Tropicool: Slot Overview
If you work in the travel industry, you'll be used to people coming in asking to be taken somewhere hot. It doesn't matter exactly where, as long as it's within budget and has a warm climate. The desire to visit somewhere colder is much rarer. This being the case, maybe holidaymakers can learn a lesson from ELK Studio's Tropicool, which sees two characters make do in their frosty hometown, shunning the need to travel abroad.
Tropicool is a 6x6 grid game located on a peculiar island off the coast of Antarctica. The inhabitants of this wintery wonderland, Tony Toucano, and Fiona Flamingo got fed up migrating each year and decided to make the most of their patch. They've made a little paradise out of the snowy surrounds, stacking it with palm trees, beach huts, frozen fruit, and snowflakes. It sounds odd, but it works to give Tropicool character on an island that does look tranquil - cold, though. An exceptionally well-made (and laid-back) soundtrack adds extra chill, breaking into a bit of reggae occasionally when the action heats up.
For a lot of the time, the action is fairly relaxed, but medium+ volatility (rated 7 of10) means Tropicool can thaw at any moment to go crazy. Wins land at a consistent rate of 23.1%, each hit triggering an avalanche wins system, while the overall return to player value is 95% whether played in normal or bonus mode.
It might look like a grid slot at first, yet Tropicool is actually a regularly run slot, where three or more matching symbols on adjacent reels trigger a payout. There are no paylines to keep track of, so symbols can line up in any row, producing 46,656 ways to win. As such, symbol values aren't overly impressive on their own, though they are enhanced by the number of ways and the fact sizeable multipliers can crop up in free spins.
Most of the symbols are fruit-based, such as plums coloured blue, green, yellow, and red, topped by apples, coconuts, then strawberries. Getting a line of 6 of these symbols is worth a payout of 0.3 to 2x your stake. The other two pay symbols are Tony and Fiona, which land three positions high to create wins of 0.9x to 1.2x the bet for a line of 6. One good thing about the two characters is they pay from any position, as long they are fully in view.
Tropicool: Slot Features
Avalanches cause special symbols to drop into the game from the feature reel, while bonus symbols trigger free spins boosting payouts with a progressive multiplier. On top of that is ELK's X-iter menu, which provides 5 bonus game modes.
The avalanche feature blasts winning symbols off the board, so new ones tumble into the gaps, potentially causing consecutive wins. As all of that is going on, keep an eye on the feature reel located above the reels; when cascades occur, if there is a space below a special symbol on this reel, it drops onto the reels. This could be a regular wild, a wild multiplier of x2-x5, a locked wild which stays on the grid for a set number of wins, or a row swap symbol. The row swap symbol picks one of the symbols (wilds and bonus symbols excluded) in its row and turns all others into the chosen one.
The big' B' is the bonus symbols, and when 3, 4, 5, or 6 are in view, players are awarded 10, 15, 20, or 25 free drops, respectively. Two symbols make their way onto the feature reel during free spins – an extra spin symbol adding +1, +2, or +5 free drops, or win multiplier symbols, increasing the win multiplier by +1, +2, or +5. When triggering free spins naturally, the win multiplier starts at x1 and does not reset between drops.
X-iter allows players buy-ins to 5 different game modes:
- A guaranteed win can be bought for 5x the bet.
- A game round with 3 locked wilds initially dropping in costs 25x the bet.
- Triggering free drops with 3 -6 bonus symbols costs 100x.
- Triggering free drops with 3-6 bonus symbols and a starting win multiplier of x5 costs 200x the bet.
- Triggering free drops with 3-6 bonus symbols and a starting win multiplier of x10 costs 500x the bet.
The return rate for all X-iter game modes remains the same at 95% RTP.
Tropicool: Slot Verdict
While not as out there as some of ELK's mind benders, Tropicool is nevertheless a rather unique game, mashing together a theme and mechanical combination not seen elsewhere. The build quality is as high as we've come to expect from ELK, meaning crystal clear high-definition graphics, seamless animation, and silky smooth audio. There is a touch of Cluster Slide about the way the feature reel spins, but without the grid tilt causing motion sickness.
It might not be as maniacal or pack anywhere as many win ways as Nitropolis or Nitropolis 2, but interestingly, all three games offer the same potential rewards of up to 10,000x the bet. The game-changer in Tropicool is its win multiplier which got as high as x20 during testing. That was starting on x10 from a Super Bonus, though – and still failed to break even. The RTP needs to be mentioned as well, which, at 95%, probably is on the limit of what some players might tolerate.
One thing to be aware of about X-citer, if you click one of the bonus modes, it will stay in that mode until you exit it. So, if you've just finished a Super Bonus, clicking the spin button won't activate a regular drop; it will deduct 500x from your account and launch another Super Bonus. It might be clear from some, but it's just something to be aware of to avoid any potentially costly mistakes.
In short, there is nothing overly negative to report about Tropicool, which turns out to be a well-designed, singular game. Whether it becomes the catalyst for increased staycations or holidays to colder destinations remains to be seen.
Tropicool is a colorful and cartoonish adventure offering up plenty of goodhearted fun.