Gorilla Kingdom: Overview
NetEnt's latest jungle driven slot is populated by a bunch of unusual creatures, and led by the ever popular gorilla character. There's something about gorillas. You see them in the wild lounging around, picking fleas off each other, looking gruff. Occasionally, they'll do that chest-beating thing which would be terrifying if you were close by. Maybe their act of aggression rings a bell in our psyche left over from prehistory - a primal fear, or some such. Whatever the motivation, gorillas pop up in slots often, and they make up the bulk of Gorilla Kingdom’s winning capabilities. More controversially perhaps, is that NetEnt has used a symbol transform upgrade feature players will recognise from another slot released by a competing studio. So is it a case of flattery or straight-up imitation?
Before launching into the critique, let’s take a step back to soak everything in. Gorilla Kingdom is set deep in jungle territory where the air is damp and the bugs are plentiful. NetEnt know graphics, and Gorilla Kingdom is a lush looking bush slot, heavy on the plant life and verdant atmosphere. Before a roaring waterfall is the 5x4 grid with 1,024 ways to win. Reels are semi-transparent, or at least they blend into their surroundings, and the result is a pleasing looking slot. Put it this way, if you like nature, you will like what NetEnt has created.
The paytable is a mix of 10 regular symbols, split 50/50 between low pay 9-A royals and high pay character symbols. The high pays are inhabitants of the jungle and start with a pangolin and an okapi. Next we get to the premiums which include a horn billed bird, a leopard, and the gorilla worth 4 times the stake for five of a kind. The premiums need only 2 of a kind to payout, while the rest of the symbols need at least three. NetEnt has omitted wilds, leaving the base game a little dry, and there are just two other special symbols we will look at in the features.
Before hacking your way through the undergrowth like Jane Goodall on a search for primates, stakes must first be settled. A wide range is available for both low rollers at 0.10 c/p, up to a high roller friendly 350 €/£ per spin. The fresh new NetEnt UI is cleanly tucked away beneath the reels in theme friendly colours and there players can spin manually or jam on autoplay. There are bursts of excitement of course, thanks to the stacked symbols and high amount of paylines. But, there isn't a whole lot to the main game, so it often becomes a case of sitting back waiting patiently for the scatter to land. The game is not overly brutal and appears to be powered by a medium to high math model along with a solid 96.1% RTP setting.
Gorilla Kingdom: Features
The two special symbols alluded to start with the scatter. It appears on any reel in the form of a big chunky blue diamond, and when 3, 4, or 5 land they award 10, 15, or 20 Free Spins respectively. A couple of changes happen in the bonus round make it an attractive one. First, the gorilla symbol can appear randomly as the gorilla mask symbol. When this happens, it acts like a normal gorilla symbol on the reels, but it zips off and lands in a slot on the animal panel below. This panel displays the other four animal premium symbols in a totem like structure.
When the mask fills 6 slots of an animal panel, it then transforms into the gorilla and 2 free spins are added to your total. In a twist, animal symbols are transformed in order from highest to lowest, instead of the other way around that you usually see. It makes the task a little trickier, though it is still possible to upgrade them all so only gorillas and royals appear on the reels.
Diamond scatters remain in the bonus game and can extend the life of the feature. When 2, 3, 4, or 5 are in view, players pick up an extra 3, 10, 15, or 20 extra free spins. When things go well it is possible to pile up quite a hefty number of free spins via scatters and filling animal panels.
Gorilla Kingdom: Verdict
Gorilla Kingdom was a little tough to review. It's one of those slots that does its thing, looks nice, has a good bonus game, but lacks a lot of je ne sais quoi. It doesn't have any major flaws you can latch onto and tear to shreds. Or, many 'Wow!' moments which make you want to get your friends in on the action. The biggest criticism comes from the transforming symbols feature, ahem, borrowed from one of its competitors. Any seasoned gamer will instantly recognize the similarities to Thunderkick's Pink Elephants - another wildlife slot which uses the concept mechanic, but offers juicier potential than Gorilla Kingdom.
Perhaps Gorilla Kingdom is an experiment in using the feature. If all goes well, and there aren’t too many grumbles, perhaps NetEnt will redeploy it in a more cutting edge and adventurous slot. As it is, the feature works fine here in the jungle setting, but Gorilla Kingdom won’t be lighting the world up any time soon. Credit were it is due though, there are a lot of free spins up for grabs in the bonus game, and gorillas dominating the reels can be fun.
So to sum up, Gorilla Kingdom is another solid NetEnt slot with decent potential. Prepare for a slot built around a borrowed feature with a base game that’s like waiting in a bush for a week for the perfect wildlife snap, that may or may not arise.
Gorilla Kingdom is a competent slot that has it’s good moments, but it’s just not as hyper as the game they’ve borrowed the main feature from.