DonKey & the GOATS

(AvatarUX) Slot Review

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DonKey & the GOATS: Slot Overview

If you initially thought DonKey & the GOATS would be some wacky barnyard slot full of comical critters, don't worry; you're not alone. However, in a drastic turn of events, the DonKey part of the title relates to legendary promoter Don King, whereas the GOATS part refers to some of boxing's greatest stars. Some may dispute who the real GOATs of boxing may or may not be, but this is AvatarUX's slot, so let's roll with their selections for now. While the subject matter came as a surprise, the biggest shock was finding out DonKey & the GOATS is not, repeat not, a PopWins game. Yes, the studio does make slots that don't pop. It has been some time, though, so let's see how well DonKey & the GOATS can actually pop. Sorry, force of habit.

There is quite a lot to take in when DonKey & the GOATS first hits the monitor, and even more when inspecting the paytable. Maybe we're biased, but DonKey & the GOATS did give off a faint PopWins vibe, but that might have been because we are just so used to reviewing a certain type of slot from AvatarUX some lingering taint skewed our perception. Whatever the case, DonKey & the GOATS throws up a lot of symbols on its gaming area, next to a row of rewards, a multiplier, while a blurry, darkened crowd here to see chaps punch each other and a ring make up the foreground. Nothing about DonKey & the GOATS suggests conventionality, and players who like a surprise or two or a ton of extras should be pretty intrigued as to how it all functions.

DonKey & the GOATS slot
DonKey & the GOATS slot - base game

When ready to start jabbing, players may pick a stake of 20 p/c to $/€100 per spin, and there is a long line of optional betting options to mull over as well. A highly volatile slot, DonKey & the GOATS possess a return to player return value of 96%, which seems to apply no matter how users decide to tackle the game. While the gaming area may be expanded in free spins, its default base game dimensions are 6x4 + a ZapReel, where 15,625 ways to win are active.

Wins are created when matching symbols land left to right from the leftmost side, and there are 12 regular pay symbols. The low pays are 5 miscellaneous boxing items; the mediums have the words Rumble!, Thrilla!, and Brawl! on them, the highs are 3 boxing action scenes, and there's one more super high action symbol. Landing a 6 OAK win pays 2x for the lows, 3x for the mediums, 4x for the highs, and 10x the bet for the super high. Winning symbols are removed and placed by a cascading wins mechanic. Also, a dog smoking a joint(?) is wild, substituting for any regular pay symbol.

DonKey & the GOATS: Slot Features

DonKey & the GOATS slot
DonKey & the GOATS slot - free spins

AvatarUX has dumped a ton of features into DonKey & the GOATS, such as the Vegas Reel Multiplier, the Vegas Reel, Vegas Reel Rewards, the ZapReel, free spins, a Champions Wheel, and a stack of bonus buy options.

Vegas Reel Multiplier

When cascade wins hit, they light up an arrow below the multiplier on the Vegas Reel. When all arrows are lit, the multiplier value is added to the global win multiplier. The arrows then reset. If the new value is won again by getting 3 wins on a single spin, the extra value is added to the existing one. In the base game, the multiplier persists throughout cascades on a single spin. In free spins, won multipliers persist as a global multiplier for the duration of the feature.

Vegas Reel

Whenever a Donkey symbol hits, a random Vegas Reel Reward is triggered. In the base game, the reward comes with 1 to 3 lives, which count down on subsequent paid spins. During free spins, rewards come with 1 to 5 lives, which activate for each subsequent free spin till the counter reaches 0. Also, in free spins, unlocking a Vegas Reel Reward grants additional free spins equal to the number of lives for the reward. More than one reward can be active at once. If the same reward is unlocked while it is active, additional lives are granted. The rewards are:

  • Wild Bombs – when active, a random spread of wilds appears over the reels.
  • Synced Reels – when active, 2 or more reels are synced, dropping the same set of symbols.
  • Low Pay Removal – a random number of low pay symbols are removed from the spin.

ZapReel

The ZapReel is an extra row of symbols above the main reel set. Regular pay symbols here can be part of normal ways wins. In addition, when an Uppercut Wild appears on the ZapReel, its reward activates - if a winline is formed on any position directly below it, the Uppercut Wild becomes a full reel wild.

Free Spins

Landing at least 3 scatter symbols triggers the free spins feature. When activated, the Champions Wheel spins to award a certain number of free spins and a starting number of ways, which dictates the size of the gaming grid while the round is active.

XPRESS

From the XPRESS menu, players can activate these features:

  • Ante bet – doubles the chance of winning free spins for an extra stake cost of 25%.
  • Wild Flurry – 5x the bet for a spin guaranteeing at least 1 Uppercut Wild.
  • First Strike – 15x the bet for a spin guaranteeing a Donkey symbol triggers a reward.
  • Buy Bonus – 60x the bet for up to 8 free spins with up to 30,625 ways.
  • Buy Bonus Plus – 120x the bet for up to 10 free spins and up to 44,100 ways.
  • Buy Bonus Premium – 180x the bet for up to 12 free spins and up to 60,025 ways.
  • Buy Bonus Ultra – 240x the bet for up to 14 free spins and up to 117,649 ways.
  • Buy Bonus Max – 500x the bet for 15 free spins and 117,649 ways.
DonKey & the GOATS slot
DonKey & the GOATS slot - feature buy options

DonKey & the GOATS: Slot Verdict

Well, there might not be any PopWins going on, but DonKey & the GOATS does have a slight Pop Art look about it. We could be cynical and say that DonKey & the GOATS is basically a PopWins game without the popping and the reel/ways expansion this brings to the party, but let's not go there. Instead, why don't we acknowledge AvatarUX's restraint in not going to its favoured gaming mechanic and trying something new? It must have been hard. The studio has dropped a load of poppin' games by now. Then again, maybe the design team was thrilled at the chance to make something different. This they have achieved, and DonKey & the GOATS feels like a game that its makers enthusiastically filled with features they were keen to try out.

Some are holdovers from previous games like the ZapReel, which showed up in LooneyPop, and some are more original for the studio. And while winning symbols don't expand the reels, reels do expand in free spins, depending on the result of the Champions Wheel. Naturally, the bigger the better, and with a full grid, mayhem can ensue due to the interplay of so many features. It never really got too overwhelming, nor did DonKey & the GOATS make us wonder what the heck is going on like a Nolimit City slot might. It is fast, though, maybe too fast for some tastes? However, a pacy game is a good game, and it manages to juggle all of the moving parts well. What's also not bad is DonKey & the GOATS' 20,000x the bet max win figure. Solid results were achieved during testing, so it'd be nice to see DonKey & the GOATS go out into the wild and achieve its full potential.

And so that wraps up a review from AvatarUX, which did not involve the PW word. A uniquely entertaining result, too, and even if this doesn't go on to achieve GOAT status, it wouldn't be terrible if DonKey & the GOATS gave AvatarUX more confidence to make games that don't rely on the PopWins mechanic.

Good

DonKey & the GOATS pleasantly surprised with its extensive array of features and not a single pop in sight.

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