Pirots

(ELK Studios) Slot Review

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ELK Studios

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Pirots: Slot Overview

When you play or review online slots long enough, you start spotting patterns, the goto subject choices, the favourite themes, and so on. So much so that when something like a pirate-themed slot comes your way (depending on the mood, of course), it can be a case of, oh great, another one. However, slot designers, some at least, have the gumption to switch on the creativity when they can or want to, and Pirots from games maker ELK Studios isn't your typical high seas adventure. One way it differs from the bulk of them is that the pirates here aren't people; they're parrots, hence the concatenation of 'Pi + rots' in the game's title. What follows isn't just a slot which is original in subject matter interpretation but one boasting a set of creative features to match. Um… arrr!?

One of the attractions of using a pirate theme has to be the opportunity to paint an exotically romantic destination to situate the gaming in. Pirots goes about proving the rule by delivering players to a Caribbean-like location dotted with mountainous islands, thick vegetation, and blazing sun scapes. One of the good things about being an armchair pirate these days and indulging in swashbuckling fantasies is there's no chance of getting scurvy, running out of provisions, poor hygiene, rat infestations, exposure, or being chased down by pirate hunters. Instead, Pirots participants can ease back, enjoy their surroundings, and pick one of the islands in view as a potential spot for burying loot.

Pirots slot
Pirots slot - base game

Before burying the loot, though, you gotta get your mitts on some. Or in Pirots, that would be beaks, presumably, and there are several ways of playing the game should the X-iter menu be available. Base bets range from 20 p/c to $/€100 per spin, and no matter how Pirots is played, the theoretical return to player value remains the same at 94%. Mathematically medium-high volatile, the activity takes place on an expandable grid matrix, with a default start size of 5 reels and 5 rows in dimension.

On each spin, or drop as it is called around here, four different coloured birds land alongside the regular paying gems and any other special symbols. Birds move around the grid collecting feature symbols and gems of the same colour as they are; the symbols are adjacent in up, down, left, or right directions. The four gems come in colours of blue, green, purple, and red and start the base game at win level 1, though they can be upgraded in value. Win level 1 gems are worth 0.05-0.25x the bet each, while at the most pimped-out level, they are worth 3 to 15 times the bet each.

Pirots: Slot Features

Pirots slot
Pirots slot - free spins

The Birds move around collecting eligible feature symbols and gems of the same colour. All symbols except the bonus symbol are also collected on a meter when they are collected by the Birds on the grid. When the meter is filled, a feature award is triggered. Then, 3 gems turn into feature symbols when no more symbols can be collected. More than one feature award can be collected for and triggered at the same time. When there are no more wins, but there is a chance to create a win, adjacent birds may swap positions.

Feature Symbols

Pirots has 6 varieties of feature symbols – wilds, transform symbols, upgrade symbols, coins, bombs, and bonus symbols. Here's what they do:

  • Wild – the wild substitutes for any gem at their current win level.
  • Transform symbol – transforms a cluster of gems around it into the same colour as the collecting bird or into feature symbols.
  • Upgrade symbol – a white upgrade symbol upgrades the gem of the same collecting bird. If the gem is already at its maximum level, another gem will be upgraded. Multicoloured upgrade symbols upgrade all gems. No upgrades occur past level 5.
  • Coins – pays a displayed prize value.
  • Bomb – collected bombs explode when no more wins are in view. All symbols nearby, except feature symbols, are removed, causing a redrop. Birds are removed for the redrop but reappear after it in new positions. The grid also expands up to 8x8.

Free Drops

Collecting 3 bonus symbols triggers the bonus mode with 5 free drops. The current grid size carries over to free drops, where the grid size, symbol collection, and gem win level are persistent throughout the bonus round. Collecting 3 bonus symbols during the round awards extra free drops.

X-iter

Clicking the X-iter feature buy button gives players the chance of selecting one of five game modes.

  • Bonus Hunt – 3x the bet for one drop with four times the chance of triggering the bonus game.
  • Feature Bonanza – 10x the bet for one drop with a guaranteed full symbol collection, thereby triggering a feature award.
  • Maximum Grid Size – 25x the bet for one drop at the maximum grid size.
  • Bonus – 100x the bet to trigger the bonus game.
  • Super Bonus – 500x the bet to trigger the bonus round on the maximum grid size, where all upgrade symbols upgrade all gems.
Pirots slot
Pirots slot - feature buy options

Pirots: Slot Verdict

Pirots is, in some ways, a cluster-paying slot, though one with an unusual Pac-Man twist. In fact, if any studios were planning to do a new Pac-Man slot anytime soon, the way Pirots' avian characters chomp their way around the board eating gems, and feature symbols might serve as a pretty good template. Throw in some ghosts, Ms Pac-Man, who knows, could be good. Back to Pirots, it was pretty good too. It's a game that takes a few drops to clock exactly what is going on. There's nothing overly complex to work your way through, but the winning symbol collection, coupled with the feature meter and the multitude of feature symbols, makes Pirots a rather unique experience. One where spending time to get familiar with all of its idiosyncrasies might take a bit longer than it does with a more 'regular' slot.

Pirots wasn't as convoluted as, say, Sumo Sumo, but it felt like it could loosely be grouped in with a slot like that in some ways. Pirots isn't the sort of game where you simply bang the play button in an effort to line up matching symbols to collect cash, nor is it a straight-out cluster paying slot. Ironically given the theme, ELK Studios has forked away from conventionality to give Pirots a more experimental feel. Not quite Night Trax level, but something in that direction. The individuality on its own makes Pirots worth a look, though, like a lot of what ELK Studios has released recently, the low RTP might be a deal breaker. Not sure why the studio continues to force-feed weak RTPs on players, yet the sub-95% might feel about as fun as having your shoulder soiled by a parrot. Ah, well, someone's lapping them up and recreational gamblers probably don't worry too much about it because ELK Studios keeps slinging them out.

One of Pirots' more motivating stats is a max win figure of 10,000 times the bet. It might feel like an uphill battle at times, but rewards are there for those with the right map to the treasure or a bunch of good luck, at least. Pirots has one or two undesirable elements, yet the good things it does are worth taking a look at, regardless, if investigating new gaming methods is a personal interest.

Related Slots: Pirots 2.

Good

Pirots’ gameplay might even be original enough to look past its less desirable core stats.

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