The Final Countdown Slot Review
We are back to looking at Big Time Gaming slots. The Australian developer of the Megaways mechanic may not have a vast catalog of spinners, but they are responsible for some of the most played titles in interactive gaming. Bonanza anyone? In March of 2019, they made an interesting choice and released a song-themed game – The Final Countdown. We know of a few band-themed reel-spinners, but we cannot recall one based on a song. So, this may be a first. That aside, once The Final Countdown hit the internet, for the first three months of its existence, it held firm in the top 100 before gradually dropping off into 1000 territory. It made somewhat of a comeback in late 2020, and overall, it has been a decent success for Big Time Gaming.
Theme & Design
Released in 1986, The Final Countdown is a song by the Swedish band Europe. Founded in 1979, Europe got its big break three years after its formation by winning the Swedish Rock Championships. Their global rise to prominence came with the release of the 1986 album – The Final Countdown, which sold over 10 million copies and made them a sensation. The song, of the same name, peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number eighteen on the Album Rock one. It tells the story of astronauts leaving earth via a spaceship headed for Venus.
Big Time Gaming acquired the license to this 1980s rock classic, and you can hear it playing in the background as you enter the Free Spins Round. It is the actual song, not some knock-off or instrumental variation. Much like it, the story here also revolves around a space launch. The graphics here are painterly illustrations with some 3D elements mixed in and a few subtle animations. The base game takes place on a launching deck, which features a patterned neon-like floor with a city skyline in the distance. It is the same visual present in many cliché neo-retro graphics. Once you enter the Free Spins Round, you fly into outer space, and there, you can see a space station similar to the one featured in 2001 A Space Odyssey. Note that the backdrops in this round change as you land wins.
The button configuration is the typical Big Time one. On a desktop, all the buttons are on the right side of your screen, stacked. On a mobile phone, the bet adjuster is on your left, while the settings, auto-spin, and spin buttons are on the right side of your screen. As with all Big Time games, you can set 10-100 auto-spins with a mandatory loss limit in place.
Specs & Gameplay
The Final Countdown is a six-reel, four-row slot that uses the 4096-ways-to-win format. It has a high variance and a default RTP of 96.66%. You form winning combos when you land symbols on adjacent reels left to right. The bet sizes here range from $0.2 to $20, and the max exposure is x36,000 your stake, which is decent.
The low-paying symbols in this game are your standard card royals 9-A, paying rewards worth x0.4 to x1 for six-of-a-kind. The high-paying ones are different colored gems (green, blue, red, and purple). Hitting six on the grid on a spin will award you a prize of x1.25 to x25 your wager.
The male and female astronauts act as Wild symbols, and they can appear alone or expand horizontally and vertically due to the clone feature, leading to multipliers of up to x256. The Scatter here is a golden token, with the letter FC sticking out.
The Final Countdown uses the same cloning mechanic feature in Big Time Gaming’s Queen of Riches. During each spin, there is a chance that this mechanic will randomly produce between two and four identical reels in the middle of the grid. As mentioned, the mechanic can also expand Wilds. For example, two cloned reels will increase a wild 2×2 in size and award an x4 multiplier. Hitting six purple gems and a 4×4 Wild can lead to an x6,400 win in the base game.
Landing three or more Scatters gets you to access the Free Spins Bonus Round. There, you get the option to select one of two features. The first is The Countdown (female astronaut), and the second is the Heading For Venus one (male astronaut). The Countdown one provides eight complimentary reel rotations and a roaming Wild that starts with an x4 multiplier. Each time you reactivate this round, the roaming Wild expands up to a max size of x256. The Heading For Venus mode gives you fifteen free spins, with the cloning mechanic active on every rotation. The male astronaut can appear as a Velocity Wild on the cloned reels, randomly increasing his multiplier value between x4 and x888.
On the surface, this seems like a relatively straightforward slot. However, Big Time has thrown all the chips on the rising multipliers in this release, and it has paid off. The max bet is low, but the win potential isn’t, and both Free Spins Rounds are fun to play. If you liked Big Time’s 2017 release Danger High Voltage, you are going to love this one. In a sense, it is its sequel. The graphics could use work, but if you are a fan of 1980s rock music, this one is a must-spin. With some luck on your side, a gaming session could turn into your countdown en route to a life-altering prize.
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