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Slots tend to fall into two categories — those that attempt to provide a realistic and atmospheric look at their main theme and those that take a more comical approach. I often find that it is the latter that not only offers a more enjoyable experience, but also has the better features.
A great example of this is the unheralded Texas Tea slot from IGT. Although perhaps not one of its best-known games, this oil-inspired slot has lovely touches and genuinely funny moments as you play along. Granted, it is looking its age a little now, but does it still offer the chance of hitting a gusher of a win? Let’s find out.
Overview: Texas Tea
The theme of Texas Tea is oil. The titular phrase is a slang term for oil, and the reels feature a number of symbols to do with Texas and with the main character of the slot, oil baron Texas Ted.
This is a five-reel slot with up to nine paylines in play (you can play one, three, five, or nine), and you can bet from $0.01 up to $100 per line on the game, giving you a wide range of betting options. Lower value symbols are the native flora and fauna of the Lone Star state, while Texas Ted’s car, airplane, plus a Texas longhorn cow, and a cheery armadillo are the higher value symbols.
Who will the Texas Tea slot appeal to?
Texas Tea will have real appeal for fans of retro slot games. The graphics, plus the fact that it is only a nine-payline game, make it look slightly older.
That’s not a bad thing though: Texas Tea is well done, and the uncommon bonus games are great fun. Add to this the humor and the cartoon presentation, and you have a slot that will have far-reaching and enduring appeal.
Gameplay: Texas Tea
The first thing to decide on Texas Tea is how many lines to play. As always, the more you can play the better, so I’d always choose all nine paylines for my spins. You can then tailor your bet using the Line Bet option.
Once that is sorted, you can click the spin button or you can use the handy Autospin feature, which will allow you to run through up to 50 spins automatically.
The layout of the reels is nice, with oil derrick supports on either side of the reels. In addition to the aforementioned low and high symbols, there are some additional symbols to be aware of; they can trigger some of the slot’s most playable features.
The first of these is the Wild symbol — the Texas Tea symbol (the state of Texas). This symbol substitutes for the high and low value symbols to create winning paylines. It’s also is the highest-paying symbol in the base game. Five of these across a payline gives you the 10,000-coin jackpot. The wild symbol is important in the base game because it tends to trigger many wins you would not ordinarily get through standard symbols alone.
The second symbol to look out for is the bonus symbol — the oil derrick against a red background. When you land three or more of these on a winning payline (and it has to be on a payline), you trigger the Big Oil bonus game.
In this game you get to place three, four, or five oil derricks, depending on how many bonus symbols you land on the reel in different parts of the state of Texas. Each of the derricks you place will then pump oil. As the oil collects, it will award you a win of between five and 100 (for three derricks), 200 (for four) and 495 (for five derricks) coins. These coins are then accumulated from each of the derricks, and your total win is revealed.
The other bonus feature is triggered by landing three or more Texas Ted scatter symbols on the reels. This triggers an Oil Dividend bonus where you will receive between 3x and 100x your stake as a cash reward based on the number of scatter symbols you land and random chance.
The gameplay is speedy and enjoyable with rousing musical accompaniment when you spin the reels. However, it should be noted there isn’t a free spins round.
Special features: Texas Tea
Texas Tea wild
The Texas Tea wild symbol can be used to substitute for high and low symbols to create additional winning paylines. Land five of these across a payline to win the base game jackpot of 10,000 coins.
Oil Dividend bonus
Land three or more of the Texas Ted symbols on a payline to trigger the Oil Dividend bonus. Depending on how many symbols you land and random chance, you will win an amount of between 3x and 100x your total stake.
Big Oil bonus
Land three or more of the oil derricks on a payline and you trigger the Big Oil bonus. Here you get to place three, four, or five derricks (depending on how many symbols you landed to trigger the bonus) on a map of Texas. Each derrick will pump an amount of oil, which is translated to a coin value. These values are collated to offer you your total cash bonus.
Although basic, I think the presentation of Texas Tea works very well. The symbols are nicely done in a cartoon style. This helps the humor in the slot shine through and gives the game added appeal. The bonus games work well. The little touches, such as the oil dripping down the screen in between cut scenes, all work very smoothly.
Two bonus games
Both the bonus games, the Oil Dividend bonus and the Big Oil bonus, drive interest beyond the base game, which can be a tad repetitive when you can’t hit one of the bonus features.
Base game wild
The base game is made immeasurably more enjoyable with the wild symbol. It can not only offer a chance of landing the base game jackpot, but also creates many of the base game wins thanks to its ability to replace high and low symbols.
It really depends on the whim of fate how tight or generous this slot plays, with a variance of between 86 and 96 percent RTP. That high variance can mean very, very lean sessions or rare substantial profits.
No free spins
As one of the older slots from IGT, Texas Tea doesn’t offer any free spins round. That is something of an oversight as these features are hugely attractive for most modern slot gamers.
Unfortunately, with the lack of a free spins round, there’s not much to aim for on Texas Tea other than trying to hit the bonus features. While these are a welcome relief, the gameplay itself becomes a little repetitive after a while.
Graphics and soundtrack: 2.5/5
The graphics and soundtrack fit the tone of the slot very well and don’t detract from the game. However, they are somewhat basic compared to modern games.
Originality and creativity: 3.5/5
Although this is an older slot that lacks some of the features of top modern slots, I think it has oodles of originality. Both the bonus games are excellent and keep you interested, while the wild symbol helps create decent wins in the base game.
Play value: 2.5/5
The big problem with this slot is its volatility. It can play extremely generously and extremely tight. As such, we can only give it half marks.
Jackpot potential: 2.5/5
10,000 coins is not to be sniffed at, especially when you are playing for a decent amount on a line bet, but it does not compare with some of the massive jackpots available on other slots nowadays.
Repeat play: 4/5
Despite the issues with play value and a lack of free spins, I think there’s enough in this slot to keep you coming back for more. Texas Tea is charming, enjoyable, and has some innovative bonus games to keep you hitting the spin button.
Total Score: 15/25
Texas Tea is a very enjoyable slot. While it has its down sides, it is also charming and enjoyable to play. These attributes leave a lasting impression and will ensure you want to play this slot again.