Ducks Till Dawn: Slot Overview
Fans of the 1996 Tarantino film From Dusk Till Dawn might be a little disappointed to know blood-sucking vampires are completely absent from Duck Till Dawn, a playful and wittily titled slot courtesy of Kalamba Games. That only makes it slightly less weird, though. Taking place in a mysterious fairground full of crystal ball gazing, beat-up old dolls, and stuffed monkeys, Duck Till Dawn is a fairly unique slot with a duck shooting feature which can stack multipliers like no one's business.
The carny-inspired gaming takes place using 6 reels and a 4,096 win-all-ways system to knock out wins. The game area itself is situated in a cobwebby tent, surrounded by a multiplier gauge, and two free spin collection meters, blocking most of the view. It's a bit of a shame since the background image appears to have been well designed. You can see it when the game loads, so some of the atmosphere is lost, though nowhere near enough to make a major dent in the experience. Besides, a creepy 'killer clowns' type soundtrack pulls it back, sender an odd shiver up the spine. There's mystery, there's intrigue, more importantly, there's curiosity about hitting spin.
Bets are set first, where options range from 60 c/p up to the hair rising amount of £/€60 per spin. Ducks Till Dawn might not be as lethal as the last Kalamba game we crossed paths with, Goblins & Gemstones, but it's not to be taken lightly either. Edge is provided by volatility rated 8 out of 10, making it quite high. As is a hit rate of 35.69%, so expect a steady stream of hits to keep you focused while free spins tally up before being triggered - more on that in a moment. RTP is another standout, coming in two forms. One is the default amount of 96.91%, the other is when the bonus buy is activated, pushing the figure up to 97.69%. One of the highest we've seen for a while in fact.
Kalamba Games has made good use of the theme when they designed the symbols too. The first five on the paytable are 9-A card symbols printed on different coloured ticket stubs, paying out for three or more of a kind. Premiums need just two of a kind to payout and are made up of zombie-like fairground prizes such as dog balloons, snake balloons, then stuffed monkeys, bears and dolls. Six of a kind wins from the latter lot are worth 3.33x to 5x the bet. Lastly, the Zoltar looking dude with the crystal ball is the wild, replacing any regular pay symbols to make a combination.
Ducks Till Dawn: Slot Features
Central to the action is the Cash Duck system, available during all phases of the game. Duck symbols move across the reels, and if a crosshairs symbol lands on the same position as one or more them, a cash prize is awarded. Things heat up if more than one duck is shot on the same spin, in which case a multiplier is applied to the winning total. Multipliers build up quickly, as 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 ducks at once attract a multiplier of x2, x5, x20, x50, or x200 respectively.
Close to the system used in Blazing Bull, base game spins feed the Spin Boost meters. Each free spins bonus begins at an initial number of free spins, and has a free spins meter associated with it. As more base game spins are played, more free spins are added to the corresponding free spins meter. Maximum number of initial free spins for each free spins meter is 15, beyond this value the number on the free spins meter will no longer increment.
As to the bonus games there are 2 of them to trigger – a blue bonus level 1 and a red bonus level 2. Landing 3 or more of the respectively coloured scatter symbols triggers however many free spins are currently displayed on the Spin Boost meter. Moreover, landing scatters in the feature awards up to 15 extra free spins, plus the applicable payout when two or more land. During free spins, the crosshairs symbol has an additional multiplier attached to it – up to 5x in bonus 1, or 10x in bonus 2. The same multipliers of up to 200x from Cash Ducks is available as it is in the base game.
HyperBonus is Kalamba's name for their bonus buy feature so will only be included in jurisdictions where allowed. There are four options to choose – 7, 10, 15, or 20 free spins for 38.5x, 67.08x, 114.25x, or 161.67x the bet. All options offer crosshair multipliers up to x10.
Ducks Till Dawn: Slot Verdict
It has to be said, the devs over at Kalamba Games do have a tendency to over-complicate things. Trying to explain the features in writing can be a real nightmare, and although Ducks Till Dawn is less confusing than some of the other games in the Kalamba portfolio, just trying to read the paytable here is somewhat of a headache. Having said that, the gameplay is unique, the visuals are solid, and if you like a bit of multiplier action you might actually like what Ducks Till Dawn has to offer since the game is crawling in them.
So, while conservative gamers might be turned-off, others might be intrigued by the duck shooting aspect which can get genuinely tense, involving elements you don't often see. The feature is capable of some ok wins during the base game; however, it's in free spins where the thrills and winning possibilities are significantly increased. The key, as you'd imagine, is shooting more than one duck at a time, thereby dragging a multiplier into the picture – on top of an x5 or x10 crosshairs multiplier. During testing, shooting two at once was fairly common, yet three or more proved difficult. Getting six for an insane 200x multiplier would put you well on the way to hitting the game's 15,595x max win.
Putting that issue to the side, Ducks Till Dawn continues Kalamba's trend for trotting out high paying slots. The generous stats offered through a high RTP and hit rate also makes this game highly playable. Shooting (fake) ducks turned out to be quite fun when the game was on its good side, and combining the gameplay with a wealth of multipliers was a great idea, leading to numerous adrenaline stabs when it all comes together.
Even with all of Duck Till Dawn’s finer points, it can be hard to overlook its somewhat awkward and over-complicated gameplay.