Hustling: Slot Overview
Artists have flung enough accusations on rap albums to suggest imitation might be just as rife in the hip-hop world as it is in the slots industry. In the case of Hustling, from software provider Red Tiger, if you’ve been following gaming trends this year, you’ll quickly spot where any potential inspiration might have come from. Hustling is a slot built around a pay both ways game system that features a West Coast rapper on one side of the grid facing off an East Coast artiste on the other.
Okay, it’s all a bit East Coast vs West Coast, and the two sides of the US are used to colour each half of Hustling’s background. On the left, we get a palm treed, sunset drenched view of LA, while the graffiti adorned, fire escape covered buildings of New York sit on the right. Not exactly original, but Red Tiger’s skilful graphics team has done a good job of the visuals regardless – as has the sound team. However, neither has the same zest or wealth of little touches that were showcased by the playful individuality Nolimit City achieved in their highly acclaimed creation East Coast vs West Coast. Still, Hustling does enough to encourage your finger to click play and see what bops along next.
Being a game aimed at general consumption, Hustling is powered by a high volatile math model, producing a default theoretical return value of 95.69%. Offering stakes between c/p 0.20 and €/$20 per spin, the action takes place on a 5-reel, 3-row game grid, paying out wins when three or more matching symbols land left to right or right to left, starting from reel 1 or 5. In total, 10 pay ways line the grid, effectively doubling due to the pay both ways system.
Moving onto pay symbols, Hustling makes do with five low pay graffiti styled card royals 10-A, which are worth payouts of 0.4 to 1.2x the bet for a five of a kind win. Premium symbols on the upper side of the table consist of hats, spray cans, a ghetto blaster, some shoes, and a gold dollar sign necklace. Landing a five of a kind premium win will get you a payout of 3 to 20 times your stake.
Hustling: Slot Features
Super wild symbols play several critical roles in Hustling, replacing regular pay symbols and triggering free spins. Both appear fully stacked, covering all positions on their respective reels. The West Wild appears only on the leftmost reel, while the East Wild appears only on the rightmost. When a Super Wild lands it locks for one spin.
When Super Wilds land on both reels simultaneously, 10 free spins are awarded. Before they start, players pick either the West Wild or the East Wild to battle it off. Both wilds remain locked in place for the duration of the bonus round and start with a win multiplier of x1. When a Super Wild participates in a win, its multiplier increases by +1.
When free spins run to zero, if the chosen Super Wild has a higher multiplier than the non-chosen Super Wild, +10 additional free spins are awarded. If the two multipliers are the same, +1 extra spin is awarded until one of the Super Wilds has the highest multiplier. If this is the chosen wild, +10 extra spins are awarded. If the chosen Super Wild has a lower multiplier, the round ends. The final piece of small print is when both wilds participate in a line win; their multipliers are multiplied by each other before being applied. Multipliers reset when free spins end.
Hustling: Slot Verdict
It’s virtually impossible not to compare Hustling with East Coast vs West Coast, yet the two games provide different outlets for players to get all ‘gangster.’ Both have a great hip-hop, sneakers-and spray-paint look to them, though ECvsWC possesses a bolder more original style, along with a significantly better soundtrack. Hustling is also less volatile but limited as to how far it can go than ECvsWC, possibly making it a better option for players who don’t want to go quite so large.
As well as the ‘dope’ looks, which share commonalities with Play’n GO‘s Nyjah Huston, the gameplay is pretty ‘tight’ as well. Sorry for the cliches, but it’s tough not to adopt an attitude after playing Hustling for a while. The pay both ways system represents the East Coast/West Coast rivalry in a clever manner, leading to the equally clever rap battle happening in free spins. Naturally, your chosen guy doesn’t always win, yet there are multipliers on both sides of the grid to enjoy while the two artists bob away at each other. Having locked multiplier wilds led to the most exciting moments during testing – when five if a kind wins hit to attract both multipliers.
The low number of pay lines and symbol values prevent Hustling from going nuclear the way all those ways and modifiers can in East Coast vs West Coast. There are no infectious xWays or Drive-By Respins here, for example, making it come across as a slightly generic knockoff when directly compared. Another possible competitor is Relax Gaming‘s Top Dawg$, a game that also has a lower number of paylines but boasts sticky multipliers in free spins that can absolutely moon when the game is flowing. Hustling just doesn’t pack anywhere near as much heat, and at the end of the day, should the two rappers battle each other to a standstill, the most winnable is a more modest 3,151x the bet.
Put it this way, if Hustling stopped at a red light blasting crunk and East Coast vs West Coast pulled up alongside, you can imagine it turning the volume down and acting all nonchalant. However, once the light turned green, the volume would be back up as the game went on its way. What we are trying to say with this traffic light metaphor is that Hustling might not be as brutal or rewarding as the slot it appears to be inspired by, but it’s still a fun hip-hop themed game for those who don’t need the roughest rider to get where they are going.
Hustling might not pack the biggest heat, but for some midrange hip-hop themed gaming, it’s pretty solid.