Animal Carnival

(Fantasma Games) Slot Review

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Animal Carnival: Slot Overview

Roll up, roll up, for Animal Carnival, a circus-themed online slot from Swedish casino game provider Fantasma Games. There's a saying in show biz, 'Never work with children or animals', so a carnival populated and run by animals has the possibility of being a pretty wild event. Let's see if this is the case in Animal Carnival, a slot loaded with features, such as a Win Meters, Wild Meters, Sparkle Wilds, Cannon Respins, free spins, and a feature buy.

Instead of being a rager on the streets of Rio, Animal Carnival is held out in the middle of nowhere, in a quiet rural spot. That might be a good move, but it's not the most off-the-hook looking carnival, consisting mostly of a wagon with 'Circus' printed across the top. Perhaps, this is where you buy tickets, and the main event is located off-screen somewhere? A lively level of big top action takes place on the 5-reel, 10 payline game grid, which fires off quite a few sparkly light effects. What also stood out was the red curtain covering the symbols above the main active area. Special symbols and wilds shine through the curtain, which can drop onto the active area through the Avalanche feature. The music is about as bouncily big top as it gets, too.

Animal Carnival slot
Animal Carnival slot - base game

Animal Carnival isn't one of Fantasma Games' heavy-duty machines; its math model is rated as medium volatile while producing a return to player value of 95.64%. It can be played on any device and takes bets from 20 p/c all the way up to £/€200 per spin. One point of intrigue is that Animal Carnival pays both ways – left to right as well as right to left, starting from the outermost reels. Hits occur at a frequency of 18.22% on this set-up, and wins consist of three to five matching symbols.

Checking out the paytable, the low pays are 10-A card ranks, done in the type of font that Fantasma Games appears to favour, paying 1.5x the bet for six of a kind. These are followed by bears, monkeys, warthogs, crocodiles, and cats, captured in a range of humorous poses. Hitting a five of a kind premium win pays 2.5 to 3.5 times the stake. The last symbol, for now, is the wild, landing on all reels to substitute any normal pay symbol. Wilds are worth up to 5x the bet should a winning line of five of them hit.

Animal Carnival: Slot Features

Animal Carnival slot
Animal Carnival slot - wild feature in action

If you've played Fantasma Games' Hades River of Souls, then much of what is covered here will feel familiar. Let's start with Avalanches which trigger when a winning line occurs. The symbols in the win are removed from the board, allowing symbols to drop down from above and fill the gaps. If a new win occurs from the drop, another Avalanche is triggered.

Win Meter and Wild Meter

During Avalanche sequences, winning totals are collected in the Win Meter whilst wild symbols are collected on the Wild Meter. The Wild Meter starts at x1, and for every 3 wilds collected, the Meter increases by +1. At the end of a spin in the base game, the total prize amount in the Win Meter is multiplied by the Win Meter before being paid out. Both meters reset in the base game between spins.

Sparkle Wilds

These are special wilds that, when they land on the reels, activate the Sparkle Wild feature. Each Sparkle Wild then turns itself and 1-4 random positions into wild symbols.

Cannon Respin Feature

Landing at least one Cannon symbol on the reels triggers the Cannon Respins feature. When there is no more win, each Cannon symbol removes itself and 3-6 random normal symbols from the grid, triggering an Avalanche. If there are not enough symbols to remove, all eligible symbols will be removed by the feature.

Free Spins

When 3 bonus symbols appear on the reels, 10 free spins are awarded. During free spins, wins are collected in the Win Meter and wilds in the Wild Meter – neither reset. When the feature ends, the amount in the Win Meter is multiplied by the Wild Meter value, and the total is awarded. Each time a bonus symbol lands in the feature, an extra free spin is added to the remaining amount. Lastly, if the opportunity is there, players can buy free spins for 70x the bet. The RTP when buying the bonus round is 95.94%.

Animal Carnival slot
Animal Carnival slot - free spins

Animal Carnival: Slot Verdict

It's a long way from crossing the river Styx in the Underworld to hanging with a bunch of anthropomorphic animal carnies out in the woods. While many of the features are ported over from Hades River of Souls, the extensive theme change has done a decent job of freshening the experience up. Or should that be sanitising the experience? Because replacing skulls, three-headed dogs, and pointy spears with bears in sailor suits has blunted Hades River of Souls' edge, producing a game which will likely appeal to a different audience altogether.

The same goes for the machine running the show from behind the curtain. Animal Carnival is a less volatile game, but it's no less busy if you like a flurry of activity. The blend of Avalanches, pay both ways, and the dropping in of various special symbols creates a level of busyness. Then you've got the progressive Win Meter running alongside, as well as smatterings of effects and the big top soundtrack. There was a bit of a smoke and mirrors feel to the proceedings, though, because symbol values are low for a 10-payline game. Sure, it pays both ways, but still, a substantial progression of the Win and Wild Meters is likely to be required to make major progress. On a different note, Animal Carnival's free spins round had a similar feel to it as Cloud Corsairs, though that one has extra depth if you'd prefer something with more layers.

For whatever deep-seated psychological reason, cute slots are hot, and developers are more than willing to regularly toss new releases on the pile. If you're the sort of player who likes to spin reels alongside a bunch of adorable critters, then Animal Carnival is one to pop on the to-do list. It lacks the heavy atmospheric bite that some of Fantasma's other games possess, but the busy gameplay neatly matches the big top vibe.

Mediocre

Animal Carnival is a fairly amusing animal and feature jubilee but one which lacks the same bite as its predecessor.

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