Pirots 2: Slot Overview
Moving on from roaming the seven seas, one squawk at a time, the avian adventures of ELK Studios' slot Pirots have moved onto brand new territory for the sequel. Pirots 2 sees the Fearful Four inhabit a reality where dinosaurs walk the earth and occasionally terrorise the gaming grid. Much of the mechanics of the previous slot return, alongside some new parts, so the experience remains similar in spirit yet different in practice. The original Pirots gave players a wholly unique, if divisive, way to try their luck; one wonders whether the sequel is going to unite or divide the two opposing opinionated parties further.
Here's a question: has the Fearful Four gone back in time for the making of Pirots 2 or not? You might think yes if the game has dinosaurs, but as well as extinct lizards, Pirots 2's game world includes a barrelling roller coaster track, trailing through the trees at a safe distance from dinos on the ground. Perhaps this is a sort of Jurassic Park-type world where scientists have brought dinos back to life by splicing ancient DNA with contemporary creatures? The music would suggest this is so because, at times, it sounds rather similar to Jurassic Park's (the film) sweeping score. The sounds help build tension, too, being well-spliced to the mayhem taking place on the screen, and players should be prepared for possibly long sequences of events that are part online slot, part Pac-Man. If this sounds quirky already, don't worry, it gets quirkier.
ELK Studios does like gaming grids that shift around, grow, expand, etcetera, etcetera and Pirots 2 is in possession of one of those. The default size is a 6x6 gaming panel, see-through, so symbols and whatnot dangle in mid-air – expandable up to 8x8. Running off a medium-high volatile math model, players can expect 94% RTP whether betting 20 c to $/€100 per spin or when any of the features from the X-iter are activated.
How you win in Pirots 2 is interesting. When symbols drop on the grid at the start of a spin, so do 4 bird characters, coloured blue, green, purple, and red. Birds are collector symbols which collect the amber pay symbols of the same colour they are, as well as any feature symbols. Adjacent birds may switch places, but only if new symbol clusters can be unlocked. Also, if 3 or 4 birds end up in a horizontal or vertical line, they fight, thereby removing amber symbols, collecting scatters, coins, eggs, or red buttons. When the fight ends, the birds are redropped, and a symbol refill occurs.
Birds must be orthogonally adjacent to any relevant same-coloured symbols to collect them, and they move in descending order of symbol payout. Amber symbols can be individually upgraded to higher payout levels, maxing out at level 7. The four amber symbols are worth 0.05 to 0.1x the bet each at the lowest level, up to 10 to 50 times the bet each upon reaching level 7. Birds collect all symbols until they can no longer collect any more, meaning they can move more than once in a spin, and when collecting a feature symbol, the corresponding feature is triggered.
Pirots 2: Slot Features
For features, Pirots 2 has a collection meter, a number of special symbols, free spins, and X-iter feature buy options.
The collection meter sits above the game grid, keeping track of the collected amber symbols and wild symbol count. This continues until the birds are unable to collect more symbols. When the meter is full, one pending feature symbol release is added. Up to 3 feature symbol releases can be stacked, and all are awarded at the same time. A feature symbol release converts a number of random amber symbols into random feature symbols. This occurs before an egg symbol hatches, before the meteor strikes, as part of the first free drop, or when birds can't collect any more symbols. Feature symbols can also just randomly land in the reels. This is what is available, plus their effects when collected:
- Upgrade symbols – upgrades the payout level of an amber symbol by 1 to 3 steps.
- Upgrade all – upgrades the payout level of all 4 amber symbols by 1 to 3 steps.
- Coins – pays its displayed value when collected. The MAX WIN coin awards the remaining amount needed to reach the maximum win.
- Wild – substitutes for any amber symbol at their current respective payout level.
- Red Button – triggers a meteor strike that explodes symbols (not feature symbols) and expands the game grid.
- Egg – when collected, a dinosaur hatches at the end of the game round. Birds are scared away, landing in new positions.
- Popcorn – fills empty spaces with popcorn when symbols are collected by a bird. This allows birds to cross empty spaces one time each to reach other symbols.
- Mushroom – transforms a cluster of amber symbols next to a bird into the same colour as the bird which collected the mushroom. It may also convert amber symbols into feature symbols.
Free Spins Bonus Game
Collecting 3 dino skull scatters in the base game triggers 5 free spins. Free spins start on the current grid size, and the current progress on the symbol collection meter is retained. If there are pending feature symbols releases at the start of the bonus game, they are released as part of the first drop. The size of the grid, collection meter progress, the collection of scatter symbols and the amber symbol payout levels all persist during free spins. Collecting 3 scatter symbols awards additional free spins.
From the X-iter, players are able to activate these modes for a certain cost:
- Bonus Hunt – 3x the bet for a drop with 4 times the chance to trigger the bonus game.
- Popcorn Fiesta – 10x the bet for a drop with the popcorn feature activated.
- Maximum Grid Size – 25x the bet for a drop played on the maximum-sized grid.
- Bonus – 100x the bet to buy the free spins round.
- Super Bonus – 500x the bet to buy the free spins round on the maximum grid size where all upgrade symbols upgrade all amber symbols.
Pirots 2: Slot Verdict
Love 'em or hate 'em, it's hard to deny ELK Studios is releasing some of the most creative slots on the market. Each facet of an ELK Studios game is meticulously planned and executed, making them impressively polished productions. Pirots 2 is no different. The graphical standard is high, the sounds are excellent, and the gameplay, while probably not everyone's cup of tea, is impressive. Pirots 2, like others we've reviewed around the same time-ish from this studio, such as Jeff & Scully, Sumo Sumo, or Rabbit Royale, to name but three, are bona fide mind benders. Not just because they are rather complex as far as slots go, but because they involve subject matter that is about as out of the box as it gets.
It'll likely mean, though, as mentioned, not everyone will take to Pirots 2. Game rounds can be extraordinarily long and may not always result in correspondingly large wins. Players who like it hard and fast, like a blacksmith holding a piece of metal with tongs and bashing it repeatedly with a hammer, might find Pirots 2 a slog. Factor in the low, yet normal for ELK, RTP value, and Pirots 2 might come across like that scene in Jurassic Park when ice-cool Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum, stumbles upon a mountain of dino dung. On the flip side, if RTP is meaningless, and the thought of potentially long drawn-out game rounds watching parrots entertainingly eat amber and mushrooms while triggering a multitude of other features appeals, then grab some popcorn because Pirots 2 can be a right old blast.
It can also produce wins as high as 10,000 times the bet – the same as what the original Pirots is capable of. Some of what's here is recognisable from before, and while winning potential remains unchanged, Pirots 2 has jacked much of the rest of the gameplay. So much so that the pros and cons feel like they've been amplified, possibly driving a deeper wedge between those who found Pirot's playtime blah and others besotted with the unique way it functioned.
Pirots 2 amplifies the pros and cons of the original, potentially dividing the enthusiasts and the haters even further.