Ultimate Ink (WMS): Overview
At first glance, Ultimate Ink seems like just about any other 5 reel slot. But then, as you look for the stake button to prepare for battle, all you can find is a mysterious Reel Cost button and start tinkering with that instead. And when you do, nothing seems to make sense anymore. Now, there are two types of players - those that will read the paytable to find some answers, and the impatient ones that'll just hit the spin button to see what happens.
But let's just rewind a bit before we get the technical details sorted out. Developed by legendary provider WMS, Ultimate Ink is a 5x4, 1024 win ways slot with a rather unusual tattoo-related theme. It's not that it's never been done before. For example, Microgaming launched Hot Ink way back when, but still, it's not a theme you see once per week like you do with ancient Egypt for example. Either way, it comes with a free spins bonus where you can benefit from plenty of retriggers and where wild multipliers can combine to boost your winning combinations with up to 9x. If activated by the operator, you also have a chance to land randomly triggered progressive jackpots. Ultimate Ink can be played from as little as 1 cent to 100€ per spin.
WMS has done a great job with the visual design we have to say and have managed to convey quite a cozy atmosphere. Set inside a tattoo parlour and with a bluesy soundtrack playing, symbols on the reels include 9 to A royals in the style of traditional knuckle letters. You'll also see a selection of classic tattoo motifs such as anchors, hearts, sailing ships, betty girls and skulls. The latter is the most rewarding, delivering 7.5 times your stake for a 5 of a kind combination. The skull symbol is also the only symbol that appears fully stacked on the reels. The wild, which only appears on reels 2, 3 and 4, substitutes for all symbols except the scatter.
Ultimate Ink (WMS): Features
Ultimate Ink allows you to set your bet size with a combination of the Reel Cost button and the Bet Per Reel button. Your total bet will be the cost of a reel multiplied by the bet per reel. Select the number of reels to play with by choosing the reel cost. The reel cost is a multiplier which is displayed as 1x, 5x, 10x, 20x or 40x. Then select the bet per reel to determine the total bet for the spin. Only symbols which land on an active reel will be awarded, with the exception of the scatter symbols which will be awarded even if they land on an inactive reel. The number of reels selected also decides the RTP, ranging from 95.93% with only 1 reel activated to 96.47% with all reels activated. Moreover, when 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 reel configurations are selected, there are 4, 16, 64, 256 and 1024 active paylines respectively.
Land 3, 4, or 5 scatter symbols anywhere in view to trigger the Free Spins Bonus - this will award 8, 15 or 20 free spins, respectively. During the Free Spins Bonus, land at least 2 scatter symbols anywhere on the reel set to be awarded additional free spins. Any additional free spins won will be added to the amount of free spins remaining.
During the Free Spins Bonus, each wild symbol part of a winning combination will multiply the payout by 2x or 3x. This is accumulative for each wild symbol that lands on selected reels, which means your winning combinations can get a multiplier boost of up to 9x.
Finally, there is the Mega Drop that consists of three progressive jackpots - these are the Minor, Major and Epic jackpots. For each spin, a proportion of the player's total bet is contributed towards the progressive jackpots. The Mega Drop jackpots each have payout values before which they must drop. By the time the progressive jackpot reaches its maximum payout amount it will have been awarded to a player.
Ultimate Ink (WMS): Verdict
Not counting the progressive jackpots, Ultimate Ink should, in theory at least, be capable of delivering quite significant wins with the combined strength of the wild multipliers and stacked skull symbols. Even so, it's not a very fun slot to play to tell the truth. It feels awkward to play, win count-ups are slow and in those markets where regulations require delayed spins, it just doesn't feel as optimized as it could have been.
The whole Reel Cost setup comes across as rather pointless too. It's there to give players a sense of control and to offer a way to customize the gameplay, but instead, it adds to the confusion and makes the game much more complicated than it needs to be. It really doesn't add any value to the overall experience, thus a fixed 5-reel, 1024 setup would have been preferred. With so many good games out there screaming for our attention, Ultimate Ink is not a slot we'll rush to play.
Ultimate Ink is a typical case of style over substance.