Boom Pirates (Foxium): Overview
Foxium, for those of you who don't know, is one of many independent studios recruited by Microgaming as part of an ongoing project in which Microgaming supplies the platform and know-how while its partnering studios focuses on creating exclusive content. While nearly all of these startups master the art of visual design, a less flattering common trait has been their inability to understand what makes a good slot. With that said, some of them are slowly but steadily starting to mature and grow into their shoes as proper slot makers. As a matter of fact, with the release of Boom Pirates, Foxium has taken a giant leap forward.
For whatever reason, and we can only speculate, Boom Pirates has been delayed by nearly a year. Just by the look of it, you can tell it's quite an ambitious undertaking for such a small studio, but seeing that it comes with a new mechanic called Wonderways™, there could possibly have been some legal issue to sort out, as we've seen in other cases. Utilizing a default setup of 5-reels, 4-rows and 1024 ways to win, it piggybacks on the Megaways hype by offering up to a staggering 10,077,696 ways to win in fully extended mode. There are also plenty of unique features to benefit from such as the Boom Pirate feature that randomly activates extra rows and reels, as well as the Mary's Swashbuckling Attack that can randomly turn a non-winning spin into a five of a kind win. So, if you're up for some swashbuckling action, you can join the pirate crew from as little as 0.10 up to €30 per spin across all devices.
The pirate topic never ceases to fascinate us. It's a well-liked theme that reflects our passion for adventure, mystery and travel - in Boom Pirates, we get a little bit of everything. Set on a tropical island surrounded by enchanting shades of blue, Foxium has created an utterly pleasant atmosphere here. Of course, there's also the customary pirate track playing in the background to really get you into plundering mode. On the wooden reels, symbols include 10 to A royal values as well as 5 more valuable picture symbols represented by gunpowder barrels, canons, colourful parrots, a tattooed pirate named Ben and, finally, Captain Mary. The latter is the most rewarding, giving you 25 times your stake for a nine of a kind combination. And nope, no wild symbols available here.
Boom Pirates (Foxium): Features
The first decision you'll have to make before embarking whether you want to play with the Foxify™ feature activated or not. If you do, it will increase the odds of triggering the free spins but will also increase your current bet size by 50%. If you want to skip waiting for the bonus to drop altogether, you can opt for the Buy Feature by clicking the gift button. This will cost you 100 times your stake.
Before we attack the free spins, there are a couple of base game modifiers to wade through. First, there is the Boom Pirates feature which can come into play randomly on any spin. When activated, you'll hear a pirate call out "boooooom pirates" as the strategically parked pirate ship starts firing cannon balls onto the reels. As a result, this can extend the reel set up to 10,077,696 pay ways for that spin. Also randomly triggered, you may see Mary swing in on a rope following a non-winning spin to award a five of a kind win. This is known as Mary's Swashbuckling Attack.
While it's possible to unlock the maximum pay ways in the base game, the Free Spins feature comes with a few added benefits. It comes into play when you land the 3 scatter symbols that together spell YO-HO-HO on reels 1, 3, and 5 simultaneously - this will give you 10 free spins (alternatively you can also buy the feature). During the round, additional tiles (paylines) can be randomly activated on the full 6x9 grid if hit by the bombardment of the pirate ship (it's more active during the free spins). Once these tiles (paylines) are activated, they remain active until the end of the round.
Boom Pirates (Foxium): Verdict
So, was Boom Pirates worth the long wait? Indeed it was. It's undoubtedly fun to play, it looks fantastic, and there's an adequate amount of thrill and tension to keep you on your toes. Few games come without any downsides, however, and Boom Pirates has a few of these as well, although not everyone will be bothered by them.
For such an "open" game with millions of possible paylines, it's surprisingly limiting on the player. The first demo we tried had a max win of 5000x which, even at that number, could be considered low for a game that aims to stand alongside the likes of Megaways. Offering up to 10 million ways to win but capping the game at 3,800x doesn't make much sense. There are other limitations as well, such as the removal of wilds and the fact that you're required to land scatters on fixed reels as if it was some 9 payline slot.
Overall, Boom Pirates is an excellent game, and if you're not provoked by its limitations, there's a good chance that you'll enjoy it a whole lot. The scenery is phenomenal, there's some comical elements to make you chuckle at times, and it can even offer you satisfyingly long sessions at times. In spite of its flaws, it's a confident yes from us.
Foxium is currently in the process of developing a high variance follow up to be titled Boom Pirates 2.
Boom Pirates delightful scenery, engaging gameplay and sense of humour make it a worthwhile adventure, though a few minor drawbacks interfere with its feel-good attitude.