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Game review: Bubble Craze by IGT
It’s rare to see a slot machine break away from the tried-and-true reels and rows. IGT provides something interesting with their arcade and match-three inspired game: Bubble Craze slots.
With a simple matching scheme, it throws away complicated paylines and bonus systems. Multipliers, transformers and an exciting free spin round spice up the game, but the core gameplay is meant to be fun, relaxing and calming for new players or players who want something a little different.
While the Bubble Craze slot machine doesn’t have the most complicated design, it does have nice, practical graphics that work well with the mechanics. The game is just a neon-light interface with 19 bubbles floating in the center of the screen in eight different colors.
The background is a faded out version of the game with more fuzzy bubbles and water. While the designs aren’t too exciting, it’s easy to see matches and quickly read the board. The animations are also fairly well done. Each round starts with the previous set of bubbles popping to make room for the new set that rises from the bottom of the screen.
The sound design is fairly nice and fits in with the calming nature of the game. During standard play, the music is easy-going, ocean-style music that feels a little meditative. When the wins start stacking up, it switches to a faster pace and a stronger beat to match the excitement. It’s nothing too new, but the sound is perfect for settling in and watching bubbles pop.
Bubble Craze: Core gameplay
Bubble Craze features a nontraditional system, with 19 independent spaces on the game board. Since there are no paylines, players have to play a full 50 credit bet for each spin. If at least four bubbles of the same color are touching, then it’s a win.
It’s possible for more than one set of four to appear in one game, and the rewards do increase as the number of matching bubbles in a set increases.
A full set of 19 silver bubbles nets the 10,000x jackpot. There are no wilds available, but there are a few special bubbles.
Special-transform bubbles can appear in any batch. Once the bubbles settle, any transformed bubbles pop and change all the bubbles adjacent to them to match their color. Depending on where the transformer is, it can easily set up a big payout.
There are also multiplier bubbles available. Bubbles marked with 2x or 5x multipliers can spawn in the set, and if one is included in a winning match it multiplies the payout.
Playing the game can be a slightly uneven experience. The 50 credit bet is fairly expensive, with only the highest paying set of four offering a profitable return.
The bottom tier of bubbles actually needs a set of eight to break even. These standard wins are mostly there to slow down losses while players are waiting for a big win to swing things back.
The real winnings rely on a good transform bubble, a good multiplier or a few big wins in the free spin round.
The free spins bonus feature
Bubble Craze features a slight variation on a typical free spin bonus round. The center top, middle and bottom bubbles in the game can occasionally be filled with a special bonus symbol.
If all three symbols appear, then they link up and award the player with a set of five free spins.
They’re not just spins though. This separate round uses a special set of potential bubbles that is salted with extra multipliers and transform bubbles.
Each spin is also guaranteed to have at least one winning set in it. It’s a short bonus round, but it’s possible to really strike it big with the loaded board.
Bubble Craze may not be perfect for every player, but anyone looking for a more relaxing game should enjoy it. There’s something peaceful about just watching the bubbles pop and hoping that the next set of colors lines up well.
The simple graphics and soft music almost make it a little zen. Never having a washout on a series of free spins is nice, too. Players looking for something flashier or with a more involved bonus round may be disappointed.
The line between calm and boring can be thin, after all. Anyone looking for a refreshing change of pace should give it a shot though.