A circus should be a place of joy and fun and they usually are. However, sometimes a circus can have slightly dark undertones and the Twisted Circus is certainly one of those. The eerie circus music that greets you on entering the game sets the mood straightaway. This mood is only added to by the strange array of circus ‘freaks’ on the reels and the dark design of the game.
The game utilises the all-ways winning system and features two distinct bonuses. The first is a free spins round with an eye-catching number of spins. The other is a pick me bonus feature based around the circus performers.
The Twisted Circus is a five-reel slot that pays from left to right. Gone are the usual win-lines however, as you’ll enjoy the all-ways winning system. To win you’ll need to land symbols on consecutive reels, starting on the left. This gives you 243 ways to win on every spin, while the cost of the spin is just 30 credits.
The highest paying symbol in the game is the wild, which shows the title of the slot. Land the wild on all five reels and you’ll win 750 coins. As the wild, this symbol will substitute for both the scatter and the bonus symbols. Any time you land a win using the wild symbol, the win amount will be multiplied by 3.
All the standard symbols on the pay table are made up of the circus performers. You have a fire eating man who pays 250 coins and a snake lady, with a top prize of 200 coins. The strong man is worth 175 coins, while a pair of female Siamese twins offer a top win of 150 coins. The symbols are completed by an acrobat, a half male/half female character, a bearded lady belly dancer and a monkey playing an accordion.
The dwarf circus ringleader acts as the bonus symbol in the game. This symbol appears on reels 3, 4 and 5 only and if it appears on all 3, you’ll enter the bonus feature (as well as win 60 coins). You’ll now enter a screen filled with sixteen stars. Down the right-hand side of the screen you’ll see the fire eater, the snake lady, the strong man and the Siamese twins. Each of these has a pay-out associated with it. Each star you pick will reveal one of the four characters. The first character you uncover three times will see you win the associated amount. You can also uncover a wild symbol, which can represent any one of the four characters.
Scatter symbols in The Twisted Circus show a creepy-looking ticket to the big top complete with an eye. Land 2, 3, 4 or 5 scatters and you’ll win immediate prizes of 1x, 2x, 10x and 100x your stake. 3 or more scatters will also see the free spins start. You’ll have the delightfully eerie amount of 13 free spins to play with. Every time you land a win during the feature, the win amount will be multiplied by 3 – always a nice boost in a feature. During the feature, you can land the bonus round at any time, as well as retrigger the free spins too.
The Twisted Circus plays out against the backdrop of the circus itself. Above the reels you’ll find the Victorian-style blood red curtains, while gold engravings of evil lions look out at you. Each of the human performers have a similar, slightly malevolent look on their faces – although the accordion playing monkey might cheer you up! Land a win with any of the performers and they creepily come alive with animation. The accompanying soundtrack is the traditional circus theme, although this is slowed down and much darker than usual.
MicroGaming have done a fine job of taking a circus theme and given it a slightly chilling makeover. The mood of the game is certain to appeal to those who like movies, TV and their slots with added dark undertones. While the sound and design create this atmosphere, no slot would be complete without involving gameplay. The Twisted Circus steps up in this regard too. The pick me bonus round is an enjoyable one with some very nice rewards available. The free spins feature with the 3x multiplier is sure to pay too. Throw in the all-ways winning system too and you have a game that ticks all boxes.