Roadkill: Slot Overview
According to Scientific American, data from European roadkill surveys show that 29 million mammals and 194 million birds die each year on Europe's roads. In the US, calculations have come out at 350 million vertebrates killed by traffic there annually. That is a phenomenal number of squashed critters. Still, those numbers are dwarfed by the estimated 228 trillion insects killed on the world's roads. Imagine if reincarnation is real (not saying it isn't), and the trillions of souls flitting from life to life, whose little bodies, their little vehicles through this three-dimensional realm, would still be walking the earth if not flattened by humans and our steel machines.
Hitting critters is one of the key aims in Roadkill, an online slot from software provider Nolimit City. Fortunately for friends of animals, the creatures in this game don't really get hurt and may go on to do something positive when struck by a motor. The last car-themed game from NLC, Road Rage, wasn't as warmly received as they often are. So, there were feelings of nervous trepidation when Roadkill first loaded, and we were greeted by the, ahem, dulcet tones of one of its human inhabitants. Roadkill kinda looks like Road Rage too. Its 5x3, 99 payline grid sits in the middle of where cars traverse, and a cartoonish mood pervades. As always, just as much creative juices have been funnelled into the soundtrack, which has a sort of big top circus meets funk rock vibe, similar in spirit to alt rockers Primus and its leading man Les Claypool, though with less slap bass…'Oh, welcome to this world of fools, of pink champagne and swimming pools.'
Roadkill is a highly volatile slot: though with an 8 out of 10 rating, Roadkill avoids being branded with the 'Extreme' label some of its siblings have earned. The default RTP, meanwhile, hovers around the average figure for the industry at 96.04% – lower values are available in other markets or configurations. Players are able to both pick stakes of 20 c to $/€100 per spin and opt for three bonus buy options should they so choose. When not buying a feature, free spins have a theoretical frequency of 1 in 239.
To win, matching symbols must land left to right from the first reel, and they must be connected either horizontally or diagonally. A festering bag of something, acorns, a trap, a picture, and a barrel of moonshine are Roadkill's low pays, while its high pays are G. Coonie, Love Nut, El Zorro, Hilly, and Billy. Hitting a 5 OAK winning combo of these symbols pays 0.5-1.5x the bet for the lows and 1.5-7.5x the bet for the highs. Whenever wilds are present, they substitute for all regular pay symbols.
Roadkill: Slot Features
Roadkill is an NLC game which is hard to visualise through words and takes a bit of time in action to suss everything that's going on. Its lengthy list of features includes Call to Arms, Collectors, Papa Bear, Deer Joe, Fred the Rabbit, Hilly and Billy Cars, Team Assemble, Junkyard Assault, Roadblock, as well as Nolimit Bonuses.
Call to Arms
Hitting 2 scatter symbols triggers Call To Arms, granting 2 normal hearts and 2 Jumping Wilds. If a third scatter lands in this mode, Team Assemble free spins are triggered, and any normal hearts which have been lost are restored. This game mode ends when there are no more hearts left.
Collectors are enabled when Jumping Wild animals are in play. Collectors are associated with a specific Jumping Wild. Whenever a car zooms across the grid and is stopped by a Jumping Wild, the Collector value increases by +1. If the Collector reaches 5 (its cap), it triggers the upgrade feature, enhancing its corresponding Jumping Wild type. When the upgrade feature triggers, a normal heart becomes an armoured heart, or if hearts are missing, an armoured heart is added instead. The Collector's counter is removed if the cap has been reached.
Papa Bear is a Jumping Wild that moves to random positions in the Battle Area between rounds (reel 2-4). Papa Bear works by enabling a general multiplier when active while trying to move 1 step every second spin in any direction. It can only block a car once, inflicting 2 hit points from left to right. Whenever a car is stopped, the general multiplier is increased by x1 to a max of x5 while its Collector increases too by +1. When the Collector reaches 5, a permanent x2 multiplier is applied to the Jumping Wild till the end of the bet.
Deer Joe is a Jumping Wild that moves to random positions in the Battle Area between rounds (reel 2-4). Deer Joe works by acting as a Split Wild, triggered when it blocks a car. It tries to move 1 step on every spin in any direction. It can block a car once, causing 1 hit point from left to right, and when a car gets blocked, it splits all symbols on the same row and direction from where the car comes from. If its Collector reaches 5, the split feature slices all rows instead of one.
Fred the Rabbit
Fred the Rabbit is a Jumping Wild that moves to random positions in the Battle Area between rounds (reel 2-4). Fred the Rabbit works as a Trapper, moving anywhere on every spin inside the Battle Area. It can block a car multiple times, damaging it for 1 hit point from left to right. When a car is stopped, it leaves behind a wild from its current position then jumps to a new empty position. If its Collector reaches 5, during its first jump, it applies a Trap once on its starting position. The Trap can block and damage a car once and turns itself into a wild if the car was stopped by it. If the Trap does not stop or hit a car, it is removed before the spin stops.
Hilly and Billy Cars
This is enabled when animals are in play, triggering between spins. There are two types of car. Hilly's green car has 1 hit point and comes first each round. It is stopped when hit once. The other is Billy's red car, which has 2 hit points and comes on every fifth round during Team Assemble or every round in Junkyard Assault. It requires 2 hits to be stopped. When a car enters the game, it travels across the reels from the right on a random row. If a Jumping Wild blocks the car, 1 hit point is removed. If hit points reach 0, the car is stopped. If the car crosses the reels without being stopped, the car picks a random row and travels back from the left side. A successful back and forth either damages an armoured heart or removes a normal heart. The feature ends when no more hearts are in play.
Hitting 3 scatters in the base game or a third in Call to Arms triggers this feature. Three hearts are applied or restored when triggered. The red car is enabled and arrives with the green car on every fifth spin. If all 3 Jumping Wilds get upgraded, the round upgrades to Junkyard Assault. When no more hearts remain, the round ends.
Triggered when all 3 Jumping Wilds have been upgraded. When triggered, three hearts are applied or restored. The red car and the green car come into play on every spin. Also, the individual Collectors are replaced with 1 Total Collector starting from 0, triggering the Roadblock each time it reaches its cap. When no more hearts remain, the round is over.
When 20 hits are collected, this feature triggers on the next spin. Roadblock restores any normal hearts and transforms Jumping Wilds to cover a whole row each on the Battle Area. Hilly and Billy cars then come into play, hitting one row each randomly, triggering a feature based on the row. The top row adds a wild to reel 5; the middle splits all rows on reel 5, and the bottom multiplies the 3x3 wild by 2. The order is always the same, and each row can be hit twice. When both cars have been stopped, all 3 rows convert to a 3x3 wild covering the Battle Area. After the payout, the 3x3 wild reverts back to Jumping Wilds and the Total Collector starts from 0.
The Nolimit Bonus is where players can buy Team Assemble for 60x the bet (RTP 96.15%), Junkyard Assault for 500x the bet (96.21%), or the lucky dip option for 200x the bet (RTP 96.19%).
Roadkill: Slot Verdict
Damn man, reading and writing that list of features was like battling through War & Peace, it just never seemed to end. We got there, though, and now the reflection can begin. For starters, Road Rage now Roadkill, what is it with Nolimit City and vehicular activity? They don't like to drive, or just can't tolerate people or things getting in their way when they are on the road? Or, more likely, the studio's just having a bit of fun.
A spirit of hilarity permeates Roadkill in general and is expressed in pointable moments such as the Trap baited with a MAGA hat, cheeky. Often humour or an anti-establishment ethos covers an utterly ruthless Nolimit City game, but a session with Roadkill didn't feel like something on the road that had been backed over, twice.
In saying that, bonus buys could be disappointing, and the base game can go through trying patches. Dead spins are most definitely not shy of hitting, either. Triggering Call to Arms could perk the spirit up, though and was when Roadkill tended to start picking up in general. When a decent bonus played out, that is. Cars hitting animal Jumping Wilds is an unusual and/or creative concept, depending on your outlook, not only playing on the Roadkill idea but is an interesting way of keeping a feature alive rather than getting a set number of spins.
It took patience to get to Roadblock's finer moments, yet they are here, and it was a game which got better as the session progressed. Initial wariness generated by memories of Road Rage was soon mashed into the dirt, replaced by excitement generated by bonus features that could actually be quite fun. Nerve-wracking, too, when getting oh so close to upgrading all Jumping Wilds. Go all the way, and Roadkill's 11,091x the bet max win is by no means Nolimit City's highest top prize, yet it may help contribute to a sort of balance since Roadkill didn't come across as one of the studio's face rippers.
Another thing Les Claypool sang was, 'To defy the laws of tradition is a crusade only of the brave.' Whether you're a current, ex or future fan of Nolimit City, Roadkill is further evidence of a studio plotting its own course, using themes that no one else is doing, and packaging them with gameplay, which, yes, can punish, but can also thrill when the pendulum of fate swings the other way.
Roadkill’s arguably more balanced than some of Nolimit City’s heavyweights, but no less amusing for it.