, still images from KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, music video clips…there were literally about 5,000 things that they could have chosen to be unique symbols that would have been better than a Jack, Queen, Kick, and Ace. This is definitely one of the biggest disappointments of the game. Although, in fairness to WMS, I maybe see how having 13 unique symbols over 10 reels could have been a visual overload. Maybe.
Oh, and no Ace or Peter symbols? Ummm yaaa…”forget” that…
- J (Jack)
- Q (Queen)
- K (King)
- A (Ace – the card not Frehley)
- Kiss Army Badge
- Paul Stanley with Red Wig
- Les Paul – Paul Stanley Series Guitar
- Gene Simmons’ Tongue
- Expanded Gene (Love Gun Cover)
- Expanded Paul (Love Gun Cover)
- Ace, Paul, Gene, and Peter (Wild)
- KISS Logo (Scatter)
Because this is a 10 reel, 100 line slot, the individual payouts aren’t that high. Expanded Paul Stanley and Expanded Gene Simmons are the most valuable symbols in the game paying 5x your total wager and 4x respectively for 5 of a Kind. This is then followed by Gene’s Tongue and Paul Stanley in a Red Wig giving you 2x your bet for five in row, and then Paul Stanley’s Les Paul Guitar and the KISS Army Badge each paying 1.5.
Any Wild symbols on the 5×4 reels will be duplicated on the Colossal reels, so you do have a few good opportunities to cash in. Also the Wilds can nudge symbols to fill the reels in with winning combinations for an extra bankroll boost.
Side note: if anyone knows why Paul Stanley is wearing a red wig on one of the symbols, please email me and let me know what the heck is going on.
There isn’t a KISS Slots jackpot in this title and to be honest, that’s probably a good thing. Between 100 paylines, 2 sets of reels, Expanding and Nudging Wilds, and Gene breathing fire every couple of spins, there’s already way too much going on in this game. I’m all for winning as much money as possible, but chasing a jackpot would just be yet another unnecessary distraction, in my opinion.
In what could easily be the biggest crime in KISStory, this slot was released without a bonus round. With dozens of albums, music videos, and hit singles to draw upon, this really doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Players could have gone into a bonus area, chosen their favorite band member, then gone on an adventure of some kind – even if it was just a Pick Em’ style bonus game. So if you choose Gene you go to fire and brimstone and open caskets until you hit “collect”, or if you choose Ace you go into space and select planets until you hit “collect”, etc. It took me approximately 30 seconds to think of this bonus round, why couldn’t the professionals come up with anything?
The free spins mode in KISS Slots is definitely one of the game’s highlights, and players will get excited with the change in music and game play. As with most online slot games, three Scatter symbols anywhere on either set of reels will get you some free spins. The Scatter or “Feature” symbol only falls on reels 1,3 and 5 on both sets of reels.
The more Scatter symbols you get, the more free spins you will receive, and the higher the multiplier will be for your bonus wins during the free games.
- 3 Scatters: 8 free spins with a 2x multiplier
- 4 Scatters: 12 free spins with a 5x multiplier
- 5 Scatters: 20 free spins with a 20x multiplier
The free games mode uses a different set of reels but still uses the bet amount that you entered the free spins on, with all of the payouts being the same as the regular action in the game.
During Free Games Mode you finally get to hear the vocals for “Detroit Rock City” or “Rock N’ Roll All Nite“, which is a great backdrop to the guitar solos that cut through the speakers for payline wins. Paul ends the free spins round by squealing, “That’ll go down in KISStory!!” Huh? Will it really? Ok then.
Visually this game is on par with any of the best slots out there – WMS must have spent months getting the make up on Paul and Gene just right. And no matter how boring the actual game is, the images are crisp and clear, and the control panel is clean.
KISS Traditionalists will want to know that they’ll be seeing Tommy Thayer instead of Ace Frehley in the bonus footage contained in the Free Spins Mode. I imagine that for this reason alone most diehard fans will want to take a pass on this game.
It’s a shame this slot is so bad because it really is filled with tons of sharp graphics. For example, the flames that dance behind the KISS scatter symbols looks fantastic, and the action flows smooth – just like the fireballs that Gene spits out to burn up the reels.
Audio & Soundtrack
You would think that an online slot game based on the rock group KISS would have the best soundtrack in the world, however, that is sadly not the case. So in a career that spanned 24 studio albums, (or 20 if you are like me and consider “Revenge” their last album), we only get 3 songs in this game:
- Detroit Rock City
- Shout It Out Loud
- Rock and Roll All Nite
It’s obvious that these would probably be the three songs that any casual KISS fan could name, but wasn’t this game released for the diehards like me? If yes, why would you use three of their most-played songs that fans are sick of hearing for the most part? It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Putting aside the lazy and predictable song selection, the way the soundtrack in this game is presented is appalling. Instead of playing a song in its entirety, or playing continuous portions of the same song, every time you spin the reel you get a random instrumental selection of the three songs. One spin it’s the bass from Rock and Roll All Nite, the next spin it’s the bass from Detroit Rock City, and then one spin later we’re back to the bass from Rock and Roll All Nite again. And trust me – this hodgepodge mixing of songs is just as bad as it sounds…it’s totally annoying.
Distracting. Offensive. Confusing. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when trying to figure out the musical decisions in this game. (And no, it doesn’t help if you put it on auto-spin because it still mixes up the songs continuously.) Please find me the KISS fan that wants to listen to their songs in this manner. It’s absolutely ridiculous, and the fact that the game was released this way tells me that there was zero quality control in the offices of the software company that created it.
The soundtrack is broken up by explosions and fire balls that rock your computer speakers, and the reels sometimes stop with a big bang. Most of you will be too offended by the erratic soundtrack to notice these effects.
As is the same with Guns N’ Roses Slots, this title fails to provide maximum impact due to its insistence on not recognizing all band members. How either Axl or Gene thought that fans wouldn’t notice, or even worse, wouldn’t care, is beyond me. You would think at this point in their lives they would be able to see that antics like this only serve to perpetuate the belief that they have way too big of an ego, and should be ignored by society until their heads deflate and they float back down to earth.
If you think that you can get past the glaring problems of this game like no bonus rounds and terrible soundtrack, then I suppose I could recommend KISS Slots to you. However, any diehard fans will probably be like me, and simply get angrier the more that they play. And if this game wasn’t created for the diehard fans, who exactly was it created for?
It’s safe to say that releasing KISS Slots as a colossal reel game rather than a normal game might have been a bad choice. There would have been more than enough to work with if they used 13 unique symbols on 5 reels. Hopefully there is a new KISS game on the way soon that is based on the standard five reel format, with awesome bonus rounds that are relevant to the band’s illustrious history. Oh, and make sure not to forget two of the band’s founding members this time.
Until then, I guess this game will have to do for the fans who have Nothin’ to Lose, but most of you will be grabbing for the Cold Gin after two minutes alone with this Parasite. The God of Thunder has hit Rock Bottom in this game, and not even Dr. Love could save it.
Too bad – I had Great Expectations.
Bonus Video of KISS
Well now that I’ve called out Paul and Gene for putting the KISS name onto a terrible slot game, I think it’s time that we take a moment to remember why this band is so important to us: the music and the live show. Here’s the full concert from Largo, Maryland in 1977 that was promoting the Alive II album.
This setlist is absolutely killer and 10 seconds in I had completely forgotten about how angry I was with them. Ace was on fire this night and Peter’s drumming was totally on point. They truly were the hottest band in the world in those days…ROCK & ROLL!!