Players, if you're looking to take your mind off slots for a bit in a back-to-basics game which requires almost no time to learn, then Plinko from Hacksaw Gaming might be an option. Plinko, in the general sense, is a gambling staple, where a ball is dropped from the top of a triangular board which then plinks its way to the bottom where a row of varying prize values awaits. That's about it, really. Hacksaw Gaming has largely stuck to the core principles of Plinko but has included a few configurable parameters to help align the game with gamblers' betting preferences.
After reviewing the most cutting-edge online slots available, loading Plinko was quite a shock. It looks like it could have been released a decade or more ago on the most rudimentary PC running a low-tech 16-colour CGA monitor. Yeah, CGA monitors had 16 colours back in the day, though developers had ways of adding colour depth. Depending on the monitor, some even had 4 colours, heavy on the cyan and magenta. Anyway, Plinko is a bit like that. A step back in time when a good imagination helped complement any lack of graphical detail. What Plinko has got are things like a triangular game board made up of pegs and lined with prize values along the bottom row, a Bet button, and various UI controls. Better get your personal playlist out for this one, too, as no music accompanies the action.
Playing Plinko means making a few decisions about how you'd like to configure the game. One of these is picking a stake where the options are 10 p/c to $/€100 per ball drop - the two other main options are covered in the following section. Players with an eye on return values should be impressed with Plinko's figure of 98.98%, though this is the maximum value, and several lower return models have been designed.
There aren't any major features in Plinko, as in, there are no bonus rounds or anything along those lines. However, Hacksaw Gaming's version of Plinko lets players choose Low, Medium, or High Risk and select the number of rows from 8 to 16. The values of the prizes at the bottom of the pyramid is influenced by the player's selections. For example, when picking Low Risk with 8 rows, the prize values range from 0.9 to 5.6 times the bet, whereas when choosing High Risk with 16 rows, the prize values range from 0.3 to 3843.3 times the bet.
When all is configured to your taste, hitting the Bet button drops a ball onto the pyramid. The ball bumps its way down the pegs before landing on a bet multiplier on the final row. The multipliers in the middle of the row are easier to land on and have lower values, while the multipliers on the outer edges of the row are harder to reach but possess greater rewards. You don't have to wait for one ball to finish its drop before betting again; Plinko allows users to spam the Bet button to release multiple balls.
Plinko: Final Verdict
Plinko hearkens back to an earlier Hacksaw Gaming age when the team were better known as scratch card makers, back before it entered the world of online slots and went on to become one of the premier providers. Having said that, many plinko games released follow a trend of being simplistic and stripped down. Hacksaw's Plinko is no different in that sense, offering as basic as it gets gambling, not far from simply flipping a coin and betting on the outcome. On the positive side, as well as the un-demanding simplicity and configurability, Plinko has a substantial RTP value going for it that is much higher than we usually see in an online slot. With the exception of games like Book of 99 by Relax Gaming or Big Time Gaming's White Rabbit Megaways, which boast noticeably high return values for online slots.
However, Plinko caters to players who aren't in the mood to spin reels at all. Its low pixel count cascading effect has an almost zen-like quality that could be ideal for daydreaming while watching a small bundle of pixels bounce down a Plinko board careening from side to side before landing on a prize value. Kinda cool you always win something when a ball is dropped, but don't think Plinko can't hoover up a bankroll as well, despite the high RTP. It has an irritating knack of bouncing a ball along the outer channel before, oop, knocking it toward one of the inner prizes. It can feel at times like balls are falling down a funnel rather than towards a row of prizes. Such is the game of Plinko in general, though, really.
So, for a gambling machine that ranks about a 0 in terms of mental taxation and extras, Plinko could be a hit. Maybe be prepared for emotional hits, though, if those bouncing balls refuse to go your way. For something similar but with a stack of extra frills and greater winning potential, then Print Studios' outstanding Pine of Plinko is well worth a look.