It's Time Slot (Relax Gaming): Overview
If you don't know who Bruce Buffer is, don't sweat - neither did we before running into Relax Gaming's It's Time. Coinciding with Let's Get Ready to Rumble, it's the studios first attempt at branded slot-crafting and centers around Mixed Martial Arts ring announcer Bruce Buffer who, we're sure many would agree, is the lesser-known of the Buffer half-brothers. The brother, who grew up separately, didn't actually get together until 1989 when their father got in touch with Michael after seeing him on TV announcing a title fight with his trademarked catchphrase, "Let's get ready to rumble!" In the mid-90s, Michael appointed Bruce as his manager, a partnership which later grew into a business tie-up as Bruce himself started getting recognition for his work as the octagon UFC ring announcer, establishing a trademarked catchphrase of his own - "It's Time".
Like its sibling slot, It's Time utilizes a 6-reel, 4-row layout but offers significantly fewer ways to win, coming in at 40 fixed paylines. On the flip side, the 96.74% RTP here is higher compared to Let's Get Ready to Rumble's 96.14% which could indicate that it's also slightly more volatile. Both slots also have a distinctive 90s arcade feel to them and have been designed to entertain the player through intense music, animations, and by cramming as many features into it as possible. Playable from 0.10 to €/£100 per spin, it comes with a base game Hot Spot feature which can transform all high-paying symbols into wilds, and re-spin feature with sticky symbols that can lead to wins of up to 500 times your stake. The ultimate showdown, however, comes in the form of the Fighter Bonus where you can pocket up to 2,500 times your stake with the help of the Energy multiplier symbols.
Visually, the game somewhat resembles 90s SNES video games or other similar arcade platformers, giving it a slightly dated and childish appearance. Set inside an MMA octagon, the cartoon-style symbols are represented by beat-up lower-value 10 to A card suit symbols with bandages on them as well as 4 MMA fighters with distinct personality traits. First, there is Billy "The Patriot" Ray Hogg, a gorilla shaped Texan who also happens to be a vegan and birdwatcher. Then there's the Britt Tyrone "Mr Tea" Jones who obsesses over his tea drinking. Next up is Fernando "Handsome" Gonzalez from Mexico who has dedicated his life on winning the title. And finally, we have Hugo "Viking" Slotsson, who happens to be the distant relative of Viking boss Erik Röde but has been depicted as an anemic loser with a "glass jaw". The top symbol, of course, is represented by Bruce Buffer himself, giving you 12.50 times your stake for a six of a kind combination.
It's Time Slot (Relax Gaming): Features
If you're a fan of feature-heavy slots, It's Time won't disappoint. The most frequent feature is the Hot Spot feature which can come into play on any spin in the base game and will be highlighted by an electrical current flowing around the 2x2 center area of the reel set. Now, if four matching fighters land into the area, they'll lock into position, transform into wilds and activate a re-spin. During the re-spin, any high-paying character symbol appearing on the reels will also transform into wilds followed by a payout.
Next there is the Buffer Bonus. This is played when a full stack of Bruce Buffer symbols land on the first and last reels. Once in, 3 re-spins will be awarded with only Bruce Buffer symbols will appear on the reels. If a Bruce Buffer symbol hits, it sticks in position, and the re-spin counter resets. There's also a set of action symbols. These are:
- Energy Drink Upgrade - The multiplier increases by +1x.
- Slam Dunk Diagonal - Turns itself as well as all four diagonally placed positions around it into the relevant combatant.
- Left Hook - Turns itself as well as up to two symbols to the left into the relevant combatant.
- Right Hook - Turns itself as well as up to two symbols to the right into the relevant combatant.
The feature ends when you land a full screen of Bruce symbols (up to 2,500x if you reach the maximum multiplier of 5x), or the re-spin counter runs out.
Finally, there is the Fighter Bonus which is activated when two different fully stacked fighter symbols land on the first and last reels. With 5 re-spins awarded (which never reset), only the triggering fighter symbols appear on the reels. Any fighter symbol landing in view will stick and remain in position until its either overtaken by its opposing fighter (with the help of the action symbols as described above), or when all spins have been played. The winner is the fighter symbol that occupies most positions on the reels by the end of the round. Following this, all losing symbols are transformed into the winning symbol and a payout. A multiplier will also be applied to your total win if higher than 1x. In terms of potential, the maximum payout here is 2000x if you get Billy "The Patriot" Ray Hogg to take home the title.
It's Time Slot (Relax Gaming): Verdict
Having reviewed both of Relax Gaming's branded Buffer-themed slots, It's Time undoubtedly comes out on top. Not by much, we might add, but what tipped the scale, in our opinion, is the presence of a defined bonus round while also feeling a bit more fast-paced and more well thought-through. For example, the characters have more personality, giving the game a less generic feel and that extra effort adds a lot to the overall experience we have to say.
Admittedly, we're not huge fans of these mainstream slots that come packed with features and which require you to scroll through two pages to understand what's going on. While recreational players might fall for the all the extras, hardcore players tend to take a "less is more" stance and favor a more moderate use of features. Mediocre at best, as soon as the novelty of It's Time runs out, players will quickly come to their senses and move on, as will the Buffer brothers when they find a new medium to cash in on.
It’s Time throws a pretty weak punch, but does have its moments.