After the massive launch of the NetEnt official Gun’s and Roses slot you may think the designers would take a well-earned break and not be pushing to break any boundaries with their next game. When I first saw the title on this game I assumed that to be the case – but momma always said assume at your peril and after all what did the Cluster Pays part mean? Virtual passport in hand then and off to this online Hawaiian vacation spot to find out!
When you open the game the Hawaiian ‘Aloha’ theme (meaning affection, peace and compassion) seems clear, the usual fantastically rendered NetEnt graphics and a bright vibrant colour scheme are in keeping with the lively tropical nature and earthy image of the 50th US state and there are some great characters too – all solid well produced stuff but no great shock to regular NetEnt players, their games have developed video game like fan-sites with reason!
It was at this point the jaunty game music woke me up a little from my nap under the swaying palms – this is no stock 5-reel video slot released as filler, far from it - This unique 6-reel, 5-row video slot is packed with features including a new original Cluster Pays™ mechanic, Sticky Win Re-spins, Substitution symbols, and Free Spins with a low paying Symbol Drop feature – there are a lot of big wins and slot game fun to be had here!
While the big draw on the game may be its incredible features list the look and feel of a game by this producer is nearly always something to write home about, we almost take it for granted that every slot they release will look awesome. This is just as true here, players familiar with Gonzo’s quest will enjoy the guitar playing Tiki who interacts with various features, even the background Volcano gets in on the action, erupting with wins and also when bonus or spins rounds engage.
The games symbols are traditionally tropical Hawaiian with coconuts, seashells, pineapples and wild flowers replacing the standard playing card lower value symbols normally found on the reels of classic video slot games. A variety of coloured Tiki masks form the high pay symbols (the size of two normal reel symbols to increase your chances of connecting) and a clever little postage stamp of the games background is the free spin icon, the games single wild is a little unusual being a question mark on a carved wood background.
It is here that Aloha Cluster Pays really comes into its own as a new online slot game with a completely original gameplay design, the 6 reel and 5 row format with no bet lines is unusual and creates masses of potential wins in its own right. The games wild symbol makes up for the lack of a scatter, it can appear anywhere on the reels and transforms into whichever adjacent symbol offers the highest win in a cluster.
Clusters are key! A group of 9 or more symbols will count as a cluster and will randomly activate the Sticky Wins Respin feature. The original cluster holds in place whilst all of the other visible symbols respin, unlike the respin reels feature on for example Microgaming titles, this is a no extra cost bonus and does not mean you are gambling the existing win. For the duration of a Sticky Win Respin as the cluster size increases the new symbols become sticky also and the remaining symbols continue to spin - until there is a spin which doesn’t grow the cluster or the cluster fills the whole screen triggering the max win for that symbol.
A NetEnt title wouldn’t feel complete without a free spins bonus and they don’t disappoint us here, 3-6 free spin symbols on the screen will earn you 9-12 spins which are retriggerable. If that wasn’t enough the free spins feature expands further with a Symbol drop feature where the lowest paying symbols can fall from the reels thereby leaving more chances to connect the high paying Tiki symbols for a big win!
With all the movie themed slot fuss lately NetEnt clearly wanted to make sure their more traditional slot players were not left out and with this colourful, well produced and feature bonus packed title they have created what may be one of the best online slot releases of recent times .