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Hawaiian-themed slots are surprisingly popular, but then again what’s not to love about Hawaii’s Tiki bars, ancient history, sun-kissed beaches, and volcanoes spewing lava?
The island brought us both Dog the Bounty Hunter and Magnum PI, and it’s the inspiration behind many top slots.
One such slot is Tiki Totems by Gamesys. Set against the backdrop of a beautiful Hawaiian beach, this unusual looking slot features many symbols associated with Hawaii and its colourful history.
With up to 25 free spins available and a number of other features, how does the Tiki Totems slot, which New Jersey players can find at VirginCasino.com, stand up to the competition?
Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Overview: Tiki Totems
The first thing to note is that Tiki Totems is not a traditional slot in that it doesn’t have spinning reels. Instead, it operates the “raining reels” feature which sees symbols drop down from the top.
When a winning payline is created, the symbols involved in that disappear and are replaced by fresh symbols dropping down from above.
That said, there are still plenty of similarities to a traditional slot with a 5×3 layout and the chance to bet from $0.25 up to $100 on every spin. All the possible bets are located at the foot of the screen and you can simply click on your chosen bet each time, or click the “repeat bet” button to keep playing at your last selected stakes.
Who will the Tiki Totems slot appeal to?
New Jersey online slots players who like the raining reels feature (it is known by several different names on other slots, but the premise is the same) will love Tiki Totems as it is arguably the key feature of the slot.
Fans of all things Hawaiian, including Magnum PI, will also enjoy the slot, as will people who enjoy, cheerful, colourful and generally bright games.
In terms of prizes, Tiki Totems won’t be top of the list for people chasing huge jackpots as the biggest win is only 500x your bet. But played at higher stakes, that still represents a decent win.
Gameplay: Tiki Totems
If you were wondering, Tiki totems are the Hawaiian equivalent of the Native American totem pole, although their intricate carvings are very different to those found on the mainland.
As such, the way the “reels” are presented actually makes great sense with each three-symbol high “reel” being essentially a Tiki totem itself. The symbols are vivid and cheerful and have been chosen to represent a different facet of Hawaiian life and history.
These include a number of brightly coloured flowers (which are the in-game low symbols), a number of fish, a parrot dressed as a pirate, a Hawaiian lady.
Of course, the Tiki totem is the highest paying symbol of all with the top 500x prize landed if you land five of these on a payline.
The in-game wild symbol is the wild-haired monkey and this can be used with any of the above symbols to help create a winning payline.
The game also has a red-faced Tiki totem symbol as the in-game scatter symbol, which offers payouts of 4x, 8x, and 20x your bet if you land three, four, or five of these symbols anywhere across the reels.
The gameplay is relatively straightforward, but there are a couple of features which do give the game a lift.
The first of these is the stacked wild feature. When an entire reel disappears due to a successful spin, the three symbols are then replaced by the entire reel turning wild for the next few symbols dropping down.
Tiki Totems also has a free spins feature which is activated by landing several successive raining reels payline wins from a single spin. You need to trigger four wins in succession using the raining reels feature from a single spin to kick start the free spins feature.
The more wins you trigger in succession, the more free spins you will earn. You can earn seven, 10, 15, 20, and 25 free spins for between four and eight successive raining reels wins.
Special features: Tiki Totems
Known by plenty of other names, including “cascading reels,” this features sees the symbols drop down from above rather than spin.
Also, when a payline is hit, the symbols disappear, allowing fresh symbols to replace them from above and trigger additional paylines from the same spin.
All symbols in the game can stack on a single reel including the wilds.
But if you manage to get an entire reel to disappear using the raining reels feature, then for the next raining reels drop, that reel will turn entirely wild, giving you an even greater chance of hitting another payline.
Hit between four and eight successive raining reels wins on a single spin to unlock between seven and 25 free spins. During free spins, you can trigger up to 10 more spins in the same way.
The free spins round can prove very lucrative compared to the lesser prizes on offer in the base game.
This feature is always one of the most exciting to play as it can trigger some huge wins, especially during free spins. There are some lovely touches here too, including the monkey playing the drums to indicate a win, increasing in pitch as you climb the free spins ladder.
Sometimes on a slot less is more and the understated nature of the Tiki Totems slot works very well.
This is generally a quiet slot, but with outstanding graphics and clever use of sound effects and animation, the slot comes to life quite beautifully and keeps you playing.
They may take a little while to hit, but the free spins round is well worth sticking around for.
Big wins are possible during free spins and you can retrigger up to 10 additional free spins using the raining reels feature.
One of the biggest drawbacks to Tiki Totems is the fact that many of the base game wins are very small indeed, offering only a fraction of your total bet. This means that unless you trigger some bigger wins, or hit free spins, your balance can dwindle quickly.
The small base game jackpot of 500 coins isn’t really one to get excited about. The base game is very much the facilitator of the free spins round and when you hit that, it can prove quite rewarding, but a small jackpot in the base game is a bit of a disappointment.
Why have an autoplay feature in the free spins round and not have one available during the base game? This is a big omission and means you have to keep clicking on the spin button repeatedly to play.
It’s not ideal for the more experienced player or someone wanting a longer session.
Graphics and soundtrack: 4.5/5
There are so many things to like about the soundtrack and graphics in this game. They are beautifully presented, cleverly done with a touch of humor, and they enhance the gameplay considerably, which is what all top quality NJ online casino games should be aiming for with their presentation.
Lots of nice touches mean a high score here.
Originality and creativity: 3/5
The raining reels feature and a very nice free spins round – complete with re-triggerable spins – see this slot score well.
The stacked wilds feature also means it stands above the standard slot. There isn’t anything truly groundbreaking here, but what it offers, Tiki Totems does well.
Play value: 2/5
Probably the biggest Achilles heel of the slot is that unless you hit free spins, or trigger a run of wins in the base game, then it can prove to be expensive to play if you hit a run of smaller base game wins that pay less than your bet.
That, and a small base game jackpot, mean that you have to work hard for your wins.
Jackpot potential: 2.5/5
Although the base game jackpot is small, the winnings you could achieve in free spins are considerably higher, and you can earn some outstanding wins during free spins which does give this game a boost.
However, don’t rely on this feature for big wins as they are notoriously difficult to hit.
Repeat play: 3/5
Although your bankroll may take a hit, there’s enough in Tiki Totems to keep you coming back for more. Manage your bankroll well and you can get a lot of enjoyment from this slot, and potentially some very nice payouts too.
Total score: 15/25
Tiki Totems is a slot that doesn’t seem to offer much initially, but it grows on you as you play. The base game can be frustrating and expensive at times, but earn a big payout in free spins and you’ll be back for more in no time.