Aussie Rules (And Cultural Delights)
As it is tradition in Merkur games, the game’s title is read out loud, though the lettering on the screen is actually pretty small. There’s a strange sort of introductory music to accompany it. It’s quirky and different, and will get your attention. Especially as the music stops after only a few beats. It’s to encourage you to immediately play the game, which has its own sound effects.
Visually, you get most out of it if you maximise the screen. It’s a shame the background doesn’t use something more associated with Australia, rather than a plain, light blue. An outline of the country, the colours of the flag or the animals that are shown as symbols would all have worked nicely. The fun and friendly vibe is displayed in the facial expressions and style of visual symbols. Either side of the reels are the 10 paylines. There are no diagrams but you can work them out easily enough.
Having Fun down Under
There aren’t too many buttons as is common in Merkur games. It’s very much a minimalist style. The only main playing buttons are green, one for Start, and one for Max Bet. If you’re feeling confident for maximum prizes, pressing it ensures it goes away with only the Start left.
There are 8 different coin settings of 0.10, 0.20, 0.50, 1.0, 2.0, 5.0, 10.0 and 20.0. These are all in euros and rather neatly, the coins change colours to reflect the difference in value. It’s always great to see little touches. The 10 paylines are rigid, but you have more flexibility on autoplay. There are 9 separate automatic options from 5 to 100. The volume can be set at any level and you can increase the game speed. While this added speed isn’t as fast as most of other games, you’ll most likely want to use it. Otherwise it can get a little slow when playing.
There regular symbols are made up of 5 pictures, as well as an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 and 9. Unsurprisingly, considering the game’s title, the kangaroo is the most valuable. The rest of the symbols expand upon the Australian animals theme, with a koala, duck-billed platypus, dingo and emu. These sure aren’t animals you’ll get in a regular zoo, and the game is all the better for it. It would be nice if the sounds changed depending on which animal won, but that’s a small detail.
Boomerang and Other Bonuses
The Australian theme continues to the extras. The Wildcard is a boomerang, which when part of a win turns all relevant cards green and flies around in boomerang form. Nice stuff. It also doubles up as the highest value symbol, worth a maximum of 2,000 credits if you get 5. The Scatter is a sign of a kangaroo which keeps to the light-hearted theme of the game, as well as offering up to 200 credits.
There are added extras, but they are not specific to Kangaroo Island, and are common with Merkur games. This is the choice of a Gamble Card, Gamble Ladder or Collect after a winning line. If you press Gamble Card, you have to guess whether the next card will be black or white. You can decide to go for maximum reward or play for half value until you lose or you make 140 credits.
In Gamble Ladder, one light flicker over two different amounts between 140 and 0. Whichever light you click on, when it’s lit is the amount you get. The other thing to mention is that for both Gamble Card and Gamble Ladder, you have to be on individual spins to play. If you play on automatic mode, you need to quickly pause after a winning line for the option for the extras.
Strewth, It’s Not Bad!
Some sharper graphics and better music would work well. With games like Kangaroo Jack and Outback Jack, there are other Australian themed games out there. But this game still has its unique charms. What this one offers is a low-key, small risk game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Like the boomerang Wildcard, it will be easy to keep coming back.