Take a walk on the wild side with Microgaming’s new Exotic Cats slot

In the land of slots, creatures can often do incredible things. In the new Exotic Cats slot from Microgaming, we have five big cats, a lion, a tiger, a panther, leopard and cougar all vying to be king of the jungle and afford the lucky player a chance to win big.

So how does this 5 Reel, 243 Ways to Win slot shape up? Will this be the king of the slot jungle for the time being, or is this a cat who roars but delivers very little bite?

Let's take a closer look and find out.

Overview

  • Game: Exotic Cats
  • Developer: Microgaming
  • Reels: 5
  • Pay Lines: 243 Ways to Win
  • Minimum Bet: 0.15
  • Maximum Bet: 30.00
  • Jackpot: 106,000
  • Free Spins Bonus: Yes
  • Other Bonuses: Yes
  • Progressive: No
  • Volatility: Medium

Presentation

The Exotic Cats slot is set deep in a jungle (although quite where this is given the geographic diaspora of the five cats in the slot, I'm not quite sure, lions are African in general, Tigers are Asian while the Cougar is more American). The backdrop is therefore somewhat dark and green and a tad murky but it does work well, especially when the Vertical Wilds bonus is triggered and the cats appear at the top of their allotted reels.

The soundtrack is mainly jungle sounds, chattering birds and monkeys and that sort of thing. It's atmospheric and when you click the spin button, a rather jaunty soundtrack plays along as the reels spin.

Overall, the presentation is neatly done but it isn't particularly ground-breaking in terms of technical achievement, that said, it is also not one of those annoying slots that will have you reaching for the mute button in record time either.

What is on the reels?

There are a number of different symbols on the reels and they start with the lower value symbols, which are the four playing card symbols with clubs and diamonds offering the lowest value wins in the game while spades and hearts offer slightly better value wins.

Alongside these symbols there are a couple of others that are lower value including a big cat paw print and a rather attractive lady.

The remaining symbols on the reels that are of interest are the five different big cat symbols and these are a lion, tiger, panther, leopard and cougar. All five exotic cats offer the same value win (up to 10x your stake for five across the reels) but where they land on the reels is crucial.

What you will notice on each of the five reels of the Exotic Cats slot is one of the five cats names. The Lion is on reel one, the Tiger on reel two, Panther on reel three, Leopard on reel four and the Cougar on reel five.

If you then land the corresponding big cat on their associated reel, then the cat will appear at the top of the reel and turn that reel entirely Wild. Of course, if you land multiple big cats on their reels, then you can turn more than one reel Wild and this is where some of the bigger value base game wins are possible, especially if you can turn three, four or even all five reels Wild. Microgaming call this feature Vertical Wilds.

Alongside these features on the reels, there are two more symbols to look out for and they are the standard Wild symbol and the in game Scatter, which both are relevant for the two other key bonus features of the slot as outlined below.

Wild features

In addition to the Vertical Wilds feature outlined above in the game, there is also a standard Wild symbol on the reels. This is the Exotic Cats logo and it can be used to replace any of the symbols on the reels apart from the scatter. It can appear on any reel on any spin but it is not stacked and does not offer a multiplier on any wins, which is a little disappointing.

The Wild can be extremely useful when used in conjunction with the Vertical Wilds bonus as this can lead to some of the better value wins in the game.

Free Spins features

The key to the Free Spins bonus round is the gold Scatter symbol and to need to trigger at least three or more of the Scatter symbols across the reels in order to land the bonus game.

Land three or more Scatters and you receive 10 Free Spins and if you land three or more Scatters during Free Spins then you will earn an additional 5 Free spins. The same bonus features such as Vertical Wilds are in operation during Free Spins and when these are triggered they can result in some big value wins.

While the Free Spins bonus is good fun, I do feel that it is too similar to the base game and I would have liked to have seen some additional bonus features in play, such as multipliers, to give the Free Spins bonus added value to the player.

Best feature of the Exotic Cats slot

There is absolutely no doubt that the best feature of the Exotic Cats slot is the five big cat Vertical Wilds bonus. The fact that this bonus is available on every spin and could turn all five of the reels Wild in both the base game and Free Spins, does give the game an edge and makes it feel like a big win is not too far away.

In truth, while hitting one of the Vertical Wilds on the reels happens regularly, hitting two or more happens far less often, but when you do hit more than one Vertical Wild, especially on the first three reels, then the rewards can be huge, even in the base game.

Add to this the Wild symbol which can crop up anywhere on the reels on any spin and which can link together the Vertical Wilds nicely to increase the value of a win, and you have a very well thought out group of Wild bonuses that makes the Exotic Cats slot great fun to play.

Conclusion

I really like what Microgaming have done with its new Exotic Cats slot. Admittedly, the game isn't the most innovative in terms of new features, even with the Vertical Wilds, but what they have done is utilise the key features of the slots, Scatter and Wilds and then added this additional level of complexity and the game works really well as a result.

The biggest benefit is that the base game is as much fun to play as Free Spins and you always feel that you stand a chance of landing a bigger value win on every spin, something that isn't always the case on some slot games. There are a couple of down sides, some very small value wins don't help matters (especially for three symbol wins) but the fact that there are often multiple wins when these land does help increase the total value of a win.

This is a decent slot from Microgaming and one that any big cat lover is sure to enjoy.

You can play this fantastic new slot at any of our Mega Moolah casinos.

Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.

Next article: Our top five Microgaming slots