The urban dictionary defines bling as 'flashy or gaudy jewellery, named for the sound generated when worn.' It's all the shiny stuff meant to scream 'I'm successful', but when overdone can be a warning marker for a talent-free zone. At least, that is a charge levelled by some people. Whatever your thoughts may be, jewellery is the central plank in Blinged from Play'n GO, the third in a series which started with Pimped, and was followed by the equally cash-centric slot That's Rich.
If you haven't played either game before, they might be easy to prejudge from their names. But the series has been a rather popular one. Well, Pimped was at least. That's Rich failed to fire in quite the same way. Play’n GO looks to be pulling it back with Blinged which seeks to cash in on what Pimped had to offer. For one, the themes are similar and are full of hip hop references. Secondly, the two share very similar gameplay and features. However, several changes mean the two are quite different in several key areas. Let's find out what they are.
First up is the game's look which returns to Pimped's roots. However, the G-dogs have been replaced by a fly group of G-dogettes. Played using 5 reels and 10 fixed paylines - the keyword here being fixed as there are none of the one-line heroics possible in Pimped - the action takes place downtown, on an empty street in front of what looks like New York's Chrysler Building. You can imagine the crew, tanked up on champers, cruising down Fifth Avenue, hanging out of the limo's sunroof, while passers-by gawk at the spectacle.
The first step to getting blinged is setting a bet from 10 p/c to £/€100, on any device – a pink diamond Falcon Supernova iPhone preferably. Check it out, a $48 million phone you can scroll your Insta feed on. The rest of the figures have nosedived since the last two slots. The default RTP now sits on 96.25%, a slight drop, while volatility has been downgraded a couple of notches, now on 6/10, or, medium. In a surprise move, potential has been halved, but we'll touch on it later.
You probably have a good idea of where we are heading to with the symbols. Starting on the low pays which are diamond-encrusted 10-A royals, framed in gold. Next are the high pays, serving up banknotes, gold shoes, gold rings, and three young ladies, followed by another young lady in a hat. A line of five premiums ranges from 25 to 75 times the stake. The Rihanna lookalike is the wild and is worth even more at 100x for five on a line. The wild is also able to substitute for any other symbol in the game except the scatter.
If you've played Pimped, and many have as it's something of a classic, then you'll have most of the features down pat. Not a whole lot has changed in essence, though there have been alterations at the periphery.
Reels 1, 3, and 5 are where the scatter symbols appear. Scatters are the outsized diamonds any lady would have to say yes to if proposed with. Landing 3 diamond scatters at once triggers 5 Win Spins. Win Spins will either result in a win or they will trigger respins which continue to retrigger until a win shows up.
In the meantime, each respin increases a win multiplier by +1. When a win occurs from a respin, the accrued multiplier carries over into the next Win Spin. The feature may be extended too. Whenever a scatters lands on a Win Spin, it adds one extra Win Spin to the remaining amount, up to 20 at the most.
In a new twist, if players get the dreaded two scatter tease, they actually pick up 1 Win Spin rather than nothing. The same rules apply to these one-off Win Spins as to the full five described above.
The last change – there is no gamble feature. You win something; you keep it, there is no fussing about going large. No big deal for some players, but those who like to push the envelope might feel short-changed by the exclusion.
A quick look at the old school looking screenshots and a cursory read over the paytable might make you think Blinged is just Pimped all over again, albeit with female stars. While at its core Blinged shares much with its older sibling, enough changes have been made to suggest otherwise.
The surface details are telling, respins with win multipliers are a neat alteration and one which can lead to good things. Another change is, of course, the removal of the variable paylines. The insane volatility when one payline is engaged has evaporated like a stack of dollar bills at a strip club. The upside is that two scatters dole out a consolation Win Spin, and who doesn't like a Win Spin? It’s money right in your pocket, a sure thang, yo.
The absence of a gamble feature helps prevent Blinged from being the high powered gambling machine Pimped was. What also contributes to this shift is the winding down of the math model and potential. It's an unusual move given the tendency for developers to go in the opposite direction on a sequel. While the previous two slots could hit 10,000x, Blinged makes do with just half the amount, so 5,000 times the stake max.
At the end of the day, the changes mean Blinged plays to a different crowd, possibly a female audience. Put it this way; if the two slots were rappers, one would have grown up in Compton and released tracks from a Cell Block 8, while the other one cut their teeth on an X-Factor stage lip-syncing Vanilla Ice's solitary hit.
Dropping a feature here, modding a mechanic there, while toning down the math model, make Blinged ultimately a much different gaming machine than Pimped.