Circuses are one of those things that you either really enjoy or leave you a little cold. I have to admit that I am more in the latter category than the former so to be honest I wasn't expecting a huge amount when I had the chance to review the 5 Reel Circus slot from Rival Gaming.
The title of the slot is a pun on the 5 Ring Circus and when you look at the slot and how it is put together, it is easy to see that it takes its cue from the times when a traveling circus was one of the most exciting things that could happen to a town.
Indeed it is this fascination with curios, such as the bearded lady, as well as making animals perform a variety of tricks alongside the usual feats of acrobatics by performers that are the focus of the slot. There's 15 selectable lines in play and you can wager from as little as 0.01 up to 75.00 per spin, which means it is a slot with plenty of scope for players of all bankroll sizes to play.
So does this circus make you want to keep coming back for more or are the clowns and co enough to scare you away for good? Let's take a closer look at the slot and find out.
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It would be most appropriate to describe the presentation of the 5 Reel Circus slot as simplistic. In terms of graphics there are certainly better looking slots you can find and the whole thing does look a tad dated. The graphics haven't aged well to be honest and in truth, if Rival Gaming were going to update a few of their slot games to bring them into the 21st century in terms of looks, then this would be a good slot to start with.
Similarly, the sound effects are not exactly high end with simply a strange rattling sound accompanying you as you spin the reels. It's all rather basic and retro and you do feel that you are playing a slot from the very earliest time of the Internet.
What is a nice touch is the sound effect that plays when you win which is the famous drum roll and crash combined with the clowns car horn and that does enhance the game a little, but there is no escaping the fact that this is very much a retro game, though it doesn't look like it was designed to be a retro slot.
What's on the reels?
One positive however is that the 5 Reel Circus slot does away with the somewhat ubiquitous playing card low symbols and instead you do get a cornucopia of different circus themed symbols on the reels and Rival do get a big thumbs up for that.
The lower value symbols are the performing animals, which are the seal, the elephant, the bear and the lion and these offer pays from 5 coins up to 175 coins depending on whether you land three, four or five of the symbols on one of the 15 lines.
There are a number of mid-range value symbols too including a contortionist, the clowns car, a bearded lady and the clown, each of which offer wins from 10 coins up to 250 coins.
The higher value symbols are the Ring Master and the human cannonball which pay from 25 coins up to 750 coins for wins of 3 or more symbols, but you can land a small value win of 8 coins for just two of the human cannonball symbols on the first two spaces of a line.
There are two additional symbols on the reels, the Wild and the Scatter and these both relate to the main bonus features of the slot as we shall explore below.
The ferocious looking tiger is the in game Wild symbol and this can appear on any of the reels. It serves two purposes, firstly it can replace any of the standard symbols (just not the scatter) on a line to help create winning lines. However, if you can land between two and five Tiger symbols on a line from left to right, you can also land a cash bonus from 10 coins up to the game jackpot of 7,500 coins for landing five of the Tiger Wilds on a single line.
Unfortunately, the Wild Tiger doesn't offer any multiplier bonuses on top of its ability to substitute for other symbols or offer pay out when landed with other wilds from left to right.
Free Spins features
The Big Top itself is the main aspect of the Scatter with two clowns outside it welcoming customers to the circus. The scatter also serves two purposes. Land two or more anywhere across the reels and you will receive a pay out of between 1x your total bet up to 100 times your total bet for five scatters.
In addition, if you land three or more scatters anywhere on the reels then you will also trigger 10 free spins. During this bonus feature all prizes that you win are subject to a 3x multiplier and you can also re-trigger the bonus from within the feature by landing three or more scatters once again, although this only happens relatively rarely.
Other bonus features
Other than the bonus features listed above, there are no other additional bonus features on the 5 Reel Circus slot.
Best feature of the 5 Reel Circus slot
Without doubt the best feature of the 5 Reel Circus slot is the Free Spins bonus game. Here not only do you get 10 Free Spins but that 3x multiplier is absolutely fundamental to landing some of the bigger wins in the game. You can also pick up some handy 2 and 3 scatter wins in the base game which give you your money back on what is otherwise a rather tight playing slot.
What does the 5 Reel Circus slot lack?
It would be fair to describe this slot as somewhat basic. It is a basic looking game with somewhat simple game play and the two bonus features of the slot are pretty standard when it comes to online slot games. For me though, I feel the game play also lacks a little as this is a game which can play very tough indeed. Wins tend to be small and often you have to wait several spins in between each one which can eat into a bankroll quickly. To land the better value wins, you are pretty much dependent on the Free Spins bonus and even then, the wins from here can be very variable.
The 5 Reel Circus slot is one of those games that if you are medium to lower variance fan or prefer more modern slots with plenty of additional features, then you are not going to get too much from the game, despite its low bet size to start spins. However higher variance fans will likely enjoy the game as it does tend to reward you less frequently but with better value wins. Get the Free Spins game in a particularly benevolent moment in time and you can land some sizeable wins that are several times your initial bet. However, those wins don't come around often so to enjoy this slot you do need deep pockets and a fair bit of patience. However, it is a slot that does have great appeal to punters as it is one of the more popular Rival Gaming slots.
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