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Two of the most celebrated forms of entertainment, film noir and comic books, are the inspiration behind the venerable Jack Hammer slot. Although there is now a sequel to this original game, the great news for slot fans is that this popular NetEnt slot still manages to tick all the right boxes when it comes to a fun and enjoyable few spins.
The inspiration is a fictional comic book starring the super sleuth Jack Hammer. He takes on his nemesis in the game, the evil Dr. Wuten. In a novel twist, frames from the comic serve as the symbols on the reel. Does Jack Hammer triumph over the evil doctor, or will Dr. Wuten live to fight another day? To find out, you’ll have to get the reels in motion on the slot.
Overview: Jack Hammer
The Jack Hammer slot is a 25-payline slot, which appears to have the traditional 5×3 set up. However, if you take a closer look at the reels, you’ll notice that all of the 15 symbols spin independently. Hence although this looks and plays as a standard 5×3 reel game, it is in actual fact 15 reels set up in a 5×3 matrix.
Not that this matters, the game play is still the same. But the reason the reels are set up this way becomes apparent when you land your first win. This is when the Sticky Wilds bonus kicks into play. There’s a jackpot of 250,000 coins to chase, which is a not inconsiderable sum. You can wager from as little as $0.25 per spin, up to a much larger $50.00 per spin if you prefer to play for more money.
Who will the Jack Hammer slot appeal to?
This is a slot that will have great appeal across the full range of slot players, I feel. The fact that it’s set out in a somewhat standard layout and has many of the key features that a top slot requires, particularly a free spins round, will certainly tick the boxes of those slot fans who enjoy this particular type of game.
However, there’s no denying that the Jack Hammer slot is a little more than simply a standard slot game. As I’ve mentioned before, the way the reels operate independently for each symbol and the fact that you can trigger additional respins in the Sticky Wilds section on every high and low symbol win really gives this slot a greater depth than most other games. Add to this the comic book element and you have a slot that really appeals across the full spectrum of slot gamers.
Gameplay: Jack Hammer
The Jack Hammer slot is great fun to play with a very simple premise. The game is based on a comic book. It tells of sleuth Jack Hammer’s attempts to end the maniacal dealings of the evil Dr. Wuten, which threaten an entire city. The symbols on the reels are snippets from the comic detailing different events in the story.
It sounds a little unusual for a slot game, but it has to be said that the way the slot is presented works like a dream. The game plays at a relatively fast pace. Additionally, you can use the Autoplay feature to speed things up considerably.
We’ve already mentioned that Jack Hammer is not a conventional 5×3 reel game, even though it is set up to look as such. Each of the symbols is actually a reel itself. This means there are 15 reels in play in the game. The reason for this becomes immediately apparent when you trigger the Sticky Win feature.
It may look like there’s no difference between the symbols on the reel, but there are a mix of higher and lower value symbols. The symbols with a blue/purple background are the lower paying symbols. Then there are those that contain a character in the story. There is the newsboy, the femme fatale on the phone, Dr. Wuten, and Jack Hammer himself. These higher value symbols pay out between 15 to 1,000 coins per payline.
The special features start with the Wild symbol, which is immediately obvious. The Wild is an explosion with the word “Wild” written across it. This substitutes for any of the high and low symbols to create winning paylines.
Speaking of winning paylines, any time that you trigger one, either using a Wild or not, then you will trigger the Sticky Win feature. This feature holds the symbols contributing to that win, as well as any other of the same symbols anywhere else on the reels, and respins the remaining reels. The idea being you can collect more of the winning symbols to increase the value of your win.
In addition to holding paying symbols in place, this feature can also hold three of the ticking bomb Free Spins scatter symbols in the place with a view to hitting more on the respins. The more respins, the better your chance to trigger the Free Spins bonus round.
Speaking of which, you can activate the free spins round in the Jack Hammer slot by landing between 5 and 15 of the free spins symbols across the reels. The number of free spins you win depends on the number of scatter symbols landed. Five will earn you the minimum of 10 free spins, while if you hit 9 to 15 scatters, then you trigger the maximum 30 free spins.
The Free Spins option can be triggered using the Sticky Wins option by holding scatter symbols in place and respinning non-winning reels to see if more scatters are landed.
Special features: Jack Hammer
The explosion symbol is the in-game wild.This substitutes for any high or low value symbol to create winning paylines.
Free Spins bonus
Land five or more of the ticking bomb scatter symbols to launch a free spins round which rewards you with 10 to 30 free spins, depending on how many scatters you land on the spin.
Any payline win triggers Sticky Wins, which respins all non-winning reels to see if your payline can be increased by adding more of the same reels to the win. The feature will continue to trigger until you hit a spin where you do not hit another winning symbol.
The presentation of the Jack Hammer slot is absolutely first class. The graphics, sound and cut scenes are all superbly done and although it is an older slot, they still look excellent today.
This is a brilliant feature and can increase the value of a win from a very small 3-symbol win to something involving many more symbols across multiple paylines. It should be remembered though that sometimes the Sticky Wins will trigger and your situation will not improve. However, when it does trigger well for you, the benefits can be huge.
Free Spins Round
The ability to earn between 10 and 30 free spins in a novel and unusual fashion is a nice way to access the free spins round. In addition, once you do trigger free spins, this is definitely the most likely way you will trigger a larger win on the slot.
One disappointment is that there is a lack of multipliers throughout the game. Even just adding a 2x multiplier to a win completed by a Wild, or perhaps a Multiplier tool using the Sticky Win bonus would have given the game a bit more value and made it more appealing.
Hard to hit Free Spins
The Free Spins bonus is the most likely method of a decent win on the Jack Hammer slot. However, it’s very difficult to hit five or more scatters or nine or more to trigger the maximum 30 free spins.
Low play value
What does hurt Jack Hammer in terms of your bank balance is simply that this is a more volatile game with a higher percentage of non-winning spins than a low variance 5×3 slot. Patience and good bankroll management are essential to get the best out of this slo. It’s worth it though, as you can win some big prizes if the reels fall right for you.
Graphics & soundtrack 5/5
Originality & creativity 4/5
The presentation is excellent but I think the addition of the Sticky Win bonus is a great idea. There’s also the fact that you can trigger up to 15 scatters really does give you scope to hit a lot more free spins than you would ordinarily in a standard 5×3 slot. There’s so many nice touches on the Jack Hammer slot that it scores well in terms of originality and creativity.
Play value 2/5
If there is a black mark against the Jack Hammer slot it’s that it can be a very volatile slot. At times, it can prove to be expensive to play as you don’t hit as many wins as on a standard 5×3 game. However, there is a good mix of smaller and higher value wins, it just takes time to hit the higher value wins and of course, that can prove expensive.
Jackpot potential 3/5
There is a fantastic jackpot of 250,000 coins available but it is worth remembering that the biggest coin you can play with in this slot is $0.20, so that doesn’t translate into $250,000. Even so, it’s still a healthy sized jackpot for players to chase regardless of coin size.
Repeat play 4/5
Given the clever design of the game, the hard-to-hit free spins round and the fact that Sticky Wins can give you some decent-sized base game wins, this is a game that really appeals. It has just the right mix of challenge and reward. Big wins require patience but they are achievable.
Total score: 18/25
Jack Hammer isn’t a bad slot at all, even with a relatively low play value due to the lack of regular wins. You can hit some really big wins and fans of more volatile slots will certainly enjoy this beautifully presented and clever slot game.