At first glance, the only attraction of Esqueleto Explosivo, a digital slots title from software developer Thunderkick, is its irreverent use of skeletons and amusing game play. The game has no free spins feature, and no bonus game on a second screen. However, a closer examination of the unique features that this title offers reveals that there are frequent bonuses built into regular play, which make a significant difference to the game’s winning potential.
Even without these advantages, the game’s bold theme would be fun to play. The design is based on the Mexican Day of the Dead, during which Mexicans use decorated skulls, processions and feasts to honour their ancestors and other dead relatives. The five reels are displayed in a cantina courtyard, lit by festive lanterns and occasional bursts of fireworks. Each win is accompanied by a quick burst of mariachi music from the band, to maintain the festive atmosphere.
The Band are the Reels
The major twist in Esqueleto Explosivo is that the reels are not actually reels; instead, each is a stack of three skulls, perched on the skeletons of the mariachi band members. Officially, they are Enrico Mortis and The Boners, with different patterns of colour painted on each skull. These five skulls are the only icons used in the game, apart from the Wild. In ascending order of win value, their colours are Turquoise, Yellow, Blue, Green and Pink. The Pink skull, clutching a rose in its teeth, appears to be Enrico himself, as it scores the highest ordinary win: 5.00 on a 2.00-per-spin bet, for five of a kind.
The reels do not spin; instead, each time the player presses Play, the five lines of three skulls each drop into place with a clatter. Esqueleto Explosivo means Exploding Skeletons, and if skulls end up part of a winning combination, that’s exactly what they do. Once they explode and disappear, a drop occurs. In essence, the player gets a chance at more wins, because more skulls drop into the vacated spaces, to create the possibility of more winning paylines. There are 17 fixed paylines, and bets can be adjusted from 0.10 to 100.00 in the chosen currency per spin.
Repeated Drops Build Multipliers
The drops continue as long as a new winning payline is formed; a drop that results in no wins collapses all the skulls in a heap, and the player must hit Play again to pay for a new spin. However, there is also a row of six multipliers below the reels, increasing from X1 to X32. Every drop that contains a win, or at least one Wild, will increase the multiplier by one level until it hits maximum, so multiple drops can result in significant wins. The level reached by the multiplier by the end of a spin is applied to the total win.
Esplosivo Wild Adds More to Drops
A blond-haired, golden skull wearing flashy sunglasses serves as the Esqueleto Explosivo Wild. It can substitute for all the other skulls to complete winning paylines. However, when it explodes after a win, it also takes out the 8 adjacent symbols surrounding it, whether they were part of winning paylines or not. So every Wild in a win adds to the number of skulls in the new drop, while simultaneously cranking the multiplier up one level.
The prizes may seem smaller compared to some real money pokies, but the presence of only six symbols, exploding drops and multipliers, makes potential wins more frequent and more rewarding.