Microgaming and Crazy tooth Studios have broken the mould with The Incredible Balloon Machine online slot game. The standard reels / paylines grid is nowhere to be seen, instead, a single balloon sits atop the spin button. Steampunk-style copper piping creates a winding border against a cloudy sky. The theme music for the slot is light and pleasant, changing to a more frantic tempo when special features are activated. Instead of spinning reels, you will use the spin button to inflate balloons, ideally without popping them, in order to collect your winnings. The game features random multipliers and a pick bonus mode to help you win more and more often.
Balloons of various colourful shades stand in place of symbols in this slot. A meter, divided into green, yellow and red segments sits below the spin button. You need to inflate the balloon past the green segment, into the yellow, in order for your bet to be placed, and the balloon will start gathering value from that point onward. The longer you hold down the spin button, the bigger the balloon gets in size and value. Releasing the spin button stops the inflation and assigns the value of the balloon to your winnings. The balloon can pop at any time, so you will need a combination of luck and discretion to maximise your winnings in the base game.
The only different ‘symbol’ in the game is a golden/black balloon which triggers the pick bonus mode that we will elaborate on further down…
The multiplier feature is randomly triggered throughout the game. A set of light bulbs appears on either side of the balloon, showing multiplier values ranging from x2 to x10. Once you have released your balloon, the bulbs flash in sequence until one of them is chosen, applying the multiplier value to your winnings.
When a gold and black balloon randomly appears, and if it inflates to full size, it will trigger the pick bonus mode. Now various balloons appear on the screen and when you pop them, you will receive a coin credit or a 2x multiplier prize. Some of the balloons contain “advance” icons that give you another round of fresh balloons to pop for prizes or a “complete” icon which ends the bonus feature.
The novelty value of The Incredible Balloon Machine slot game is undeniable. It is certainly exciting to play a slot that takes a unique approach to gameplay; however, novelty alone doesn’t necessarily make for an excellent experience. The slot has medium volatility and above-average RTP, so if the game mechanics appeal to you, you should have a fairly good time of popping balloons for cash. The visual theme of this title does feel a bit sparse, opting for a minimalistic approach to highlight the game’s singular mechanism.
The pick bonus and multiplier features add welcome breaks to a base game that can start feeling mundane for the lack of traditional features such as free spins. Ultimately it is hard to judge how this title will be received. Opinions are likely to be polarised, you will either love the games novel approach or hate it. Once the novelty of the balloon inflating wears off, there isn’t much left to excite when it comes to this title, but if you’re into niche games, this should give you the enjoyment you crave.