NITRO CIRCUS - Yggdrasil Gaming's first branded online slot missing the mark?
Featuring Nitro Jump with Nitro Blast and Nitro Free Spins
Based on the Nitro Circus franchise
Nitro Circus Introduction
If you're not familiar with Nitro Circus, don't worry. It's an American thing like Wrestling or Baseball, so no need to feel like an old fossil. Those of you who do know about it likely caught the show while it ran on MTV for four seasons between 2012 and 2014.
Nitro Circus is an "action sports collective" led by Travis Pastrana. The show features him and his buddies travelling around the globe riding dirtbikes, base jumping and performing stunts. It's a little bit like Jackass in a way, albeit involving more talent. For unclear reasons, Yggdrasil Gaming decided Nitro Circus would be the best choice for their first branded slot.
When it comes to branded slots, there's really only one developer that has managed to consistently pull it off well in the past - Microgaming. NetEnt has produced some decent branded games too, such as Guns n' Roses, South Park (now pulled from the market) and Creature from the Black Lagoon, although the most recent ones have been extremely disappointing (Planet of the Apes to name one).
It may or may not be a coincidence that branded slots often fail to impress due to low payouts, but there's a very real possibility that providers feel the need to flatten the variance or lower the RTP to make players pay for the expensive license.
Nitro Circus is a 5-reel, 4-row, 25 payline slot with a bet range between 0.10 - 125. This adrenaline-fuelled slot features some of Nitro Circus’s biggest stars, greatest stunts, and craziest vehicles. The game comes with a free spins mode and the Nitro Jump bonus game where players can fly through the air on one of 7 vehicles and collect multipliers, coin wins and other bonuses on the way, to maximise wins. Players can reach the bonus games through both scatters and collections, plus choose between three different risk levels.
Nitro Circus Paytable
The game has a total of 7 regular symbols. On the reels, you will find three low-value symbols in the form of helmets - skate helmets, air force helmets and motocross helmets, as well as four high-value symbols represented by the guys from the show. The lead character, Travis Pastrana is the top guy and returns 20 times the stake should he land on across a full payline.
Aside from the regular symbols, there is also a Wild symbol, a Nitro Bomb symbol and N I T R O letters which we will go into in more detail below. It should be noted that none of the symbols appears stacked and that both the Nitro Bomb and NITRO letter symbols obviously can work for you, but also against you in the form as blockers.
Land exactly 2 Nitro Bomb symbols in the base game to activate the Nitro-Blast minigame. In this minigame, players choose 1 of 5 bombs to reveal one of the prizes below.
- Free Spin mode - With 10-30 Free Spins
- Add 1 Vehicle to the player's collection – Add a couch, wheelchair, toy car or bathtub
- Nitro Wild – Upon returning to the main game the Nitro Bomb symbols explode turning 2-9 slot positions within the blast radius into wilds.
- Free Spin Multiplier - increase the total Free Spin multiplier by 1,2 or 3. (only available in Free Spins)
- Extra Free Spins - +1,+2,+3 Free Spins(only available in Free Spins)
Nitro Free Spins
Land 3+ Nitro Bomb symbols in the base game to trigger Nitro Free Spins + The Nitro-Blast minigame with 1-3 feature picks.
- Landing 3 Nitro Bombs awards: 10 symbols + 1 Feature pick
- Landing 4 Nitro Bombs awards: 20 symbols + 2 Feature pick
- Landing 5 Nitro Bombs awards: 30 symbols + 3 Feature pick
Collect 5 identical vehicles to trigger the Nitro Jump Feature with the collected vehicle. Vehicles appear in the Nitro minigame as well as in the Nitro Jump feature. Each vehicle (Bath Tub, Armchair, Toy Car, Rocking Horse) has its own sets of features and benefits (tricks, size and boost).
- Better tricks award more coins from the judges for the first 3 jumps.
- Bigger vehicles collect more coins from the air.
- More boost awards a higher multiplier on the final jump.
The Nitro Jump Feature
The Nitro Jump feature is activated by collecting 5 vehicles as stated above or by landing all the ‘N I T R O’ letters in 1 spin. If this feature is triggered by collecting NITRO, the player can then choose one of the following vehicles - FMX Bike, BMW Bike or Kick Bike.
The Nitro Jump feature is made up of 3 stunt jumps and 1 final Boost Jump.
The 3 stunt jumps are scored by judges and awarded 5-625 coins depending on the tricks performed. Players can also collect 0-6 of the following features in the 3 stunt jumps.
- 25 coin prize
- Speed boost for the final jump
- Final Jump Multiplier
- 10 Free Spins
After completing the 3 stunt jumps, the rider approaches the final Nitro Boost jump. During the approach, players can add manual speed boost which will result in a better landing multiplier. However, adding manual boost increases the chance of the rider crashing out and losing all multipliers. The vehicle’s built-in boost and the boost collected during the 3 stunts does not influence the chance of landing the final Jump.
Nitro Circus Conclusion
Nitro Circus is undoubtedly an ambitious project and a massive undertaking. However, Yggdrasil might have overcomplicated things here, unfortunately. Until you start to know the game, which might take a few sessions and some reading, it comes across as a bit of mess, and we're not convinced that players will have the patience required. To be fair though, reading about it here does make it seem even more complicated than it really is.
Moreover, we understand that, just like the show, it's supposed to be action-packed and crazy, but when converted to an online slot it just feels too stressful. The busy action might appeal to fans of the show, but for the rest of us it might be somewhat of an annoyance. Also, what's up with the Nitro Jump feature? Is it a video game or an online slot? Hard to tell really. Some might like it but we don't. We prefer our slots to appeal to adults rather than kids.
We can picture how Yggdrasil wanted this slot to be a true representation of the All-American entertainment that Nitro Circus is and in that sense they didn't disappoint. But as an online slot, we can't help to feel it's all over the place, confusing and over-complicated which ultimately is a turn-off for us at least.
There is a 2000 times the stake max win potential in the game which can be achieved with the help of collecting some multipliers and retriggers in the free spins or by having a really good run in the Nitro Jump feature. While the free spins feature seemed a bit harder to trigger, the Nitro Jump featured was dropping quite often for us during our test session. The payouts, however, were abysmal.
Game title: Nitro Circus
Game description: 5 reels | 4 rows | 25 paylines | RTP 96.2% | Max Win: 2,000x | Volatility: M | Bets: €0.10 - €125 | Features: Nitro Jump, Nitro Free Spins, Nitro Blast | Release date: November 15