Hunting King Kong through the jungle of Skull Island and the urban jungle of New York has never been so much fun. With some nice bonus features and clean design, King Kong is a solid slot. It is let down somewhat by the drab imagery and dull core gameplay.
Welcome to Skull Island, where the water is warm but the locals are decidedly unfriendly.
Based on Peter Jackson’s epic and under-rated remake of the 1930s classic King Kong, this slot takes you from Skull Island to the Island of Manhattan in your pursuit of, and then your attempt to recapture, the mighty Kong – and along the way, hopefully, haul in a little coin.
Big blockbuster movies are good source material for slots, and the iconography of King Kong with its jungle settings, wild beasts and iconic biplane vs beast finale provide plenty of imagery to work with.
Which is why it is odd that the slot is so visually lacklustre.
The animation is shiny and smooth, and the soundtrack understated and immersive (just drums when you spin and a little musical sting when you win).
But for some reason, with the full range of Skull Island’s flora and fauna to choose from the slot designers have opted to leave out the giant spiders and T-rexes from the images. They even ignore the fearsome indigenous people whose painted faces and piercings are the kind of striking visuals a slot needs.
Instead, the symbols are just a few of the main cast (Adrian Brody, Naomi Watts and Jack Black) some archaeological looking Ace to Ten symbols and then, of course, King himself who appears rarely in the role of a Wild symbol.
The gameplay is pretty straightforward stuff. King Kong is a 20 win-line five reel slot.
Its main innovation is to have two modes in which the setting changes. When you hit the Skull Island bonus (more on the bonus systems below) in the jungle setting and win a cash prize the background changes to the city and you continue playing in the new City Mode.
City Mode doesn’t change the payouts but it does change the bonus game to the Tower bonus. Overall the gameplay shows little imagination and underuses the Theme they chose.
Each of the modes (Jungle and City) have slightly different twists on the two bonus modes.
Kong’s face acts as a Wild symbol and also triggers a respin feature. In Jungle mode, you get three free spins.
During the Jungle mode respin feature, the game locks any Wild symbols in place for any subsequent spins. While the City mode respin feature makes whole columns wild for each of the free respins (1+5 in respin one, 2+4 in respin two, and 1+3+5 in respin three).
There is also a Scatter symbol the Kong 8th Wonder of the World symbol. Hit three or more of these on a spin and you trigger a Bonus game.
During the Jungle phase, this triggers a bonus game in which you pick locations and match three creatures to win prizes.
While during the city phase, hitting three or more Scatters in City mode will launch the Tower Bonus game in which you win random prizes based on which of three planes you knock down as Kong.
When you play a Bonus game, the setting automatically flips back to the previous mode.
You always start the game in Jungle mode.
With a return of 95.50%, King Kong has a pretty standard payout. It is slightly at the lower end of what we estimate the average payout to be for slots like this, but is certainly not bad.
It is a relatively high-variance slot with regular very large payouts coming along very rarely. But being well worth it when they do.
It does allow you to control that variance a fair bit with the number of winlines. By allowing you any number between 1 and 20 winlines you can manipulate both your bet sizes and variance to a very granular level.
The site we tested allowed between €/£/$0.01 and €/£/$20.00, this doesn’t cater much for big spenders but different sites may give you a higher payout options.
While King Kong fails to do all it could with its chosen setting, the gameplay is ultimately quite fun.
But only if you can stick with it long enough to hit the bonus features which add a pleasant twist to an otherwise very slick, but very conventional slot machine.