Game: The Great Tiki
Advantage Play Potential: Low
What Makes it Special: Progressive Free Games that can theoretically grow to 999 free games
The Great Tiki by Aruze takes the Buffalo math model and introduces some new elements that makes it a more volatile game, but also opens the door to Advantage Players who like chasing those progressive free games.
My first run on this game was an unexpected runaway success, out of sheer luck. But I am going to put that aside and focus on the general mechanics of the game to discuss how I expect it is on a more normal basis.
Understanding the Game
The baseline of this game is very clearly inspired by the Buffalo series of games. For starters, you have the 5×4 slot reels with all ways pays, meaning 1,024 ways to win.
The game has a premium symbol that can be stacked three high, which follows many Buffalo games in not being able to truly have a full screen of symbols.
Some of the semi-premium symbols, as well as the Tiki symbol, pay at least two across, vs. the normal three.
The baseline multipliers in the bonus are 2x and 3x when a wild symbol lands only available in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th reel, one per reel per spin) and they can, but are not guaranteed to, come out in base game spins (not unlike Buffalo Gold and some of the newer games). And during the free spin bonus, you can retrigger with at least two bonus symbols.
All that sound familiar? Of course, Aruze has put two very clear distinctions on the game to make it its own.
More/Better Multipliers Bet
The first relates to the bet structure. I unfortunately did not get a shot of the bet panel like I normally do, but theres two bet levels to this game. The bet panel looks something like this:
So the top row lets you choose how high the multipliers can go – this is effectively a more/better bet, but this time focused on more volatility on the multipliers. You can play it safer effectively by betting 60 credits and limiting to a 2x-3x multiplier, or for a 66% increase you can go to 100 credits and swing for a 7x multiplier opportunity, which only largely pays off in the bonus (and the occasional base game spin).
You can then on the second row decide what your base game line pays multiplier will be, and the credits chose on the top, times your line multiplier, is your total wager. So the max bet on the version I played was $5 (100 credits times 5x line bet, on pennies).
Progressive Free Games Meters
The second twist is the introduction of Progressive Free Games Meters, similar to Buffalo Diamond but in execution much closer to games like Harley Davidson.
In this case there are four meters, named like your normal progressives, the Mini, Minor, Major and Grand. They are persistent state counters, so they stick around if one player leaves.
There is a different set of meters for each line bet multiplier, but they are the same for the wild multiplier bet on the top row. So the 60-100 credits all share a x1 line bet set, but the x2 line bet set for 60-100 credits has its own.
As you can see on the picture above, like other games in this format it will provide a visual indicator when a progressive is above the normal average for when it should hit. That does not promise a hit soon, but just an indication it has been longer than normal.
The progressives can build to 999 free games before they stop growing; where they reset when triggered depends on the progressive level:
|Progressive Level||Min # of Games||Max # of Games|
The free spin symbols appear across all five reels, but the progressive free games symbols only appear on reel five. If one lands without a bonus triggered, it increments the progressive that appeared up one free game.
If three or more bonus symbols land without one appearing that is a progressive, you get the standard free games with 8 free spins (also like Buffalo). You do not get extra spins for extra symbols, a difference.
Three or more bonus symbols landing that includes a progressive free games symbol wins the amount of free games currently offered for that progressive.
During the free games bonus, 2 bonus symbols give you 5 more spins; 3 or more bonus symbols cap at 8 more spins (also a difference; your reward is simply a higher scatter pay award).
Anytime you get a line hit that also has wilds on the screen, the wilds will reveal a multiplier of at least 2x, but how high it goes depends on that multiplier wager we discussed earlier, which can go up to 7x. Multiple wilds deliver multiple multipliers, and the multiply, not add, to each other. So if you get 3x 5x 3x that is worth 45x (3x5x3).
The multipliers, and the line hits for that matter, do not come out all that often, just like Buffalo, so a few killer line hits can make or break this bonus.
My experience was skewed by the fact that within $20 of my first time playing this game, I landed the Grand Progressive Free Games on a $1 bet, with the 7x multiplier active. I was sitting with a couple of friends who had just commented they thought it would be cool to see the Grand Progressive land, and, lucky me, it happened.
Thankfully, a few strong hits delivered most of the value, and I was able to get an incredible bonus out of it. It clearly has potential that can deliver, and if you get the wilds at the right time with a good hit, it can pay extremely well.
A $1 bet delivered a more than respectable 777x payout, and my 119 games became 182.
Understanding the Advantage
With this game, it’s the Progressive Free Games and the potential within them. One plus is each line bet multiplier has its own set of progressive free games, so there can be five sets per machine.
That said, I personally do not like this format for a Casual Advantage Player – I know full-time APs who spend a ton of time on these types of machines, at some level of expense, to figure out the sweet spot and the right time to consider committing to working to achieve a free games progressive, but for a more casual player I dislike them as a chasing opportunity for a few reasons:
- There is no guarantee on any free games triggered that it will be a progressive.
- There is no guarantee on any free games that the progressive or progressives you are after is the one you win.
- There is no guarantee as to how many spins it will take to actually achieve the bonus.
- The game is volatile. Really volatile. Players who were in similar scenarios to what I managed with the Grand Free Games had way worse bonuses because the multipliers didn’t come out during the bonus when they needed them.
So certainly as the meters become crazy high there is a potential opportunity, but you have no idea of how much you’ll need to invest. As such I recommend leaving it for the pros, unless you are willing to play for a long time, have a crazy strong budget, and are willing to commit, no matter what the expense and time required to land it.
Watch and Learn
Here is RandomSlots with pay tables and a bonus:
Albert’s Slot Channel had a Grand Free Games bonus on The Great Tiki:
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