Booty Bay: Slot Overview
Developer Push Gaming has a healthy relationship with the sea, one of their earlier breakout hits was Razor Shark, a famously volatile slot partly responsible for putting the studio on the map. Whereas Razor Shark took players beneath the sea, today we're floating on top of it, in the piratical themed slot Booty Bay. Let's be clear we're talking about Booty as in treasure, not the anatomical area online fitness influencers are constantly sculpting. Pirating is a common topic in slots, to be sure, but in typical Push fashion, the team has put together a clever game that breaks with tradition.
Booty Bay is a grid slot using a cluster pays mechanic, played over a 5-reel, 5-row game area. You'll see a 3x3 highlighted zone in the middle of the grid; this is called the Hotzone and works with wild symbols to conjure up features like multipliers or respins – covered in detail below. About the theme, Push Gaming has gone for a chipper representation of pirate life. Visually, there's a Relax Gaming, almost Peter & Sons thing going on, while the music is about the sunniest sounding track you'll hear outside the Caribbean. There might be a few grizzled looking scoundrels on the paytable, but they're more likely to pour cocktails than make you walk the plank.
Players can take on the booty using any device, setting stakes from 10 p/c to £/€100 per spin. Though Push Gaming has introduced variable RTP, the game comes with one setting, a comfortably decent value of 96.41%, while the volatility/potential pairing is as reliably high as we've come to expect from the Push team.
To start collecting treasure, regular wins occur when 6 or more matching symbols land adjacent to each other, horizontally or vertically. Be aware there is no cascade system used at any stage in the game; wins hit, you collect, and that's it. In total, 9 symbols make up the regular paying symbols, all items of the genre, including bronze coins, silver coins, gold coins, telescopes, compasses and barrels. The premiums are 3 piraty types, offering values of 10 to 50 times the stake for 18+ sized clusters.
One last symbol before diving into the features is the Booty Wild, which substitutes all paying symbols. Booty Wilds also have an attached multiplier that boosts the win amount the wild is included in.
Booty Bay: Slot Features
Booty Bay isn't a typical grid slot, so there's no collecting consecutive cascade wins to trigger modifiers or free spins. Instead, Booty Bay uses a sandy Hotzone to award respins, as well as Swirling Rapids, Locking Wilds, a Treasure Map, plus a Triple Wild Lock feature.
If at the end of a spin or respin, the Hotzone contains a wild, then a respin is awarded. While the reels spin, all wilds move to a random adjacent position. If a wild remains in the Hotzone after moving, its multiplier increases by 1. Respins continue as long as a wild sits in the Hotzone - without limit.
Wilds with chains wrapped around them are Locking Wilds. If one lands anywhere on the grid, the Locking Wilds feature activates. All wilds in the Hotzone are locked in place for 3 respins. They sit for the duration, increasing their multiplier on each spin. If an unlocked wild moves into the Hotzone it becomes locked for the remainder of the spins.
Landing the Swirling Rapids symbol anywhere triggers the Swirling Rapids feature, awarding 1 respin. For the respin, all unlocked Booty Wilds are moved to the Hotzone, and any wilds in the zone increase their multiplier by +1.
One of the quick-fire bonuses is the Treasure Map feature, triggered when one Treasure Map symbol is in view. The player is then shown 6 prizes which are shuffled and hidden. Players pick one of the downturned coins to collect a coin win worth 1 to 5,000x the bet, a wild symbol, Locking Wilds, or Swirling Rapids.
The final extra is the Triple Wild Lock feature, triggered when 3 wilds land on the grid, with at least one in the Hotzone. For this one, the round continues with respins as long as there are any wilds in the Hotzone, increasing their multipliers by 1 for every respin. Theoretically, at least, there is no limit to how many respins can be played.
Booty Bay: Slot Verdict
A lot of thought has gone into Booty Bay, and the features cunningly play off of each other, but such is the high expectations heaped on Push Gaming you kind of hope for a bit more. Hot on the heels of games like Land of Zenith or Dinopolis, Booty Bay's theme treatment feels a bit tamer than Push Gaming often comes up with. A similar thing could be said about the gameplay, which is totally capable of dramatic entertainment, yet misses the crazy replayability of, say, Jammin' Jars to use a grid slot comparison.
Without a separate round of free spins to shoot for, it's a matter of getting the features to link up, crank out respins, and build as impressive multipliers as possible. If the modifiers aren't leaping into the fracas in great numbers, it can be tough to get ahead. What can hold you back are modest symbol values for clusters less than 10 in size and the fact you need six symbols to make clusters on a 5x5 sized game board – there isn't a huge amount of room to manoeuvre. To be fair, these things are no impediment to churning out big numbers, though, where Booty Bay will coast to 20,000x the bet with the right amount of wind in its sails.
Maybe we grumbled a bit back there like a jaded old salt, but such is Push Gaming's reputation; you want to be dazzled each time they release a new game. Even though Booty Bay doesn't burn as brightly as others they've done, there is a stack of ingenuity here for grid slot fans to lap up. Booty Bay might not stay with you like previous Push classics, but there's handsome gaming here all the same.
Not an instant Push Gaming classic, perhaps, but Booty Bay nevertheless contributes something new to the grid slot genre.