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Captain Payback is here to save players from inferior slot machines and bad superhero puns. This fun slot machine game by High 5 features a cute, cartoon theme and some surprisingly rich payouts. While the game isn’t perfect, it’s a shockingly balanced slot machine that doesn’t sacrifice the main slots for the bonus round. There’s plenty of action to go around in either mode, which should keep most players glued to the screen.
Captain Payback focuses heavily on a cartoon-style superhero theme. Specifically, it’s trying to emulate older comic books and classic Saturday morning cartoons.
On the whole, it does a fairly good job, but players will have to look past a few glaring issues. Not only is the background a flat and boring cityscape, but the interface for the game is blocky and uses flat colors. It’s actually a little hard to see just how much any single winning spin is worth because the text is tiny and practically hiding above the betting bar. It doesn’t create a very good first impression.
On that note, the music is probably supposed to evoke a superhero theme song, but it ends up just sounding like generic slot machine noise.
These issues stand out so much because the rest of the game has incredible attention to detail. The game features symbols that are based around superhero cliches. While Captain Payback and his logo are obviously included, there are also symbols for his girlfriend, a nosy reporter and a cop.
The bonus game includes 4 unique villains portraits to make up the higher value symbols. While the game does use card symbols “A, K, Q, J and 10” they are done in comic book font and coloring and fit right into the theme.
Also, just about everything has a neat little animation. The wilds extend and play a short clip of Captain Payback changing into his costume. All of the portraits have short animations, and the bonus round villains even come with short clips of Captain Payback capturing them.
While the general music isn’t great, there are tons of little musical stings to go along with the animations and there’s an announcer who’s ready to call out names and catchphrases. It’s a shame that some of the basics are a little underdeveloped because everything else is fairly great.
Captain Payback features 3 rows and 5 reels with 50 paylines. Players are required to play all 50 of them on every spin. Every payline has to start out on the leftmost reel and continue to the right to hit.
Although the game features wild symbols, they aren’t just ordinary wilds. Wild symbols can appear on reels 2, 3 and 4, and any time a wild lands in play it expands to fill the entire reel. Wilds will always expand unless expanding won’t create any winning paylines, in which case they stay small for the sake of speed.
The basic gameplay is generally focused on a lot of small wins that act as a fun diversion between the big hits, bonus rounds and losing streaks. In general, the payouts in Captain Payback are fairly small. It takes a set of 3 of the high-value Captain Payback logos or 4 “A” symbols to break even on the total bet. Most of the sets of 3 are just there to make the losses hurt a little less and keep the game going. Having to pay for 50 paylines means that there’s a lot of room for small wins, but the total losses really hurt.
Surprisingly, the bonus round isn’t necessarily the big payday in this game. The expanding wild symbols are the heart and soul of Captain Payback.
Getting a good wild reel can trigger a lot of paylines at once for some very good paydays. While the lower value symbols don’t pay much and the true jackpot is locked behind the bonus round, the high-value symbols do have potential. In particular, getting 5 of the Captain Payback logo is worth 5,000x the line bet. The rest of the portraits have multiples in the hundreds too. The big jackpot in the bonus game is certainly still a draw though.
The Capture Bonus Game
The bonus round will start any time players get the bonus symbol on reels 3, 4 and 5. The bonus symbol sticks to scatter rules so they don’t have to be on a payline. Just showing up is enough. Getting 3 bonus symbols gives players 5 free spins and a shot at the jackpot. The free spins play out on a special set of bonus reels that feature 4 villains portraits and the “A, K, Q and J” card symbols.
The game uses its own paytable with multiples based on the bet that triggered the bonus. In general, the payouts are squeezed toward the center with a higher starting point for the card symbols but no payout higher than 500x for the portraits. Players only get 5 free spins and they cannot retrigger the bonus from within the round. Regular wild symbols can appear in reels 2 and 3, but they do not expand.
The big draw in this mode is the chance to trigger the Capture Bonus. Captain Payback will capture a villain if a set of 3 of their portraits pays out.
Paylines that use wild symbols to complete still count toward a capture, which is a big help. It can be very hard to trigger a portrait win without a well placed wild. It is possible for lucky players to capture more than one villain in a single spin. If all 4 of the villains are captured before the 5 free spins are up, then the game immediately ends and players advance to the jackpot round.
Note that the Capture Bonus can be elusive, so the bonus round may just leave players with a few decent spins.
The jackpot round is a series of tiered tiles. Players who can make it all the way to the 10th tier win the jackpot of 1,000x their total bet. Just making it to the jackpot round guarantees at least a 5x total bet payout. The jackpot game itself is fairly simple. Players pick one card out of a set of 5 to flip over.
The cards are hiding “collect” symbols that end the jackpot round and payout that tier’s prize along with advance arrows that send the player up to a new level. Players can keep trying to advance until they hit a “collect” card and end the game.
The Thrilling Conclusion
Captain Payback is a pretty fun online slot machine that should appeal to a wide audience. While it takes a little time to adjust to the look and interface, players that stick around will really like the gameplay. The main slots stay fun and exciting thanks to the wild wilds, and with an RTP of 96.5% veteran players should be very happy.
The only downside is that the bonus round can almost be a letdown compared to the regular slots. A lot of the time it’ll just be a set of 5 low-paying free spins, and the jackpot round can feel very far away. This is a pretty minor issue though. Any players ready to look past a few small problems should at least give this game a try.