Periodically, a new slot will come along with that showcases an idea that’s so brilliantly simple it’s a miracle nobody ever thought of it before – and for 2017 that game is Turning Totems.
Released by the impressive Thunderkick studio, this game comes with a 5 reel, 3 line matching symbol format like almost any other – but in this case each reel is a totem pole, and the authentic faces carved onto it spin round on a vertical axis, effectively giving each symbol position its own reel.
The Native American iconography used here isn’t entirely dis-similar to that used in lost city games - most notably Gonzo’s Quest - and there’s even a compere used as well, in this case a Native American in full headgear. The background is a cartoon-style desert environment, and the overall shading is pastel rather than primary, blending in nicely with the rough-hewn nature of the poles and their surroundings.
During the bonus rounds, day becomes night and you’re even treated to a firework display, which really makes for a climactic finale. Generally-speaking there’s a streak of quality running through Turning Totems, and whilst visually-influenced by other games it’s innovative enough to be seen as a bold step forward rather than a game reliant on exiting tropes. The minor key four bar riff that plays in the background fits in perfectly with the overall feel, topping off a development that Thunderkick have clearly put vast amount of time and effort into – along with no small amount of imagination.
The reels feature 6 different totem masks, and winning combinations can be created from right to left as well as from left to right.
There are 2 main features available:
Spin the Thunder Snake symbol and it will turn that reel into a Thunder Reel. You’ll then be awarded a re-spin, and any sleeping wild will transform into an active wild if it lands on this re-spin. If the Thunder Snake lands on any of the other reels, another re-spin is awarded as well as the chance to hit more wilds.
If you’re lucky enough to land three Thunder Reels, you’ll trigger the bonus game feature and be awarded five Turning Totems slots free spins. The Thunder Reels are active on all free spins giving you the chance to land plenty of wilds on each spin. The Thunder Snake can also land, adding further possibilities.
We’ve always liked Thunderkick’s development approach. Some of their ideas are blindingly original and whilst there are other Native American slots on the market, none of them look like this or mix ancient culture with modern gameplay for such a captivating result. It’s the best-designed slot of 2017 so far in our opinion, and it’s up against some impressive competition.