With 15 years of industry experience and a games portfolio boasting over 280 titles, it’s no surprise that Play’n GO is one of the most well-known, and used, suppliers in the slot world. But how does it keep creating new and engaging slot games that players come back to time and time again?
Olekszy believes the secret to success is all in the storytelling. And when it comes to the Reactoonz series, it’s a story that players enjoyed from the get-go, making Gargantoon, Dr Toon and their fellow characters instant fan favourites. And though it’s the sixth edition in the series, Gargantoonz is set to reach the same successes as it’s predecessors, a rarity when it comes to sequels.
Hitting the sweet spot: Success in sequels
In the original edition of the slot game released in 2017, Energoonz, players saw the alien-themed characters on a 4×5 grid with a x1000 win multiplier. The original edition ran on a cluster mechanic, with groups of five or more symbols needing to be matched vertically and horizontally to score wins.
The game scored huge success, with 10/10 reviews across the board. Bigwinboard gave a rave review – “Reactoonz is simply one of the best grid slots ever made”, whilst another on SlotsTemple said “it is that rare kind of slot where it feels like there’s always something going on.”
After the initial slot release, Reactoonz and Reactoonz 2 followed, elevating the initial game to a 7×7 grid with an abundance of wilds and electrifying rewards. Dr Toonz came in quick succession with a slightly trickier formation to crack, narrowing the grid to 6×4 slot with three charger metre features to unlock.
With such success comes pressure for Play’n GO to bring out something equally as engaging for its already anticipant audience. Olekszy believes that sometimes the best games don’t need too much in the way of change.
“First and foremost, we try to keep all games and series fairly similar, adding small twists and new features to build on that proven success and popularity. If we can see what already works, we don’t want to change too much of it for the players, we just want to build on it.”
“We try to enhance our slots slightly from previous versions and that’s definitely the case with Gargantooz. With this one, you’ll see exciting new features like the Gamma Ray and Black Hole that will have you on the edge of your seat!”
The secret is the story
Olekszy believes it’s the longevity of a story, like in the Toonz series, which keeps the audience coming back for more.
“In terms of sequels, we like the continuation of stories. A lot of sequels that you’re seeing in the slot space don’t necessarily always add up to what came first. Often, they don’t have the same features or characters – it’s just a title that shares some similarities. At Play’n GO we like to build on an initial story, incorporating a few new exciting features along the way.”
“For new customers, we like to feel like we have enough information in the story of the game and the mechanics for them to pick up and understand where we’re at in the series without necessarily playing the first game. We see existing players still playing the original games but having a go at the new one, and then dipping between the two.”
Though all the Toonz characters are instantly recognisable, it’s Gargantoon that takes centre stage in this latest instalment. But how did Play’n GO choose this three-eyed, three-horned character to be the protagonist of its latest game release?
“Although we’ve not ever built a game around Gargantoon specifically, if you look at a lot of our merchandise and game artwork, he is a prominent character in our portfolio. So, I think it was a natural move to build a game around him solely.”
Picking the right theme for the character and the player
Once Play’n GO had decided on Gargantoon as the main character, the team had to then create the theme and world around him. Much like with Dr Toonz in his lab, Gargantoon needed to be somewhere that made sense for his character and where better than the deep depths of outer space.
Building out the slot game in space brought its own unique features like the Black Hole and Gamma Ray and for science fiction lovers, this is a matchmade in heaven. But Olekszy believes the game isn’t solely attractive to this audience, but instead reaches far beyond.
“I think that outside of the obvious science-fiction demographic, the characters are easily lovable which means thatit opens the game up to a far wider audience. We’ve seen this with the other games in the series – a varying range of demographics that keep enjoying them.”
The team behind the design
“We’re not afraid to say it – our artists are the best.”
Play’n GO has always been proud of its design team and the games that they manage to bring to life and Gargantoonz is no exception.
“Though the graphics have somewhat remained the same throughout the entire series, they look more polished and newer in Gargantoonz and that is all down to our exceptional design team. After all, the original game is coming up to a decade old in a couple of years, so if you place them side by side, Gargantoonz is definitely a more polished version of the slot and something we’re very proud of.”
So how does all of this come together for players to win big in Gargantoonz?
A meteor shower of features
The Gargantoonz slot game gives players a whole host of new features to get to grips with, something that Olekszy believes is part of its appeal.
“Customers know what to expect from our games. With the Reactoonz series, it’s a 7×7 grid slot. But the engagement comes from players being the first to see what the new changes are, the new features, and how we’ve built on older versions.”
Not only does the latest slot feature new wilds, but the 7×7 cascading grid produces a win when at least 5 identical symbols land. Winning big has never been easier, with players simply needing five or more symbols in a cluster, so as long as they’re touching each other. Hitting clusters of 5 pays out 0.1 to 1x the initial bet, and for clusters above 18, up to 1,500x the initial bet.
The charger features the main character, Gargantoon, and applies different features to the mega symbols for ultimate entertainment throughout gameplay. When forming wins, a mega symbol counts as a single symbol, but it has a higher cluster value. This plays out in three steps – and if all steps are successful, the feature trigger wins. If a mega symbol won’t fit, it splits in the value to create single symbols that will fill the empty spaces.
If players need an energy boost, on non-winning rounds, Gargantoon Wilds may be added randomly to the grid. Merging from 1×1 grids to 3×3, the wilds appear with the relevant multiplier.
How to win big on Gargantoonz
Gamma Ray Burst
Winning wilds has never been simpler. When the Gamma Ray bursts, 7 to 9 wilds are added to the grid, allowing the winning wilds to count the number of symbols in their clusters, collecting all instances of the same symbols. Additionally removed symbols are counted once, even if there are multiple winning clusters with the same type of symbols. When symbols are counted, the wilds leave the grid and charge the charger before the cascade.
The next new feature is the almighty Black Hole. When striking this, 4 to 6 wilds are added to the grid. Winning wilds count the symbols in their clusters and remain on the grid until there are wins. If 3 or more wilds are in the same cluster, they fall into the Black Hole, leaving the grid immediately.
Finally, the Supernova feature explodes when 3 to 5 wilds are added to the grid. Like the others, winning wilds collect the symbols in their clusters, collecting wins and move one place diagonally on each cascade if possible. When the Supernova comes to an end, wilds move 8 steps in any possible direction, collecting symbols in their path, boosting possible wins out of this world.
Creating crowd-pleasing slots time and time again
It’s been a busy year for Play’n GO with Legion Gold and Sweet Alchemy 2 just two of its chart-topping slot games. With more set to be release in 2024, fans can expect a whole host of new characters, designs and most importantly, storytelling.
Olekszy enthuses, “We have plenty of new games and innovation in the pipeline for 2024 that we’re super excited about. I can’t reveal any exact details but all I can say is stay tuned for more news in the coming months!”.