Xibalba

(Peter & Sons) Slot Review

Xibalba slot

Xibalba: Slot Overview

Editor’s note: This review evaluates Xibalba based on its early access state and the game may still be under development. We plan on revisiting Xibalba once it gets a full release.

Ever seen the film The Phantom Menace, and there’s that Dug who tries to take child Anakin out of the pod-race using underhanded methods? Well, the names might sound similar, but Xibalba from Peter & Sons bears no resemblance to Sebulba or much else in the George Lucas universe. Instead, Xibalba is the name of the Mayan underworld, loosely translated as ‘place of fright’, ruled over by death gods and their assistants. It was said the entrance to Xibalba is in a cave near Coban in Guatemala, so if you ever find yourself tramping those areas, be careful where you venture. If all this sounds a tad on the scary side, there is no need to worry. Peter & Sons have designed everything in their characteristically fun, cartoon-style making the trip to the underworld more cute than terrifying.

As usual, Peter & Sons has taken a frequently occurring theme and stamped their individual touch on it. This time players get a left-field interpretation of Central American culture with Peter & Sons’ fingerprints all over the place. One example is the lively characters chilling on either side of the game grid, watching over the proceedings, waving their feet at certain wins, and floating in mid-air when the bonus game is active. Even the symbols on the game panel are full of life; well, the high pays are at least. Xibalba conjures up an image of the Yucatan jungle where everything seems to be alive, endlessly driven to replicate and evolve biologically, or what some simply call livin’. Except, in this case, players are hosted in the underworld, so maybe we should scratch that mind journey altogether.

Xibalba begins every spin on a 5-reel, 3-row reel set, which expands when winning combinations hit. Initially, players get 243 ways to win, rising to 7,767 at the most when the grid has grown to its limit. The game engine is a highly volatile one, producing a theoretical return to player value of 96.2%, while stakes range from 10 p/c to £/€50.

All paying symbols, regardless of value, require at least three of a kind in adjacent reels, starting from the leftmost side of the grid. On the low side of the paytable is an assortment of five seemingly unrelated square objects worth 4 to 6 times the bet for a five of a kind. High pays consist of five animal symbols worth 10 to 100 times your stake when a line of five land. Serpents are wild, landing on reels 2, 3, 4, or 5 to replace any other symbol except the scatter. As well as regular wilds are growing wilds. These special wilds are not removed during cascades when used in a win, and whenever they appear, all symbols on top of them are replaced by wilds.

Xibalba: Slot Features

Xibalba slot

Xibalba has an expanding quality about it due to the way cascade wins trigger extra rows, ways, and win multipliers. All get a boost when free spins are triggered.

Cascades with Growing Falls

After a winning combination is paid, the symbols involved in the win are removed from the board, and new ones take their place. In addition, an extra symbol is added to the reel that participated in the win. This process repeats until no new winning combination appears, and the next spin occurs at the default reel size. Reels can grow up to 6 rows high. One more element at work here is a progressive win multiplier starting at x1 and increasing by +1 on each cascade, with no upper limit. The multiplier resets between paid spins in the base game.

Gigantor

Sun scatters appear on reels 2, 3, or 4, and the Gigantor feature is triggered when 2 scatter symbols land on adjacent reels. A respin is awarded, and the reels holding the adjacent scatters merge to create 2×2 giant symbols. If a new scatter appears, another respin is awarded where all three reels are synced into 3×3 giant symbols.

Free Spins

When 3 scatter symbols are in view at the end of a cascade sequence, 15 free spins are awarded. All of the features available in the base game are included in the bonus game, with the added benefit that the win multiplier does not reset between free spins. Should 3 scatters appear now, +15 additional free spins are awarded.

Xibalba: Slot Verdict

Trust Peter & Sons to take subject matter that’s been used on numerous occasions and do something intriguingly new with it. As always, you can spot who made Xibalba in a heartbeat, and the whole game has been designed to P&S’ typically high standard. A set of potentially thrilling features complements the one-off aesthetics; all backed up by significant winning possibilities. On the whole, it’s a hard game to fault. Perhaps the only drawback would be if you don’t like the graphical style, in which case, steer clear of anything with the name Peter & Sons on it because this is well and truly their jam.

The Growing Wild feature proved to be one of the most exciting things about Xibalba. If you can catch it on a roll, you can get some really nice consecutive win chains as rows are added and new wilds appear on the wild stack, opening up additional ways in the process. Get a bunch of Growing Wilds at the same time as a decent win multiplier, and good things can happen. Also good is the way nearly everything in the bonus game is available in the base game, though if it happens in free spins, there is a chance of already having a sizable win multiplier in place when Growing Wilds hit. There is definite potential in Xibalba as a result. The game docs state the most won in a billion simulated game rounds was 10,000x, yet oddly the game advertises wins of over 20,000x.

Like clockwork, Peter & Sons has knocked out another highly playable slot in their individual style. Xibalba has a distinct look unlike any other Mayan themed game, is filled with colourful characters, emphasising features that function fine on their own but can really shine when working in tandem.

Good

Once again, Peter & Sons mix the right amount of gameplay, math, and original looks to create a distinctly playable game in Xibalba.

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