2016 has already been a great year for the many fans of Thunderkick pokies. Although this Swedish casino game provider is not exactly known for the speed with which new pokies are released, they do have a reputation for making fun, quirky and original pokies. Pokies such as Fruit Warp, Arcader, the Rift and the totally brilliant Zoom not only look phenomenal, they are an absolute joy to play as well.
An added bonus is that their pokies generally have a high return to player and can be played with small stakes, often as small as $0.10 per spin.
The latest release from Thunderkick is called Babushkas, after the famous Russian nesting dolls, where a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another.
How does Babushkas work?
The Babushkas pokie has the rather unconventional number of 17 fixed pay lines. The minimum bet is $0,10 per spin, the maximum bet is $100 per spin. The theoretical return to player of Babushkas is 95.8%, which is pretty much okay in our books. We have seen better and we have seen a lot worse.
Babushkas is bright and colourful and, in true Thunderkick style, a little bit strange. The game mechanism revolves around dolls upgrading to higher paying symbols.
Matching symbols on an active pay line will automatically upgrade to a higher symbol, as long as new combinations are made. A seemingly small win can turn into a mega win within a few turns. This game mechanism might need a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you will find plenty of excitement trying to land those big payouts.
If you get a full screen of matching symbols (it happens more often than you might think), you get one extra symbol upgrade for even bigger wins. Should you be so lucky to get a full screen of the highest paying symbols, you will upgrade to the Ghost symbol and receive an extra cash reward.
There is a wild symbol on the third reel that will help you get some nice extras. Besides substituting for every symbol, the wild symbol hides one of three different bears. These bears may look mean but are friendly allies that enhance your wins and may even award you with free spins.
Players can find a Dance Bear (awards a free spin bonus), a Charm Bear (upgrades all symbols on screen once) and a Scare Bear (upgrades all symbols twice) hidden in the wild symbol.
During the free spins, which initially awards 7 free spins, you are guaranteed a wild symbol on every free spin.
Babushkas has a low to medium variance, meaning you will get a lot of playing time for your money and will sometimes get a nice medium to big win.
What do we think of Babushkas?
To be brutally honest, we did not like it at all, the first two-three times we played Babushkas. Too bright, too colourful and, most of all, too confusing. It takes a little time to figure out how the symbol upgrade works and what the Wild Bear symbols actually do for you.
That said, Babushkas has really grown on us. Once you start to understand the dynamics of the game and get used to the bright and bold colours, you will discover a very original pokie with some great features and some very nice win potential.
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