Tombstone RIP: Slot Overview
As most of our readers know, 2021 was an astronomical year for developer Nolimit City. It was a year of massive gameplay, intricate features, daring theme choice, lashings of x-factor, and, lastly, big win numbers. Whenever someone does well in any sphere of human activity, all eyes are on them as to how they will follow up. Are they going to choke? Have they run out of gas? Will the creative spark dim, or will it blaze brighter? Never one to shy away from a challenge, Nolimit City burst off the block with a mammoth game to start 2022 with. Rumours have been circulating for a while, and after tangling with Tombstone RIP, we can confirm they are pretty much all true.
Let's start the review with no illusions. Tombstone RIP is a brutal game, the likes of which you've never played before. Set in a grimly monochrome Western town filled with grimly monochrome characters, one minute they're living it up at the saloon, the next, they are hanging from the end of a noose. We didn't make that sentence up for effect either, trigger free spins, and you'll see what we mean. Nolimit City are masters of the Western genre but don't expect the same free-for-all spirit of Deadwood or the cartoonish styles of the first Tombstone slot. Tombstone RIP will, in its words, 'kill you like a dog', so if this sounds appealing, have a little saunter into its fantastically presented world and see what happens.
Sauntering begins by selecting a stake of 10 p/c to $/€50 per spin, which is less than usual for Nolimit City, but the 300,000x recording-breaking potential here being what it is, the drop makes sense. Players may also have the option of engaging the Enhanced Bet, which increases stakes by 10%, thereby guaranteeing a scatter on the second reel. As always, RTP comes in several forms, 96.08% being the default setting, rising to 96.28% with the Enhanced Bet active. Keep in mind the return value can be set lower, though it can be checked in the help files. It kind of goes without saying volatility is rated 10 out of 10, labelled as 'Insane' by its maker.
Word of warning, if you like a nice steady stream of regular line wins to keep you going, this is not the game for you. Hit frequency has been recorded as 8.7%, partly due to the xRIP feature, covered below. Tombstone RIP is played on a similar reel set up as the first, so we get five reels in a 2-3-3-3-1 formation, creating 108 ways to win. On the last reel, all symbols count as two symbols and only premiums appear on it.
In total, 10 symbols make up the normal pays – five are 10-A low pay card royals, five are character tiles. Low pays are worth 0.5-0.9x the bet for five of a kind, while premiums are worth 1-4x the bet for five. Grab your notepad; let's deal to the features.
Tombstone RIP: Slot Features
Tombstone RIP's features are slightly complicated but not as intricate as they can be from Nolimit City (here's looking at you Mental). In this section, you'll find xNudge Wilds, Wild & Splitting Wilds, xRIP, Scatters, Hang' Em High Free Spins, and Boothill Freespins. Triggering the 300,000x win cap from the base game is possible, though, at 1 in 130 million, the probability is rather low. Triggering the bonuses significantly increases the chance.
These are stacked wild symbols which always nudge to be fully visible. Each position they nudge by increases their multiplier by +1. xNudge Wilds only land on the middle three reels and their multiplier values are added together if more than one is present.
Wilds & Splitting Wilds
Regular Wild symbols land on reels 2-5, while Splitting Wilds only land on the middle three reels. When Splitting Wilds hit, they split themselves and all other symbols on their reel in half, thus doubling them.
xSplit Wilds appear only on reel 5 and count as two symbols. When it lands, it cuts symbols in certain rows to the left of it in four different ways. If a symbol has already been split, the symbols are split again. If an xSplit splits an xNudge Wild, its multiplier is doubled.
If you think life should be fair, you will hate this feature. If a winning combination hits in the base or bonus game that is worth less than the base bet, then xRIP triggers, and no payout is made.
Hang 'em High scatters appear on the middle three reels, while the Boothill scatter appears only on the last reel. Landing 3 Hang 'em High scatters activates 8 Hang 'em High Freespins. Landing 2 Hang 'em High scatters converts them to Reel Split Wilds.
When 3 Hang 'em High scatters land at the same time as a Boothill scatter, then 10 Boothill Freespins are awarded. If a Boothill scatter lands without triggering the bonus round, it converts into a Cowboy symbol. This Cowboy symbol becomes wild on all reels and awards a random symbol multiplier of x5-x999.
Hang 'em High Freespins
With a triggering frequency of 1 in 194 spins (1/96 enhanced bet), this bonus round comes with a win multiplier which is increased when Wilds, Reel Split Wilds, xSplit Wilds, or xNudge Wilds hit. Multipliers remain throughout the feature and do not reset. If a Boothill scatter lands during this feature, +2 free spins are awarded, and it upgrades to Boothill Freespins. There is a 1 in 1.36 million chance to hit the win cap from this bonus round.
With a hit frequency of 1 in 85k spins (1/63k enhanced bet), triggering the Super freespins organically will be quite the challenge. This one also uses the same win multiplier rules as found in Hang 'em High Freespins. In addition, for each spin, the Cowboy symbol on the last reel turns all instances of the same symbol type on the reels wild. Also, at the start of each spin, a random multiplier of x5-x999 is generated and applied to a random Cowboy symbol. The multiplier affects the chosen Cowboy symbol and is added to the overall multiplier before the win is evaluated. For the record, there is a 1 in 16k chance to hit the 300,000x win cap from here.
If the base game gets a little too much, players have the option of buying either free spins bonus rounds. Hang 'em High Free spins cost 70x the bet and have an RTP of 96.47%, while the Boothill Free spins cost an eye-watering 3,000x and have an RTP of 97.03%.
Tombstone RIP: Slot Verdict
Tombstone RIP is one of those standout games that causes one to dig deep for a metaphor. There's a scene in a movie by Weird Al Yankovic called 'The Vidiot From UHF' where a blind guy with a Rubik's Cube asks a guy sitting next to him if he's solved it after making each twist. Playing Tombstone RIP is a bit like this when it's working against you. Worth noting is that Nolimit City were open about the challenging nature of Tombstone RIP, going so far as to call it 'unplayable'. Tombstone RIP lets you know from the moment it loads that it will be no picnic, where players have to correctly answer a humorous question before they can even enter the game. Needless to say, we had high expectations.
What happened next did not disappoint. The base game was like being slapped around for a while, collecting pennies when we were lucky, or not, due to the inclusion of the xRIP feature. Seriously, who else but Nolimit City would have the audacity to dream up something like that? It looks fantastically bleak, it plays brutal, yet lurking beneath the surface is a thrill ride no non-jackpot slot can compete with.
And yet, even when triggering bonus games, there is no guarantee something positive is going to happen. A classic example was when the first Hang 'em High bonus buy we played through led to a grand total of zero dollars. The game even has a 'Nothing' win screen reserved for these moments. As you'd imagine, bonus rounds varied wildly from then on. Hang' Em High free spins were by far the less thrilling option. They are also a lot cheaper, but Boothill Freespins could be far more intense. The way the Cowboy symbol is chosen when reels are spinning, the multiplier selected, the fifth reel is filled, then the other reels hit one by one builds some crazy anticipation – not just because of all the bonfires, bullets, x-features, and its tense soundtrack, but because potential in Tombstone RIP is something else.
If San Quentin xWays opened 2021 with a bang, Tombstone RIP uses a bag of grenades to dispatch a barrel of rats. Not 100% sure what that means, but it seems to fit with the Tombstone RIP ethos, which displayed a hanging sequence as part of its win count up. The ultimate count up occurs when El Gordo's Revenge has been triggered, happening when the win cap of 300,000x the bet has been achieved.
To sum up, calling Tombstone RIP a game might be a little too broadmindedly generous. Games imply fun, and catching Tombstone RIP on a bad day or even a normal day probably ain't going to be much fun in the usual sense of the word. Of course, having a few carefree laughs isn't the point. This is a challenging slot of the highest order, maybe best regarded as a jackpot slot, which will not be everyone's cup of tea - something Nolimit City has been crystal clear about from day one. If you're the sort of person who walks across hot coals or sleeps on a bed of nails for the lols, then Tombstone RIP is the one. Amongst Tombstone RIP's target audience, the delightfully bleak theme and cruel maths could well make it slot of the year material; others might feel safer in a saloon-room brawl.
Where Tombstone RIP deviates from the norm, and succeeds beyond expectations, is in its exceptionally brutal gameplay and its unrelieved sense of dread.