As a newer market, Michigan doesn’t have quite as broad a selection of online slots as you’ll find in, say, New Jersey. However, Michiganders will soon get to try some titles that Garden State residents don’t have, at least not yet.
Malta-based supplier Play’n Go announced earlier this week that the Wolverine State would be its launchpad in the US. It has obtained its license from the Michigan Gaming Control Board and could roll out its first titles at Michigan online casinos any day now.
There’s no word yet about a launch date or which operators have signed a partnership deal. However, big, casino-focused brands like BetMGM and Golden Nugget are probably the most likely early adopters. We’ll let you know once the games are available.
Though Play’n Go is a new arrival in the US, it has a history of international operations going back to 2005. In an interview with Gaming Intelligence about the company’s US entry, CEO Johan Törnqvist said:
Entering the US is a significant milestone. We’ve been a globally minded company from the very beginning and boast a presence in more than 25 regulated jurisdictions. It has been a remarkable journey so far; I think it is fair to say that there is now an expectation from players in regulated markets to see our content in whichever online casino they choose.
People often ask me for the “secret” of our success, but I don’t think we have one. We’ve always been very open about how we work. We focus on building great games, we don’t take shortcuts and we think long-term.
What does a “great” game look like to Play’n Go? Judging by the titles Michigan Sharp chose to test, the company’s recipe seems to be complex, feature-rich games with the potential to set off satisfying chain reactions.
Let’s take a closer look at what they may bring to Michigan.
In recent years, Play’n Go has been going after band tie-ins. The focus seems to be nostalgia for Gen X and Elder Millennials who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s.
In the company’s catalog, you’ll find:
- Def Leppard Hysteria
- KISS Reels of Rock
- *NSYNC Pop
Even with these titles, the company’s affinity for complexity is apparent.
Typically, slots featuring popular brands and musicians keep it simple mechanically, using full-column symbols and wilds to showcase the band members and branding. The soundtrack is often the main draw. (NetEnt’s Guns n’ Roses Slot is an example of this currently popular at US online casinos.)
Not so with Play’n Go’s titles. Of course, they feature the bands’ greatest hits as a soundtrack and their logos and likenesses as symbols. However, they layer this with fancy bonus mechanics you wouldn’t typically see in band-themed slots.
KISS Reels of Rock and *NSYNC Pop both have unconventional layouts, with taller reels in the middle and shorter ones at the side. They also both have elaborate free spins modes (activated by the usual scatter symbols) loaded with bonus features.
Def Leppard Hysteria is still more complicated. It’s a cascading cluster pay game with some features reminiscent of the Reactoonz Series, which is our next stop on our tour of Play’n Go’s catalog.
The Reactoonz Series
One of Play’n Go’s success stories is the Reactoonz series of games. This is a long-running line of products, dating back almost a decade:
- Energoonz (2013)
- Reactoonz (2017)
- Reactoonz 2 (2020)
- Gigantoonz (2022)
As well as being an important brand, the games exemplify Play’n Go’s maximalist design philosophy. There’s a lot going on in each game, and for a newcomer, it’s not always obvious why something happened.
Starting with Reactoonz, the games are all cascading cluster pay slots. Even Energoonz, which is more of a spiritual predecessor than a part of the main series, pays vertical as well as horizontal lines and has a cascade feature.
In all the games, making winning combinations also triggers additional features. Sometimes you’ll create more wilds or fill up a bonus meter to trigger additional random features, and so on. Particularly the later games in the series could be described as feature salad.
If you’re the type of player who likes to sit back and watch stuff happen, it’s a delight. But there’s a learning curve if you want to be fully engaged with the game and know what results you’re hoping for.
Consider the following snippet from the Gigantoonz info screen, explaining the Gargantoonz bonus feature – the last of four bonuses you activate by filling the Quantumeter:
GARGANTOONZ pays out in 2 steps, one by one after wins conclude.
Firstly, all mega symbols turn into mega GARGANTOONZ. At least 3 mega GARGANTOONZ appear, regardless of how many mega symbols are present. Additionally, 2-4 1×1 GARGANTOONZ appear. Mega GARGANTOONZ are not removed by wins.
Secondly, the mega GARGANTOONZ break down into 1×1 GARGANTOONZ, which are removed normally.
Each game has at least a half-dozen pages of such explanations. It’s a lot to wrap your head around.
How Does Reactoonz 2 Work?
It’s probably easier to get a feel for the Play’n Go style if we walk you through a specific game.
Reactoonz 2 has a 7×7 grid, and you’re trying to make clusters of five identical creatures. There are eight types of these, with four one-eyed creatures that are lower paying and four two-eyed creatures that are worth more. So far, so good.
The game’s bonus features revolve around electric wilds, which you can get in three ways:
- Uncharged wilds fall into the grid at random. These are useless until you make a match adjacent to them, at which point they become electrified.
- On each spin, one type of one-eyed creature is chosen to fluctuate. Matching the fluctuating creature creates an electric wild.
- Matching fluctuating creatures also fills the fluctometer. If it’s full when the cascade stops, it’ll create 1 to 3 more wilds for you.
Electric wilds are wild, obviously, and can match any symbol. But additionally, any creatures that get removed by a wild go into yet another meter, the Quantumeter. Confused yet?
Filling the Quantumeter to various levels will get you other types of wilds: Energoon Wilds or Gargantoon Wilds. These don’t have the special powers of the electric wilds but can come in large blocks to help score some big wins.
Finally, if you finish your cascade with two or more unused electric wilds on the grid, they’ll create a Pair Explosion. This destroys a number of non-wild symbols, potentially restarting your cascade.
Phew! As you can see, these are no ordinary slots. That kind of complexity isn’t for everyone. However, reading that description should give you an idea of whether you’ll like Play’n Go’s offerings.