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$1. - $20.
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Balloon Art and Floating Cascading Wins in this Entertaining IGT Slot
The best I could ever do with those long balloons was to make an ‘approximation’ of the front of a dog! On this IGT slot, the balloon creatures take on a whole new level. There are elephants, snakes and giraffes on the reels. I love the way the regular playing card symbols appear to be made from balloons. The theme is made more realistic by having the symbols float up, rather than spin down. Whenever you create a winning combination, the balloons expand and pop.
Those popped balloons allow for new symbols to float up from the bottom. This can sometimes result in sequences of wins. This is not the only novel aspect of the game-play. Special stars will give you multipliers on all wins for that spin. You will also find a free spins bonus game, which requires popping balloons to get started.
Balloons Against a Clear Blue Sky: Slot Setup
Each symbol has a small amount of movement, even between spins. This gives a realistic floating effect. The symbols all appear from the bottom of the reels when you spin, floating upward one row at a time. There are 5 reels and 3 rows – with 20 win-lines crossing them. There are not too many player options, you simply set your coin size, which is multiplied by 20 to set a spin bet.
Cascading wins happen when you create any win. The balloons will stretch, pop (with entertaining sound effects for both) and the gaps will be filled from below. Any balloons on the reels will move up to the top, and gaps get new balloons. You will sometimes get sequences of wins this way. This can be useful when you also have the star multipliers in place.
Regular Winning Symbols in the Balloonies Slot
I have not come across balloon animals that can trigger big wins before – and the ones on the Balloonies slot are full of character. The top prize comes from a blue balloon with a strange circular mouth piece and ears. Whatever kind of creature this is, you’ll get 1000 coins for 5 of a kind. Next come the 3 recognisable animals. There is a monkey (500 coins max prize), elephant (400) and a giraffe (300).
3 playing card symbols – which are also created out of balloons. The final symbol is a prickly hedgehog wild. This will substitute for the regular symbols, though not the stars or bonus balloons.
Star Symbols with Win Multipliers
A simple gold star will provide a win of 2 coins whenever it appears on the reels. This symbol also gives you a multiplier for any other wins you get on that spin. These multipliers are either 2x, 3x or 5x. You will see an animation, where the star balloon pops. This multiplier is cumulative. If you get 3 stars over a sequence of pops with a 2x, 3x and 5x (for example), then all your wins for that spin get multiplied by 10. These symbols can only appear on the middle 3 reels.
Bonus Balloons and Free Spins
Red balloons with the word ‘Bonus’ on them are the most ‘normal’ looking of all the symbols in this game. You need 3 to trigger the free spins game.
Before your spins get started you play what IGT call a ‘pop-me’ feature. This involves clicking one of 3 balloons, which will reveal the number of free spins you have been awarded. You’ll be hoping for a lot, as these spins do not retrigger.
The background changes from day to a night sky, and your free spins will run through very quickly. With enough multipliers and wilds, you could be looking at a balloon rising after your spins end, to display your big win!
Quirky and Fun Design
Saying a design is unique is almost too easy – though the only other slot I have come across that looks anything like that is the Balloonies Farm. That is the sequel to this popular game. What makes the design for me are the eyes of the balloon creatures. They somehow look puzzled, worried and happy all at the same time.
As you might expect there are also plenty of air blowing sound effects, along with the balloon pop sounds. You can also enjoy a plinking tune while you spin.
Is IGT’s Balloonies Slot Good – or is this Just Hot Air?
I enjoyed this slot, with one small caveat – the pop / new balloons sequence feels a little slow. With a turbo button this game would be endearing enough to be a favourite! The unique upside-down cascades are fun. It only takes a couple of the stars to turn a regular win into a huge one.