Willy’s Hot Chillies: Overview
’Hot tamales and they're red hot, yeah she got 'em for sale.' So sang Red Hot Chilli Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis in the cover song They're Red Hot. Okay, a tamale isn't exactly a chilli, but it can be just as hot. It's a close enough reference to lead into the Mexican fiesta themed slot Willy's Hot Chillies from developer NetEnt.
The Mexican theme is no stranger to the reels; NetEnt themselves organised a Central American shindig in their older slot Spinata Grande. Whilst that one did receive fairly positive response from the gaming audience in general, Spinata Grande hasn't exactly gone down in history as one of NetEnt's best titles. Let's see if Willy's is the better party.
Right away its obvious NetEnt has gone for a similar, light-hearted experience with Willy's Hot Chillies which is played using a basic format of 5-reels and 20-paylines. It's bright, friendly, with a basic smartphone type of vibe going. The endless Frogger video game Crossy Road comes to mind. If you've played that one, then you'll recognise the simple, blocky look. Willy's Hot Chillies is not exactly cutting edge, but its pleasantly clean visuals match the playful theme. As does the festive soundtrack, which is heavy on the mariachi flair.
Things start to get serious when it comes to selecting bets. Where available, high rollers can set stakes as high as £/€400 per spin, while lower rollers can join in from 20 p/c. All can enjoy an RTP of 96%, which is decent, but a bit lower (by 0.84%) than Spinata's was for those keeping score. You won't find the rockingist fiesta on the block, due to the low/medium volatility, or the modest potential we'll cover soon.
Mexican icons abound on the grid, well, somewhat clichéd ones at least. There are eight regular pay symbols involved, split into four low pays and four high pays. Low pays consist of card suits that look like pizza toppings – hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds.
The four premiums are mainly party symbols such as tacos, hot sauce, a piñata, and a chest of gold. A little out of place, perhaps, but the chest is the most valuable of the lot. With Willy, value is a relative term since a line of five chests is only worth 3 times the stake. Indeed, low values all-round, though some of the features can boost payouts to a degree.
Willy’s Hot Chillies: Features
When it comes to features, Willy's Hot Chillies is all about multiplier wilds and Willy's Hot Wheel. Multiplier wilds can substitute for any symbol except the bonus and come in several denominations – x2, x3, x4, or x5. If 2 or more multiplier wilds appear on a winning bet line, their multipliers are added together. They can also appear stacked on reels 2, 3, 4 or 5 covering from one position up to a full reel.
The pinnacle of the party occurs when a bonus symbol lands on reel one at the same time as a reel covered in multiplier wilds. When that happens, Willy's Hot Wheel is activated, and any full reel of multiplier wilds turn into a Fire Pointer. The number of spins awarded is equal to the total amount of the multipliers on the wild stack. So if it was made up of three x4 multipliers, players would pick up 12 spins.
Willy's Hot Wheel spins horizontally above the reels and is covered in several reward types. Whatever lines up the Fire Pointers when the wheel stops spinning is awarded. The round also comes with a progressive Chillie Multiplier which multiplies all wins by x1 to start with. The rewards on Willy's Hot Wheel include:
- Coin Wins - award 1 to 30 times the total bet.
- +3 Spins - add three more spins to the Fire Pointer.
- Extra - turns one of the other reels into a Fire Pointer.
- Chillie Multiplier - each of these symbols increases the Chillie Multiplier by +1.
The Wheel also contains blank spaces, so you don't win something on every single spin. The round is over when the number of spins on the Fire Pointers runs to zero. Then the total reward from the round is paid out.
Willy’s Hot Chillies: Verdict
It was hard not to feel a little let down after spinning Willy's Hot Chillies. It's got a great name, and the cute, friendly visuals create a nice first impression. Doubts arose after a visit to the paytable revealed the low-value symbol wins. From there, the rest of the game struggled to catch back up.
To be fair, Willy can be fun, but there are few genuinely hot moments. The result is more like a watery jalapeno than a Carolina Reaper, meaning Willy’s Hot Chillies could have been a lot better than it was.
Plus points are the charming looks and festy vibe, though they may be a little too cartoony than some would like. The main issues lie with the poor win line values and the generally low potential overall. Multiplier wilds are a boon to be sure, and stacking the grid in x5 wilds as well as treasure chests nets a cool 1,200x.
How likely it is to achieve a stunning spin like that is a pertinent question though. It means Willy's Hot Chillies probably isn't a game you play for massive wins. Or massive thrills either really. The bonus game appears promising at first, but after a few spins on Willy's Hot Wheel produced a bunch of low/mediocre returns, enthusiasm took a hit.
Yet, set the right expectations, and Willy's Hot Chillies could be good for a fairly relaxed night in. Amongst all the brutally volatile titles flooding the market, Willy might suit some low key gaming in a fun environment. It's hard to stay motivated for anything more than that though.
Willy’s Hot Chillies may appear spicy, but feels better suited to those who say they like hot food, yet struggle with a mild Peri-Peri sauce.