Fire in the Hole xBomb: Slot Review
Continuing their unstoppable roll, developer Nolimit City set their sights on one of the more populous, some might say clichéd, slots themes – the humble mining game. Characteristically, Nolimit City was not content following someone else’s script to do so. Instead, they’ve torn it up and let the team loose to conjure up something new. It might not seem wholly new if you only read the principle attributes on paper. In practice, however, Fire in the Hole xBomb is a big, gruff, no-nonsense machine that can blow sky high at any moment – much like a stick of dynamite, or the dwarven character who pops up at key moments throughout the game.
Play begins on a game area set up using 6 reels, 3 rows, and 486 ways to win. You can see this is only half of the grid, as below the active area lie 3 dormant rows holding empty positions. At first, the location comes across as a little more subdued than usual for a Nolimit title. There is no prison scene, punk angst, or vicious wastelands setting the mood. Heavy plodding soundtrack layers on the atmosphere while glowing lanterns illuminate an old mine shaft propped up by timber support beams, betraying few clues of the intensity possible when Fire in the Hole xBomb is firing. If you close your eyes, it’s easy to visualize caverns full of muscle-bound, sweaty dwarves going about the business of smashing rocks to reveal treasure or beating metal into blades.
Offering stakes from 0,20 to € 50 per spin, Fire in the Hole xBomb is another Nolimit City slot throwing around big numbers. One to be wary of is volatility, rated 10 out of 10 – not just high according to its maker, but extreme. As per usual, the RTP is variable; that’s something to look out for before shouldering your imaginary pickaxe, where the preferred one uses a configuration of 96.06%. Other stats of interest include a hit rate of 1 in 4 and big potential – covered in the verdict.
Fire in the Hole xBomb pays out on winging symbols left to right, irrespective of the row, from the first reel. Symbols start with 5 boxed 9-K symbols, unorthodoxly dropping the usual A from the pile. Then we get the premiums consisting of pickaxes, rope, boots, a satchel, and a lantern – 6 of a kind premiums will get you a prize worth 1.75 to 7.5 times the stake.
Fire in the Hole xBomb: Slot Features
Fire in the Hole xBomb is the first slot to showcase Nolimit City’s new xBomb feature. As part of the full package, players also get Collapsing Mine, Wild Mining, Lucky Wagon Spins, and feature buy functionality where these sorts of things are permissible.
The Collapsing Mine feature is best to cover first and is more or less an elaborate cascade system. Each spin starts with 3 active rows, and when a collapse occurs, an additional row becomes active – up to 6 in total at the most. Collapses are triggered when winning combinations land when an xBomb Wild explodes, or by the Wild Mining feature. Winning symbols are removed before triggering the next collapse, causing all symbols to fall downwards. This creates empty spaces for new symbols to fall into, possibly leading to consecutive wins. When all 6 rows are active, 46,656 ways are in play.
Sadly, there is no connection between xBombs and the Tom Jones hit song. Anyway, xBomb Wild symbols substitute any symbol except scatters to complete wins. When xBomb Wilds explode, they remove all adjacent regular pay symbols and increase a win multiplier by x1 for the next collapse. xBomb Wilds explode when there is a win, even if it was not part of it. xBombs also explode to trigger a collapse if there is no win, as long as Wild Mining (covered below) is not triggered.
Wild Mining triggers when 3, 4, or 5 of the same matching symbol type land in a horizontal line, but there is no winning combination. Triggering symbols are removed, and 1, 2, or 3 wilds, respectively, are added to the middle of the alignment. All other positions in the active area explode, except scatter or wild symbols; then, a new collapse is triggered.
The highlight of the show is the Lucky Wagon Spins bonus feature. Played on a new grid, the number of starting rows correlates with the number of scatters that landed to trigger the bonus – so 3, 4, or 5 scatters gives you 2, 3, or 4 starting rows respectively. Now, you get 3 spins to start with, which reset back to 3 every time a coin symbol lands in the game area. Along the top of the grid, 6 carriages displaying different prizes and modifiers appear on each spin. When a coin lands, whatever prize or modifier displayed above it is awarded. This can be:
- A coin value ranging from x1-x100.
- A multiply applied to all coins below it.
- Dynamite symbols, which add a value to the coin, unlock blocked row positions and activate collect chests on the bottom row.
- Bag symbols collect all coins on the corresponding reel and deposit them on the triggering coin.
- Chest symbols collect all values on the reel and clear all occupied positions in the reel area except the dwarf symbol.
- Dwarf symbols collect all values on the reel and place them on the triggering coin. It will do this on each following spin.
When collect chests are active on the bottom row, they collect the value of all coins above them on each spin. There is a lot to take in, so just think of it as a completely overblown hold-and-win feature, with loads of modifiers.
For players itching to skip the base game and get straight to the bonus, Nolimit has attached a feature buy to do so. There are 3 options costing 60x, 157x, or 500x the bet. For that, the game serves up 3, 4, or 5 bonus symbols, and ups the RTP to 96.07%, 96.2%, or 96.96%, respectively.
Fire in the Hole xBomb: Slot Verdict
After a huge start to 2021, which saw the release of San Quentin xWays and East Coast vs West Coast, Nolimit City has kept their foot on the gas by dropping another banger. We’re talking about the extremely volatile, massive potential gaming that continues to cement Nolimit’s reputation as a heavyweight studio in the gambling community. You might think the momentum has to give at some point, that it’s just not feasible for a studio to keep knocking it out of the park.
Judging by Fire in the Hole xBomb, that’s not an issue they have to worry about at the moment as the team’s creative juices continue to bubble, laying down another challenge to their competitors. Hat’s off to Nolimit City for breathing life back into the mining category, for one. Through a mix of pleasing audio-visuals, big potential, and cunning gameplay, Nolimit has designed a unique mining experience. It’s a testament to a studio’s design capabilities when they can reanimate a theme so prosaic, as well as craft unique settings elsewhere.
As to the new feature, xBomb Wilds are ideal for a mining game and are similar to xNudge Wilds in that they produce multipliers while playing a major part in scoring bigger wins. As will be obvious to most experienced players, Lucky Wagon Spins have a dose of Money Train 2 about them. They might be less intense without all the gunfire going on, but Lucky Wagon Spins do come with a higher payoff to balance out the scale. You might only start with three spins, but they have the potential to snowball like a volatile freight train. Special symbols and Collect Chests play a crucial role in getting the most out of the bonus game, which, when strained to capacity, is as high as 60,000x the stake. Critically, a max win is achievable in any game phase, including the base game, though it is more likely to occur in Lucky Wagon Spins triggered by five scatters.
There’s no reason why players won’t take to Fire in the Hole xBomb in droves. There is a thriving market for mining themed games, as well as plenty of hardcore gamers itching to wave red flags at whatever raging beast Nolimit City unleashes. Best be clear though, Fire in the Hole xBomb is no laid-back roller coaster ride through a warmly lit mine shaft. This is one of those rickety old pits in danger of collapsing and crushing the unwary at any moment. There ain’t no canary down here, let’s put it that way. However, it’s also a mine stuffed with rich stuff ready to be tapped by those who can withstand the pressure.