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Every now and then there comes along a slot where the substance of the game and how it is put together and works as a single entity overrides what the game is about, to the point where the topic of the slot is almost entirely meaningless. In Bloom is a great example of this. This is a game which seems to be simply about flowers, but which hides some outstanding gameplay and hugely enjoyable features.
I must admit, when I heard the title of this slot I did wonder if there was any link to the Nirvana song of the same name (having recently reviewed a number of pop-star related slots). While Seattle’s finest has nothing to do with this 40-payline slot, it certainly caught the eye and outlined below is exactly why.
Overview: In Bloom
What you have here appears to be a 5×3 reel slot with 40 paylines. While the number of paylines is entirely correct, what you actually have are 15 individual reels arranged into a 5×3 reel matrix. The game plays as a 5×3 reel slot, only each symbol is on an individual reel. This is a small but important difference, especially when it comes to landing the Free Spins bonus game.
One thing to note here is that you’ll need to pay a premium for some features on the In Bloom slot to have them in play. Hence, the actual minimum bet is 40 of your chosen coin value. Add to that the 10 extra coins for the features, and it makes it a 50-coin bet. That does mean this is a slot that has to offer good returns due to that 20% premium paid on standard spins.
Who will the In Bloom slot appeal to?
Flowers are a surprisingly common theme in the slot world. In Bloom takes a slightly more realistic perspective on the horticultural genre than say a slot like Flowerz, which is a more cartoon-styled slot. In the In Bloom slot all the flowers are depictions of real flowers. This makes it feel like a more ‘grown up’ game than the other.
That’s backed up by the number of features on the slot, which are rare to find. This means that In Bloom is a slot which is perfect for players who are seeking a game with something very different to the standard 5×3 reel slot. There’s also an exciting Free Spins game, with an additional feature at the end of the game. These can also offer decent rewards for players that enjoy slots with the potential to award decent-sized wins.
Gameplay: In Bloom
Once you’ve selected the size of coin you want to play with (which can be as little as $0.50 up to a maximum bet of $2,500) then you can get the reels spinning. At those prices, this is a slot which has the broadest range of appeal. It’s cheap enough for smaller stakes players but with enough range to attract higher rollers too.
As we have said, although the reels are set out in a 5×3 matrix, you actually have 15 independent reels. This is easy to see when you click Spin, as each individual reel spins on its own. The backdrop is a rather stylized mountain backdrop. This is rather pleasing on the eye with flowers all around the boundary of the reels.
The lower value symbols are the playing card low symbols, from 9 through ace. These offer a payout of 2 coins for four on a payline, up to 15 coins for five on a payline.
Higher value symbols are the four different types of flowers on the reels. There are Water Lilies, Roses, Calla Lilies and Poppies. However, what is special about these symbols is that when you land two or more on a payline from the first reel, these symbols can bud forth more flowers. This is due to the Symbol Burst feature.
Symbol Burst feature
What happens here is that when you land a winning payline using one of the four higher value flower symbols, the flower will “bloom.” This allows you to land up to five individual flowers per symbol. The more flowers you land on each of your symbols and cumulatively across the payline, the greater the value of your win.
However, what you need to know is that the column the flowers appear in define how many flowers can appear on that symbol. One or two flowers can appear in all columns. Three of the flowers can appear on columns 2,3 and 4. Four or five flowers can only appear on the third reel.
This means you can land between 3 and 15 flowers on a payline. The size of your win can increase from 2 coins for 3 Water Lily flowers up to 1,000 coins if you can land 15 Poppies on a payline.
In addition to this feature, there is also a Garden Bonus. This is triggered when you land two or more of the Butterfly Scatter symbols on the third reel. If you land just one scatter, a butterfly may appear and flutter onto the reels to trigger the bonus.
During Free Spins you get to select one of the four flowers and the different number of free spins they offer. The higher the potential payout of the flower, the smaller the number of free spins offered. Once you have completed the free spins round you then trigger the Bonus Bump feature. This allows you to win between 1 and 50 times your total bet by picking one item on the screen.
Special Features: In Bloom
The Symbol Burst feature is triggered on any win using one of the four higher value flower symbols. Each symbol can bud between one and five flower heads. The total win is based on the number of flower heads that comprise the payline. The greater the number the higher the value of the win.
Free Spins Garden Bonus
Land two or more of the Scatter symbols on the third column of the reels and you win the free spins Garden Bonus. Here you can select one of the four flowers and receive between 5 and 12 free spins.
At the end of the Free Spins bonus you trigger the Bonus Bump game. This provides an additional payout of between 1x and 50x the bet that triggered the Free Spins bonus on top of what you already have won in the Free Spins Bonus round. Simply select a flower to reveal your prize.
I like the presentation of the In Bloom slot a great deal. It’s done in a way that resembles artwork and the impression works very well. The features are animated very nicely and done in a way that doesn’t immediately show you their value.
Symbol Burst feature
The Symbol Burst feature in the base game is really what gives the game its value. Seeing your win increase as the flower heads bloom is a real positive. And the fact that you can trigger these wins on multiple paylines across all the reels means that you get a good mix of wins in terms of the value of each win too.
In Bloom is a slot that is more medium to low variance. This means that you do win relatively frequently. Over time the play value of the slot is very good. There is a nice mix of lower and higher value wins too which keeps you invested in what’s happening on the reels.
Lack of multipliers
It would have been nice had there been some element of multiplier involved. This is especially true for the lower value base game wins (those that do not pay the same amount as your stake). These low value wins could have been increased and bigger wins more valuable even with a simple 2x multiplier available.
No Wild symbol
The lack of Wild symbol on the reels is probably the biggest issue with the slot. Though having said that, regular wins mean that this isn’t as big an issue as it could have been.
Few bigger wins
Low and medium value wins are relatively easy to come by on the In Bloom slot. However, hitting those bigger value wins of 12 or more flowers on a payline is very difficult to achieve and come along very infrequently.
Graphics & soundtrack 4/5
In Bloom is a perfect example of what can be achieved with a relatively simple slot done well. The graphics are nicely designed. The animations that accompany them on a win are also very nicely done. The soundtrack is jaunty and enjoyable without becoming repetitive and annoying.
Originality & creativity 4/5
There’s a lot of novel features on the In Bloom slot. In particular there is the Symbol Burst feature. I also like the fact that you can select your Free Spins bonus game and the bonus payout available every time you finish Free Spins. This is a novel idea that works exceptionally well on the slot.
Play value 3/5
The play value of the In Bloom slot is variable. In general, over the long term, it’s a decent value game. Most wins come in the lower to middle bracket in terms of value. The higher value wins are very difficult to hit and only come along every so often. So this isn’t a slot that rewards you hugely too often.
Jackpot potential 3/5
Although you can win up to 1,000 coins on a payline, you can win this across multiple paylines. So you can win up to 40,000 coins on a single spin if you get incredibly lucky. Your chances of hitting that bigger value win increase markedly in Free Spins where only the flower you select is on the reel along with the lower value symbols.
Repeat play 4/5
In Bloom is definitely a slot you will come back to time and time again. It is a game that grows on you as you play and which offers you a lovely balance between risk and reward.
Total score: 18/25
Bloom is a hugely enjoyable slot with a number of novel and exciting features which will have you coming back to play a few more spins time and time again. It is a medium to lower variance game with the potential for some bigger value wins, but which regularly rewards players with decent mid-range wins more often. This is a fun and enjoyable slot to play.