The controls may seem complicated when written, but they'll quickly become second nature when you're actually playing. Your overall goal is to complete all the combo cards with the most possible tokens left over. The cards list combinations, like "Lunar Outpost (one moon and three houses)", "Long Hedge (four plants in a row)" and "Strict Vegan (no cheese)". The cards that you can complete with your current spin will be at the top and highlighted yellow. You can click on a highlighted card to fill it and cause the slots to spin again-- but not so fast.
Here's where the strategy comes in. You only have so many tokens (15 at the beginning), and each spin costs one token. You can lock reeelz that you don't want to spin by clicking on them, making them yellow (this doesn't cost anything). You can also spend one token to "step" a slot up or down one position by clicking on the up or down arrows. In my introduction example, I needed a cheese, but when I clicked to spin, I got a plant instead. The cheese is above the plant, so I clicked on the up arrow to move up to the cheese and complete my card. For completing an ordinary card, you get one token back. If the card is a little bit harder, it will have a star on it and earn you two tokens. The hardest cards have two stars and earn three tokens.
Token management is critical. If you run out of tokens, you lose the game, but you also have a limit to how many tokens you can have at once. You start out with 15 tokens and a limit of 20. If you have 20 tokens or more and complete another card, the tokens are wasted. Every ten cards, your limit increases and you receive a token bonus.
Once you clear every card, you've won, and you'll be told what your rank was. In the later games, you'll need to finish well over the token limit to get the highest rank.
Analysis: Game in a Bottle is probably best known for their tower defense series Gemcraft, so Reeelz may seem like something of a departure for them. The two may have more in common than you'd think. Both games are about looking forward and planning for the end game at the beginning. Both games require prioritizing. However, whereas Gemcraft is a time sink of the first caliber, the toughest level of Reeelz will take only 40 minutes or so to clear its 150 cards. In fact, in my opinion the game is most fun in its 60 and 90 card incarnations, because it becomes more of a coffee break challenge.
The game is a lot less luck-based than first appearance would indicate. Sure, the spinning is pure luck, but it's really a matter of judging based on the initial random spin which of the starred combos you can obtain quickly by locking, stepping and spinning. So you get all the casino excitement of chance without the frustration of losing due to factors outside your control. You can always win. So give it a spin. C'mon, c'mon, sandwich!