Chilli Bandits: Slot Overview
Hands up, pardner, this is a… stick up? If you were confronted by three chilli peppers demanding cash, would you hand it over or just stand there gut laughing? All this speculation is leading to a review of Chilli Bandits, an online slot from casino game maker Slotmill. As you can probably tell, bandits of the chilli pepper variety are bound to have an amusing angle to them somewhere, which Chilli Bandits does possess. However, banditry is no laughing matter, and on the more serious side of things, Chilli Bandits offers some no-nonsense gambling with gameplay revolving around its three main desperadoes.
In the words of its maker, Chilli Bandits is a 'Mexican western' slot set somewhere south of the Rio Grande on a stoney street in a quiet-looking town. When the game loads, a thunderously good tune barrels across the airwaves, and if you hold off hitting the spin button for a while, the game's title appears on screen, evoking the feel of a good ol' Western film. These sorts of quiet 'Mexican western' town-style slots abound, but Slotmill has dipped theirs in enough creative hot sauce to forge a positive first impression, and with the knowledge that somewhere here lurk three chilli pepper bandits, the curiosity factor was running high.
Step one is picking a bet where the options range from 20 p/c up to £/€50 per spin. Then, if the ability is there, it's a matter of deciding whether to play from the Fast Track menu or forgo the front-end experience by activating Burst Mode. All of these are covered in more detail below. For now, know that playing normally comes with a return to player of 96.11% from its highly volatile math model.
Another one of the initial observations was of Chilli Bandits' game grid, which has 5 reels aligned in a 3-4-4-4-3 formation. With a win-all-ways system creating winning combinations, players get 576 ways to win, augmentable through some of Chilli Bandits' features. Winning combos can be three to five-of-a-kind in length and at the upper edge of that, pay 0.9-1x the bet for five 10-A symbols or 1.5 to 3.5x the stake for the maracas, cactus, pistol, hot sauce bottle, or bag of coins high pay symbols. Lastly, for this section, one of the game's wilds is a regular 1x1 'W' wild, replacing any normal pay.
Chilli Bandits: Slot Features
The other wilds you may encounter are the Chilli Wild symbols. These are 4-row high wild symbols which can land on the three middle reels. Chilli Wild Symbols always nudge so they cover their whole reel if they land partially in view, and come in three forms with their own modifying ability:
- Clint Heatwood – doubles the number of ways.
- Chilli the Kid – splits up to 6 pay symbols, so each split symbol counts as 2.
- Belle Pepper – transforms up to 6 random symbols into the same symbol type.
Free Spins Bonus
Scatter symbols are present on reels 2, 3, and 4. When not enough of them land to trigger the bonus round, they convert into wild symbols. However, when 3 scatter symbols hit, they trigger the Free Spins Bonus and an initial 8 free spins. Next, the Free Spins Gamble Wheel appears, giving players the option of winning up to 8 additional free spins. Successfully gambles award +4 free spins, though be aware that losing the gamble forfeits any free spins already won.
The Chilli Multiplier is active during free spins and is applied to wins when Chilli Wilds are a part of it. Each time a Chilli Wild lands, the Chilli Multiplier increases by +1 for the rest of the feature, meaning it does not reset. Present during the feature on reels 1 and 5 is the +1 Spin symbol, which, as its name suggests, awards an additional free spin when it lands.
Fast Track and Burst Mode
Opening the Fast Track feature buy menu gives users direct access to Chilli Bandits' features. The choices are these:
- 2+ Bonus (RTP 96.22%) – 10x the bet buys a game round with at least 2 Bonus symbols.
- Chilli Wild (RTP 96.35%) – 40x the bet buys a game round with at least 1 Chilli Wild.
- Free Spins Bonus (RTP 96.48%) – 80x the bet buys the free spins round.
Finally, players pressed for time may be interested in Burst Mode, which gives them a chance to pick a stake and number of spins and simply let wins appear on the screen. Burst Mode can be deactivated before the chosen number of spins is finished or stopped when the bonus is triggered.
Chilli Bandits: Slot Verdict
It's not uncommon for these lopsided sorts of grids to appear in a Western slot, and doing it this way has created links to some of the bangers Nolimit City has produced. Of them, Chilli Bandits felt pretty close in many ways to Deadwood, one of the finest Western slots ever to grace the reels. Things like the grid layout, the full reel wilds on the middle three reels, the increasing win multiplier, and so on all hearkened back to it. Perhaps the Slotmill team simply liked Deadwood, and it served as inspiration; perhaps it's a happy coincidence. Either way, both slots offer hearty dollops of Western-infused entertainment.
One of Chilli Bandits' differences is that the blanket of despair which can sometimes surround a Nolimit City Western-era slot (cast your mind back to games like Tombstone RIP, El Paso Gunfight, or True Grit Redemption) has been replaced with the amusing surreality of chilli pepper bandits. Not only do they inject humour, but the three chilli peppers also contribute their corresponding modifiers as well, building ways, splitting and/or transforming symbols. Factor in the rising win multiplier in free spins, and Chilli Bandits actually outperforms Deadwood in the winning potential stakes, tipping the scales at 15,000x the bet. Depending on how the game's going, it might be a rough ride getting there or attempting to get there, but also a potentially fun action-packed one as well.
Chilli Bandits isn't the first time Slotmill has ventured out West, that would be its earlier game, Outlaws, but it is the first time they've done so with chilli peppers. Of the two slots, Chilli Bandits arguably stands out the most, thanks to its unusual cast and imaginative execution. At the end of the day, Chilli Bandits never really reaches the same level of immersive gameplay as Deadwood which it appears to have been inspired by. Nevertheless, when this thing is going all guns blazing, it can be one spicy dish.
Chilli Bandits evokes memories of Deadwood while scooting off into newer, more surreal territory.