Zynga Debuts First Licensed Game, Partners With Slingo For Bingo-Meets-Slots Facebook Title

After announcing a licensing deal with Hasbro last week, Zynga is debuting another licensing agreement. The social gaming giant is teaming up with game developer Slingo to license casual game Slingo; and launch a social Facebook title Zynga Slingo today. This is the first time Zynga has licensed a game title to date, as the company has been churning out original titles over the past few years.

Created in 1995, Slingo is played by over 55 million people across free online games, retail, mobile, casino slots and other platforms. Additionally, over 50 million Slingo games have been downloaded and almost five billion games of Slingo have been played online. In case you aren’t familiar with Slingo, players spin and match numbers to fill the card to win the game. The goal, similar to Bingo, is to create Slingos which include five matched numbers in a row, column, or even diagonal.

Available on Facebook, Zynga Slingo is best described as a slots-meets bingo game. When opening Zynga Slingo, you’ll be able to pick the ‘world’ for your game, and then complete a number of stages within each world. Currently, Slingo has 5 worlds with 9 stages each. Once you pick your world, you’ll be presented with what looks like a Bingo card. You simply press the spin button and match the numbers that appear with each spin with the numbers on the card. As mentioned above, the goal is to complete matched numbers in a row, and earn points for each row.

One of the distinctive aspects of the game, says Rich Sawel, Product Manager for Zynga Slingo; is the high production value, animations and sound effects. And as Sawel explains, the game is meant as a recess for adults.

Like most Zynga games, Slingo features a cast of characters to make the game more interactive. This cast was actually taken from the original Slingo game. The Friend Joker will spin up the face of one of your friends on Facebook, and let them make a free match for you. If you spin and land on the Slingo Devil, you’ll lose your points, but if you get the Slingo Cherub, your score will skyrocket.

As you successfully complete the game, you’ll collect medals to complete levels and unlock additional experiences. In terms of social, you see a leaderboard of the scores of your friends in real-time. You can also send your friends power-ups to help them in the game. For example, Slingo Vision will help you find matches and Instant Slingo will explode for more points.

Players will also soon be able to challenge friends and compete to see who can get the highest score in three rounds.

“Slingo has been a leader in the casual game space for over 15 years, and our partnership with Zynga will bring the Slingo brand to a whole new audience in a fresh, new way,” said Rich Roberts, CEO of Slingo, Inc. “We are excited to partner with the world’s leading social game developer to deliver the social experience Slingo fans across the world have asked for.”

The game is available in 14 languages, including: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Japanese and English.

The obvious comparison that I made when hearing about Zynga Slingo is to the social gaming giant’s recent game Zynga Bingo. But Zynga says that the two are quite different and it’s like comparing chess to checkers. Sawel tells me that while both games combine the elements of luck, Zynga Slingo combines the serendipity of slots with bingo, while Zynga Bingo is the more traditional take on the local bingo hall. He says the two games are complimentary.

As for licensing games in the future, Sawel says Zynga will do this when it makes sense. “We are trying to bring quality production and fresh new experiences to the gaming market” he adds. Perhaps licensing could be a good alternative for Zynga, who has been accused of ripping off games. NimbleBit (makers of iOS Game of the Year, Tiny Tower) accused Zynga of copying them with its new game, Dream Heights. And Buffalo Studios says that the gaming giant copied its flagship title Bingo Blitz with its launch of Zynga Bingo.

Zynga also just reported better than expected earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011, the gaming giant’s first quarter as a public company.