Africa X UP: Slot Overview
Microgaming partner Alchemy Gaming transports players to the warm African continent, once again, for an exotically themed slot titled Africa X UP. If you’re a relatively young studio, taking on a generic topic runs the risk of being overlooked unless you can do something special with it. To that end, Africa X UP uses a scatter collection system to build win multipliers which then get unleashed when free spins are triggered. Taking a page out of White Rabbit‘s playbook, players can buy free spins at a reduced cost if they have already collected a few scatters.
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking Alchemy Gaming has gone down the 9 Masks of Fire imitation route, with the collection meter and all the cultural touches. But, at closer inspection, the meter actually awards multipliers rather than cash prizes. Alchemy has also delved into the African imagery in more depth, so players get a rich view of a dusty plain, all tussock grass, acacia trees, and distant mountains. A Lion King-like soundtrack completes the scene as players spin a 5-reel, 3-row game grid using 243 ways to win.
Highly volatile and playable on any device, Africa X UP offers a range of stakes starting at 30 p/c on the lower end, going up to £/€37.50 per spin. Wins hit when at least three matching symbols land left to right from reel number one. There are 10 pay symbols to work with – five are 10-A card icons; the rest are buffalo, rhinos, elephants, a warrioress and a warrior. Landing a winning combination of five symbols in length is worth a payout of 3.33 to 4.67 times the stake. Moreover, wild symbols appear anywhere and expand to cover all positions on their reel whenever the land. They substitute any pay symbols to complete wins and are worth payouts up to 50 times the bet for five of a kind.
Africa X UP: Slot Features
The goal of Africa X UP is to collect X UP scatter symbols to increase a win multiplier which is available when free spins are triggered. X UP symbols land on any reel, and when 2 are in view, they are collected on a multiplier trail located to the left of the reels. The more you collect, the bigger the multiplier becomes, starting at x2, going through x3, x4, x5, x7, x10, x15, and finally x25. Multipliers are stored at each bet level, so changing the stake starts the trail again. If you move back to previous stake levels, you continue from where the trail left off.
If three X UP symbols land, then 8 free spins are awarded, and whatever multiplier is active on the trail is applied to all wins during the round. In free spins, landing 2 scatters awards +2 additional free spins and helps increase the free spins multiplier.
Africa X UP is a game that may reward patience, yet players not in the mood for some base game collecting can buy the bonus game instead. There are several options here though all award 8 free spins. What changes is you can start them with an x1, x2, x3, x4, x5, x7, x10, x15, or x25 multiplier for 18.67, 26.67, 38.67, 50.33, 61.67, 86.33, 120, 181, 300 times the base stake. Or, you can pay 80 times the stake for a random starting multiplier of x2 to x25. If you’ve already collected a few X UP symbols, then the cost of buying the feature decreases.
Africa X UP: Slot Verdict
Up until now, we’ve been used to seeing mainly jackpot style slots like Goldaur Guardians or Wheel of Wishes from Alchemy Gaming. For a young studio forging an identity, the encouraging thing about Africa X UP is that while the team has selected a common theme, the game is relatively imaginative. There’s an interesting Wakanda thing going on, coupled with a quasi-spiritual representation of Africa’s big animals. It might have been cool if the studio had explored the mystical side even further, but as it is, Africa X UP has several individual touches to help it stand out from the crowded African slot genre.
The gameplay is as erratic as a high potential, highly volatile slot can be. Africa X UP dangles a pretty big carrot in the form of an x25 win multiplier but getting there isn’t a straight-line process. Instead, prepare to dip ‘n dive, being rewarded or punished along the way. If patience is required to get to the best bits, you want to know there will be a payoff for waiting around. Fortunately, there is, and Africa X UP has winning potential of up to 30,000 times the stake. No doubt it will help if you’ve got the biggest multiplier on board, though lesser multipliers can be pretty effective as well. It’s not a matter of just hitting the spin button and sitting back until you’ve got the x25 locked in, though. There is a good chance you’ll trigger free spins long before that happens, and you’ll have to make do with something less potent.
To give you an idea, it took around 500 spins to trigger the first bonus game, and by then, an x5 multiplier had been achieved. That put into perspective the chance of triggering free spins with the x25 multiplier, and the realisation made buying the bonus instead real tempting. Especially so when a few X UP symbols have already been collected to drop the price.
To sum up, Africa X UP is a nicely designed game from Alchemy Gaming with several interesting elements. It’s arguably their best looking slot to date, showcases some individual handling of a commonplace theme, provides challenging gaming, and has a big ol’ cherry of a max win on top.
Africa X UP takes points from previous releases and hangs them in the balance.