Those of us sufficiently advanced in age will remember Top Cat, the animated series about a Manhattan alley-cat with an entourage of accomplices, who spent his days outwitting Officer Dibble, and his nights in a bin. The show ran for less than a year in the early 1960s but was re-run across the English-speaking world for several decades after that. Just a warning: this Top Cat slot review will contain references to the show’s addictive theme tune — we can’t help ourselves.
A cartoon which saw its last frame drawn more than half a century ago may seem like an odd choice for a slots tie-in, but it definitely works. Blueprint Gaming have clearly treated their Top Cat slot as a labour of love — the voices and sound effects are faithfully reproduced, and the reels replace the standard additional symbols with the familiar characters.
Gameplay is as simple as you’d expect, but one thing to look out for is the sheer range and frequency of bonus rounds. There’s one based on each of TC’s sidekicks, and even some bonus spins triggered by uncovering the likeness of Officer Dibble.
The game by Blueprintlaunches with a sampled exclamation from the man… well, cat... himself. This is followed by an explainer on how the game and its features work, which is handy, as there is quite a lot to get through.
We’ll do our best to sum up the basics, though undeniably without the same style and flair as TC himself. You win and lose the same way in this slot as you would with most others — just with pictures of beloved Sixties cartoon cats instead of watermelons and bells — but the bonuses are a little more complex.
Wins are valued on a hierarchical basis, so if you spin five Top Cats you’re going to win big, and then values descend through Benny, Choo, Brain, Fancy-Fancy and finally Spook. As gutting as that ranking may be for Spook, you’ll still earn a win if you spin three of him in a row, so it’s not all bad.
Here, the game comes into its own. Spin enough of the bonus symbol — which is a group view of all the gang — and you’ll be taken into one of the game’s many bonus rounds. As mentioned, they’re based on the close friends of the main character (we know they’re close friends because they “get to call him TC, pro-vided it’s with dig-nity”).
Choo’s bonus is called “Piano Wilds”, and adds extra Wild cards to the reels, while Benny’s “Colossal TVs” adds … well, TVs, which turn into random symbols. Brain places fire hydrants under each reel, which can trigger a Wild at any point, while Spook’s “Mice Is Nice” bonus sends some mice out onto the reels to arrange them into a win. In addition, there are other occasional bonuses, all of which deliver interesting wins, including the progressive Jackpot King — a prize pot which grows every time you spin and is triggered by spinning five Jackpot symbols.
In short, this game will appeal to those of us who grew up with the show either at first broadcast or one of the many, many re-runs and is anarchic and fun enough to find plenty of fans even among slots players who are unfamiliar with the cartoon.
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