What's not to like about animals? Certainly, in the slot industry, they are one of the most popular themes for companies to base their slots on and Pragmatic Play are no different after using an African safari as the theme for their Hot Safari slot.
As on a real safari, it is the animals that are the stars of he show and there are plenty of them on the reels, all of which you would possibly see if you did indeed go on an African Safari holiday. However there is something slightly odd looking about the slot when you load it up and that is because it has a sixth reel on the right hand side.
This extra reel is the Win Multiplier reel and it spins with the reels each time you play a game and it awards a range of multipliers from 1x to 10x, which will come into effect if your spin is a winner.
Other than that, this slot plays very much as a standard 5x3 reel slot with 25 pay lines in play, so let's take a closer look at some of its key features before we take a look at the slot in a bit more detail.
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Hot Safari is one of those slots which when you load it up, you can tell immediately what the slot is all about. The five reels are standard and the sixth reel, you can tell is a multiplier reel immediately. Your gut instinct tells you this will spin and award a multiplier on each spin and that is precisely what it does.
The backdrop for the slot is a very sweltering looking African Savannah that is baked in hot orange sunlight and which certainly emphasizes the warm nature of the slot. The musical accompaniment is a somewhat generic African sounding tune that isn't the most obtrusive slot, with the sound effects as you play dominating what you hear.
The main controls are all at the foot of the screen and the Win Multiplier you land on the sixth reel is highlighted by a gold frame around the middle of the reel (five multipliers are visible on the sixth reel and it is the middle one that counts for your spin).
What's on the reels?
On the five standard reels, there are a mixture of different symbols. The first of these is the usual playing car symbols from 10 through to the Ace and these offer a range of wins from 3 coins up to 75 coins depending on the symbol landed and the number of symbols landed on a winning line.
There are five higher value standard symbols and these are all the Safari creatures and they increase in size as they increase in value. The lowest value is the meerkat and there is a gazelle, zebra, rhino and lastly the elephant. These symbols offer wins from 10 coins up to the single line jackpot of 400 coins.
Alongside these symbols there are a couple of others on the reels that are linked directly with the games main bonus features which we will explore in more detail below.
The Lion symbol is the main Wild symbol on the slot and it offers the same value win as the top paying standard symbol (the elephant) of 400 coins if you land five across a pay line. However, the symbol can also be used to substitute for any of the standard symbols outlined above in order to create more winning opportunities.
Additionally, when a Lion symbol appears in the middle of one of the reels, it will expand to fill the entire reel. This feature is active in all different modes of the game and if you can somehow trigger all five Lion Wilds across the middle of the reels, you could win a 10,000-coin top prize, which could be increased up to 10x that amount if you land the 10x multiplier on the sixth reel.
Free Spins features
The Monkey Scatter is the key to the Free Spins Bonus Round and when you land three of these symbols anywhere across the reels, you will immediately win 1x your total bet and trigger a total of ten Free Spins.
During Free Spins, all the same bonuses available in the base game are in play and you can also trigger an unlimited number of additional Free Spins by landing the three Monkey Scatter symbols across the reels during a spin. During Free Spins, like you can in the base game, you can also access the other big feature of this game, the Super Wild Bonus.
Other bonus features
The Super Wild Bonus is triggered by the Multiplier Reel and it occurs when you land the Super Wild icon in the highlighted middle spot of the sixth reel you trigger the bonus.
When this occurs, the reels will darken and you receive one re-spin. Only on this re-spin there is just one Wild on each of the reels and it will land in one of the three positions on each reel. Hopefully triggering a big pay out.
Any Wild landing in the middle of the reel in this round will expand to cover the reel and the more of these you can land, then the greater the value of your likely win. Cover all five reels in this way and you could win up to 100,000 coins.
Best feature of the Hot Safari slot
The Multiplier Reel is a great addition to the Hot Safari slot and does make every spin more exciting knowing that if you win, you could land a decent sized multiplier to increase the size of the win by up to 10x the stated amount. This really does add a great deal to the slot and does add extra excitement on every spin.
However, the Free Spins and Super Wild Bonus features are also very nicely done and can lead to some sizeable wins too and all these features combine well in what is a very playable and enjoyable slot in the main.
What does the Hot Safari slot lack?
For me the biggest drawback on the Hot Safari slot is the size of the majority of wins is too small, even with the multiplier in play. As a 25-payline slot, you are going to be betting a minimum of 25 coins on each spin. However, the vast majority of wins are considerably smaller than this. Indeed, it is not uncommon to land a win with a 4x multiplier and still win just half of what you have staked.
Although this is the only drawback on the slot, I do feel it is a significant one. This is a slot which you play and think you are doing well on, only to check your balance and see that it has dwindled away when you thought you were winning. Unfortunately, the majority of wins on the slot are too small and this does push its variance up quite considerably and that may well mean some players are not so keen to play it.
Hot Safari is a really well put together slot that almost does everything right. The bonus features are great, the Multiplier Reel is a real bonus in the game and the Super Wild Bonus can offer you a chance at some great pay outs. However, the game is dogged by the key issue that the majority of your wins are not rewarding enough.
Too often you will see a win land and a multiplier of say 5x come through and think, ‘hey, I've done well here' and when you check the value of your win, it is still less than half of what you are paying to spin the reels. Given the frequency that this happens, it is hard not to feel a little cheated at times when playing the slot and that is a great shame as otherwise, this is a hugely playable and enjoyable game.
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