Gargantoonz: Slot Overview
Everyone's favourite aliens are back in Gargantoonz, an online slot from software provider Play'n GO and a continuation of the studio's popular Garga range. Actually, everyone's favourite alien might be E.T. or Yoda, but you get the idea. In Gargantoonz, you also get a revamped way of unloading a bunch of modifiers onto the game board amidst all those extraterrestrials, climaxing in the three-eyed Gargantoonz working its magic, hopefully. Play'n GO has cycled through a number of 'toonz-related slots by now, from the smash hit original Reactoonz, Reactoonz 2, Dr Toonz, and Gigantoonz, what could possibly be in store this time around?
Space is the location for Gargantoonz, which it has been for most of the related slots in the series. One exception was Dr Toonz, which took place in the doc's lab rather than the outer cosmos. The graphical quality has held pretty steady throughout, too, despite Reactoonz being released 6 years prior to this one. Gargantoonz is arguably slightly more refined, though this could be psychological, but do the Toonz have a shade extra definition? Do the stars in the night sky glitter somewhat brighter? Not that it matters, really. The main focus in these slots is on the infectious gameplay, and this Gargantoonz is capable of delivering. The retro synth tunes are pretty sweet, too.
Hitting the plus and minus buttons on the menu bar lets players select a stake 10 c to $/€100 per drop, and there are no other ante bets or feature buys to factor in. The tooning takes place on a 7x7 game grid that produces a win when at least 5 identical symbols land next to each other in vertical or horizontally adjacent positions. Winning symbols get nuked from the reels, allowing symbols to drop down to replace them. Cascades continue until no more wins are created and are critical to the way Gargantoonz performs. With a highly volatile engine running the show, Gargantoonz has a default return to player of 96.2%.
One-eyed critters are the low pay symbols, of which there are 5, and the same number of two-eyed critters make up the high pays. Hitting a 5 symbol cluster win pays out 0.1 to 1 times the bet, seriously blasting up to 20x to 1,500x the bet for hitting an 18+ sized winning cluster. Wilds, when they appear, which are covered soon, are able to substitute for all symbols, thereby helping complete or increase winning clusters.
Gargantoonz: Slot Features
Gargantoonz comes fully equipped in the features department with Fluctuation, Discharge, the Experiment Charger, Gamma Ray Bursts, Black Hole, Supernova, Gargantoon Charger, and… Gargantoonz.
On each round, a one-eyed symbol type is randomly chosen to fluctuate. If fluctuating symbols win, then 1 to 2 Quantum Wilds appear in any of the spots where symbols were removed.
On any non-winning round, 4 to 8 Quantum Wilds may randomly be added to the grid.
If no experiments are ongoing, then any winning clusters charge the charger. A total of 20 symbols charge up the charger. When fully charged, an experiment is picked at random after cascades end. Another experiment follows if an experiment is successful until all 3 are completed. If not, then the experiment cycle ends. At the start of an experiment, unique wilds are added to the grid, and all existing wilds turn into the same wild. When an experiment is ongoing, only the wilds return charge to the experiment charger with their symbol values. In total, 40 symbols charge the charger in this state and 40 additional symbols overcharge the charger and increase the Gargantoonz multiplier by +1.
Possible experiments are these:
- Gamma Ray Burst – 7 to 9 wilds are added to the grid. Winning wilds count the number of symbols in their clusters before removing and counting all instances of the same symbols. Additionally removed symbols are counted once, even if there are multiple winning clusters with the same type of symbols. When symbols are counted, the wilds leave the grid and charge the charger before the cascade.
- Black Hole – 4 to 6 wilds are added to the grid. Winning wilds count the symbols in their clusters and remain on the grid until there are wins. When cascades end, wilds collect adjacent symbols and leave to charge the experiment charger. Symbols removed by an experiment wild are counted once. If 3 or more wilds are in the same cluster, they trigger their effect immediately, leave the grid and charge the charger instead of staying on the grid.
- Supernova – 3 to 5 wilds are added to the grid. Winning wilds count the symbols in their clusters, remain on the grid if there are wins and move one place diagonally on each cascade if possible, but may not intersect. When cascades end, wilds move 8 steps in any possible direction, collecting symbols in their path, then leave to charge the charger. If 3 or more wilds are in the same cluster, they trigger their effect immediately, leave the grid and charge the charger instead of staying on the grid.
Each successful experiment charges the Gargantoon charger, evolving the Gargantoon. The charger starts with a multiplier of x1, and each overcharged experiment increases it by +1. Multipliers of x1, x2, x3, or x4 can be applied to the feature. If all 3 experiments are successful, the Gargantoonz feature triggers. The feature plays out in 3 steps. Eight 1x1 Gargantoon Wilds appear on the grid and stay to merge if they take part in any win. 1x1 Gargantoon Wilds merge into two 2x2 Gargantoon Wilds, then the 2x2 Gargantoon Wilds merge into a 3x3 Gargantoon Wild. This happens after wins are counted but before the next cascade. Gargantoon Wilds appear with the relevant multiplier, but only a single multiplier is applied to a win if there are more than 1 Gargantoon Wilds in a cluster.
Gargantoonz: Slot Verdict
It was nice seeing the Toonz return, though after witnessing a few sequels/related slots in the franchise failing to really fire, can't say expectations were sky-high for Gargantoonz. What followed was a pleasant cluster-paying grid slot with some nifty extras, but it wasn't a one-two punch to the grill like the original Reactoonz game was. Not saying Gargantoonz is a bad game, of course, far from it. The action flows, the charm factor is high, and the features or experiments, as some are called, have the capability of performing neat tricks. The anticipation of seeing what the Gargantoon could do when released built steadily as the review progressed, keeping the engagement level going through the near misses and what could have beens, so that when it finally did happen, we were ready to blast off to the outer reaches of the galaxy.
When he, she, it did hit, the experience was a short, sharp run of merging from smallest, medium, till largest final form. It was okay. Not the second stage afterburner boost ignition it was hoped to be, and that feeling sort of sums up Gargantoonz as a whole. Plenty of build-up, plenty of experimentation, yet often plenty of deflation at the end. Maybe, despite trying to construct a wall of indifference when going into the review, a subconscious high expectation simply wasn't met. Charging a charger is the order of the day in games like this, in hopes of letting the features go wild on the board. Maybe be prepared for anti-climaxes following often frustratingly slow build-up sequences if taking on Gargantoonz. On the other side of the coin, Gargantoonz has the second biggest potential of the lot (after Dr Toonz) at 7,000x the bet (though many within the community have started to question the advertised potential of Play'n GO slots).
And so, Gargantoonz wasn't a genre-defining moment like its older sibling was, but there is still fine grid slot gaming to be had. It could be said that Play'n GO has played it safe, yet Toonz fans should be able to find fun times here, even if they aren't the absolute max fun times the franchise has delivered.
Gargantoonz isn’t a genre-defining moment like its older sibling was, but there is still good grid slot gaming to be had.