Nitropolis: Slot Overview
It’s easy to bemoan an apparent lack of original ideas when it comes to slot development. It sometimes seems there are a handful of studios out there blazing a trail while the rest are copying or adapting like wannabe clothes designers soaking up a fashion show. One studio boldly going where it hasn’t been before is ELK Studios in their unusual slot Nitropolis. In this world, four clans: the Dirty Dawgs, the Gritty Kitties, the Pug Thugs, and the Rouge Rats fight it out for green Nitro to fuel their cars. Quite what category operators will slide Nitropolis into will be interesting to see. Like Billy Corgan said about post-modernism ‘it is whatever the [heck] you want it to be.’
Firing up the game for the first time it quickly dawns on you it's not your typical ELK offering, the 6-reel, 4,096 win way game area located in the industrial environment of Nitropolis. This is a city of the future, populated by animals, with sensational music that sounds like a Britpop/electronica potpourri, graduating to punk during the bonus game. A soundtrack so good it gives Nolimit City's Punk Rocker a run for its money, although that's from where Nitropolis most obviously draws most of its inspiration, both in terms of audiovisual design as well as its main mechanics. Either way, the genuinely eclectic mix of themes, ideas, and concepts works, coming together to form a unique game all the same.
Nitropolis is playable on any device by setting bets from 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin, or by activating one of the betting strategies – Optimizer, Leveller, Booster, or Jumper. As to math model, the gaming is highly volatile, suiting the level of reward and type of features on offer. This is a thoroughly busy slot that can provide quite a lot of playtime, even if free spins can take time to trigger. It’s hard to tell statistically though since ELK rarely releases free spin frequency like they used to. Hit rate, on the other hand, is available, so at 19.8% you’re getting a win every five spins or thereabouts. Capping off stats is the agreeable figure of 96.1% for the RTP rate.
Twelve regular symbols make up the paytable, divided into low, medium, and high pays. Combinations may be three to six symbols long, in any row from the first reel onwards. Since there are so many potential win ways possible in Nitropolis, the values of single combinations are much lower than usual. Six mid pays are worth 0.24x to 0.36x, while six high pays dole out 0.6x to 1x the stake. So yeah, not a whole lot. Fortunately, the features do allow plenty of room to go berserk. Lastly, we get a suspicious mushroom cloud wild, substituting for anything except the bonus symbol. During free spins, the wild also substitutes for the scatter symbol in a scatter win.
Nitropolis: Slot Features
At first, the features may seem confusing, but are actually more straight forward once you’ve read up on them or better yet, seen them in action a few times. First are Winning Respins which trigger after every win in the base or bonus game. All symbols involved in the winning combination spin again, potentially leading to new combinations. Respins continue until no new wins appear.
Next are ELK's newly introduced and trademarked mechanic known as Nitro Reels™ which may appear in any reel. These symbols cover two positions and may contain 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 symbols, affecting the number of win ways. The default 4,096 can get as ludicrously high as 85,155,840 at the most. Moreover, Nitro Reels can randomly upgrade win ways in between Respin and Free Spins. Also, there is a chance Nitro Reels will randomly spin again for a second chance when there are no additional wins.
The highlight is the bonus game, triggered when 3, 4, 5, or 6 scatter symbols land in view during the base game to give you 10, 15, 20, or 25 spins respectively. Three or more bonus symbols in the feature retrigger the same number of spins.
Now, before the feature starts, one symbol is randomly chosen to be the scatter paying symbol. Three or more scatter paying symbols on three or more different reels triggers a win. The main benefit, however, is the fact that Nitro Reels are sticky, remaining locked in place way for the full duration.
Nitropolis: Slot Verdict
At first Nitropolis can be a little confusing. Without scrutinising the paytable first, it’s hard to tell what is going on. Even worse is triggering free spins before absorbing the rules, then you’re left wondering why you’re getting paid. The good news is Nitropolis isn’t as complicated as it initially comes across and nothing a few rounds won't overcome. Once you’ve mastered how Nitro Reels and Respins work, it becomes clear, not to mention fun.
Of course there’s no way a slot like this won’t offend some people. Not everyone will be jazzed by the complex mix of Respins, Nitro Frames, and scatter pays symbols. Nitropolis is the antitheses of straight forward and classic gaming. It’s certainly not a slot you pop on to unwind with at 4 am. Even the theme was a daring choice, setting an adorable bunch of critters in a dystopian future where humanity appears to have been being wiped out, allowing other species to evolve intelligence, and thumbs. Or some such.
While the gameplay has a healthy dose of originality, there are ghosts of other slots here too. Special symbol scatter pays have a Book of Ra/Danger! High Voltage feel to them, and Nitro Reels are undoubtedly reminiscent of Nolimit’s xWays mechanic. Still, as a whole, Nitropolis provides something new. It also provides solid potential, to the tune of 10,000 times the bet. You might think it would’ve been more though, given that over 85 million ways to win are possible, probably leaving some asking what the point of a gazillion win ways is when there are 9 payline slots that offer 10x the potential. Having said that, the potential is still enticing enough and higher than we're used to seeing from ELK, so no real complaints there.
So after an excessive bout of deconstruction (Nitropolis is a game which inspires a level of critical analysis ), what’s left is a well-made, fun game with banging tunes. Strangely though, the bonus game feels weaker than it should as the scatter symbol approach just didn't add enough excitement and explosivity. A multiplier in its place could possibly have worked better.
The features might not be as original as they first appear to be, but that doesn't stop the Nitropolis from being entertaining. They all come together to form a unique game, boasting big potential, genuinely entertaining moments, drenched in an industrial post-punk attitude, and pugs.
Nitropolis comes flying in from left field, providing an enjoyable and strikingly unusual gaming experience wrapped up in a clever design.