Top Cat Most Wanted: Slot Overview
It’s strange to think the animated Hanna-Barbera cartoon Top Cat originally aired way back in 1961. The mischievous gang of cats have turned up in a bunch of reruns ever since, their dated hijinks as amusing as ever. Top Cat and the bunch were forever trying to make a buck, no matter how shady the scam, much to the consternation of local copper Officer Dibble. They’re now back, again, courtesy of developer Blueprint Gaming who has a recurring connection to the show.
This isn’t the first time Top Cat has appeared in a slot from this studio. There is a classic Blueprint version with a ton of features and one made for their Pub Fruit series. To confuse things even further, today’s one, Top Cat Most Wanted, turns out to be a clone of the old Fishin’ Frenzy slot of which their is also a Megaways version called Fishin' Frenzy Megaways. The deeper you dive, the more layers of redundancy magically appear. One thing seems clear, someone at Blueprint is a major Top Cat fan.
There could be only one location for a Top Cat slot - Hoagy’s Alley, a ramshackle little lane off-off-Broadway in one of Manhattan’s many back streets. There the cats lived, feasting from garbage cans, while cracking wise, and hatching hare-brained get rich quick schemes. The view here is a lot like Blueprint’s first Top Cat slot, though the 5-reel, 10-payline grid takes up more of the screen, so there is less of New York’s skyline in the background. Adding a layer of class is a bossa nova backing track, not quite the cartoon’s theme, but a more laid back rendition.
A wide variety of bets are on offer from 10 p/c up to £/€200 per spin, on any device. Since this is Fishin’ Frenzy in all but appearance, the math model reels off the same stats as its older counterpart. It means a respectable RTP of 96.12% coupled with medium volatility. No official hit rate was available, which would have been nice to see. You might expect more frequent wins than what you get with this level of volatility. Testing turned up surprisingly long patches of dead spins, which kind of made sense when fishing, yet gets tedious in an alley. Especially since there are so few extra features with literally nothing added in the base game to get excited about.
Symbol values are Top Cat Most Wanted’s only saving grace during the main game, well, the premiums at least. The paytable consists of 9 regular pay symbols, plus 6 wanted cat symbols. That’s a lot of symbols vying for the space, making it tough to hit combinations on one of the ten fixed paylines. What helps is the 6 cat symbols payout when any three line up on one of them. All other symbols need at least 3 of a kind as well, except the top-paying logo, needing only two.
Starting from the bottom, players get 10-A royals, followed by the six cats as the lower-paying symbols. Fish bones, garbage bins, bags of money and the logo are next with values ranging from 50 to 200 times the stake for five of a kind. That is literally it for the base game, on to the features.
Top Cat Most Wanted: Slot Features
There are nowhere near as many features in this version as there was with the original. If you’ve played Fishin’ Frenzy before, then you’ll know precisely what to expect – free spins bolstered by a symbol collection feature.
To access free spins, you’ll need 3 or more bonus symbols in view. More is better since 3, 4, or 5 in view award 10, 15, or 20 Double Trouble Free Spins respectively.
During free spins, Officer Dibble makes his appearance as the wild, substituting for any pay symbol to make a winning combo. In addition, if Dibble lands at the same time as the cat wanted symbols, whatever values they display are collected. If more than one Dibble symbols lands at once, the symbol values are collected again. Hopefully, Dibble does his duty properly when the feature is active because free spins cannot be retriggered.
On a final note, Dibble is also the most valuable symbol in the game. For one he pays out 1x the bet for 2 of a kind, up to 500 times the stake for a group of five of a kind.
Top Cat Most Wanted: Slot Verdict
Not so sure about this one. If you remember the cartoon show, it might be fun to play for a bit to see those zany felines up on the reels again. You get a few voice-overs, and the big bright graphics convey some of the freewheeling spirit of the tv program. Enthusiasm wears thin fast, though. Wins don’t seem to come through often enough in a game with so few features to hold much interest.
It’s hard to shake the feeling the Top Cat Most Wanted is a little superfluous. It doesn’t add much to the Fishin Frenzy family tree, or the Top Cat range of slots. Sure, Dibble catching cats, like a fisherman reeling in fish makes sense, but does that tenuous connection justify the cloning procedure? As to potential, the most you can win from Top Cat is £250,000 or 50,000 times the stake, though this is standard small print in a Blueprint title and seems unlikely to ever happen here even by a longshot. Fishin’ Frenzy had max payouts of 2,000x which is a lot more realistic.
Top Cat Most Wanted is a nice looking game, competent enough at what it is - a Fishin Frenzy clone, but after a while, it’s hard not to wonder what the point was. Well, other than Blueprint getting some more mileage out of the license, yet there is nothing new or very exciting about Top Cat Most Wanted from a player’s perspective.
Top Cat Most Wanted captures some of the spirit of the show, but does end up feeling like Blueprint developed it simply to squeeze a bit more juice out of the license.