Chilli Heat Megaways: Slot Overview
Join a mariachi man and his dog with developer Pragmatic Play as they make a return trip to Estados Unidos Mexicanos for a Megaways upgrade of an earlier slot titled Chilli Heat. In some ways, the studio has turned up the Scovilles for the makeover, predominantly when it comes to math model and winning potential. In other ways, features have been decreased to produce a leaner, meaner Chilli Heat experience that splits itself between a salsa-free base game and a respins bonus.
Released at the start of 2018, Chilli Heat was a cheerful, mid-range slot set in a steaming location somewhere in Mexico. The setting is similar for Chilli Heat Megaways, except the graphics have been tightened, and the background street imagery is more prominent – despite the larger game grid. About Chilli Heat Megaways' environment, Pragmatic Play has reused the original soundtrack while going for the super positive, brightly lit, olé attitude Mexican fiestas are known for. You can literally see light rays filtering in to illuminate the cacti and chilli peppers drying in the hot Mexican sun. It's a nice scene, making a good first impression to see what else Chilli Heat Megaways has to offer.
As well as graphics, the math model is another element that has been tightened. Not so much default RTP, which remains the same as before on 96.5% - whether playing on the regular setting, activating the Ante Bet, or buying free spins. On the other hand, volatility has been turned up to a high level, now rated 5 out of 5 on Pragmatic's lightning meter scale. Potential is also a lot larger, but as Pragmatic Play tends to do at the moment, they've limited max win to a relatively low number for a Megaways game.
Chilli Heat Megaways can be played on any device and provides stakes from 20 p/c to £/€125 per spin. Each spin drops a different number of symbols onto the board – 2 to 7 on the main reels, 4 on the top horizontal reel. This means ways to win differs each time too, up to 200,704 at the most, hits occurring when landing left to right matching adjacent symbols, starting on the first reel.
The symbols used are mostly the same as before too. This means 9-A card ranks as the low pays, then a shot of tequila, a hot sauce bottle, a chihuahua, and the mariachi man as the premiums. Hitting a full six premium symbol win across the reels results in a payout of 1.5 to 10 times the stake. Wild logos come into play here, not having any value worth of their own, but substituting all regular pays. Wilds appear only on reels 2, 3, 4, or 5.
Chilli Heat Megaways: Slot Features
Fans of the first might be disappointed to learn that free spins have been removed for Chilli Heat Megaways. In their place, the studio has focused more resources into the respin feature, adding new ways of cobbling together bigger wins. As well as the respins game, Chilli Heat Megaways has tumbles, an Ante Bet, and a buy respins feature.
The tumble feature triggers after base game wins, removing the winning symbols and tumbling new or remaining symbols into the gaps. This can lead to new wins lining up, keeping the tumble feature firing until no more wins appear.
The Ante Bet is an optional extra, accessible at any time in the base game. For the extra cost of 25% on top of the bet, players can double their chances of winning the respin feature.
Money symbols are the key to the respin feature, appearing on any of the main reels. On each spin, money symbols take on a random value, and landing 6 of them triggers the respins feature. The respin feature is played on the same grid but with all symbols removed except the triggering money bag symbols. The bonus round starts with 3 spins, where reels 1 and 6 are initially locked.
If new money symbols hit on the main grid, they are held in position and reset the respins counter. Above them, on the horizontal reel, special symbols may land, producing the following effects:
- Padlock leaning to the left – unlocks reel 1.
- Padlock leaning to the right – unlocks reel 6.
- Up and down arrows – Extends the number of possible symbols on the reel below it to 7.
- Circular down arrow – collects all money symbols below it and adds it to the total win.
- Square down arrow – collect all money symbols in view and adds them to the total win.
- Circular 'X' – multiplies the money symbols below it by x2, x3, x5, or x10 randomly.
- Square 'X' – multiplies all money symbols in view by x2, x3, x5, or x10 randomly.
If you don't want to wait for money bags to land naturally and are able to access bonus buys, Chilli Heat Megaways offers a buy respin feature. Paying 100x the base bet gets you a spin that is guaranteed to trigger the respins feature.
Chilli Heat Megaways: Slot Verdict
Chilli Heat Megaways is kind of a strangely unsatisfying game when seen as either an upgrade or as a standalone. As a remake, the respins feature has obviously been expanded, the graphics are better, potential is higher, plus players get the benefit of Megaways and tumbles in the base game. Viewed this way, the remake seems justified, as it may suit those who liked the original but now prefer something a bit more volatile or rewarding. However, some players who dug the laid-back attitude of the first, not to mention the free spins and jackpots, might feel they're on unfamiliar territory spinning this Megaways version.
Since there is nothing but tumbles fleshing out the base game, let's head straight to the respins feature. For a game whose main extra is its respins, they're alright, yet nothing extraordinary. Technically, the bonus game can shoot off a thrill or two, not to mention wins of up to 5,000x the bet. However, you don't need us to tell you more intense hold & wins can be found elsewhere. Relax has a couple of crowd-pleasers, Money Train 2 or something like Troll's Gold are two quick examples. Pragmatic Play themselves went larger not long before in a respin focused slot with arguably just as much charm in a game called Empty the Bank, also offering twice the potential at 10k.
What's leftover then is the warm Mexican vibe. This Pragmatic Play has done well. So, if a feature free base game and an okay respins feature is secondary to a vibin' in Baja feel, the game could well entertain. Otherwise, Chilli Heat Megaways fails to really ignite the taste buds, since there are better places to dip your tortillas.
Chilli Heat Megaways may be a decent follow-up to the original, but a feature reduction and low potential for a Megaways game don’t do it any favours.