Izmir, Turkey – Hypes come and go, and that certainly applies to online slots. Game provider NetEnt faced the tricky task of creating a worthy successor to their mega hit Dead or Alive. But have they succeeded?

Reactoonz

This amazing slot machine from Play’n Go, launched in October 2017, is my favorite gambling game to this day. Not only in terms of playing fun, but also in terms of ROI (return on investment). Personally, this is the ideal game for me to create a larger bankroll with a low budget. I often start with a deposit of 25-50 euros and play Reactoonz with a bet between 0.20 and 0.40 cents. I do this until I get the Garga bonus and double my stake or a multiple of it. Depending on the winnings, I then increase my stake to 1.00 – 3.00 euros per spin in the hope that I will receive the Garga bonus including the 15 pink Reactoonz.

Of course this does not always work, but even if it does not work, you can play for a reasonably long time with a low budget. One in three times I always know how to crawl towards 100 euros and one in eight or ten times I know how to get to 500 to 1000 euros. There are of course exceptions. For example, on this slot machine I have won amounts of 1000+, 2000+, 3000+ and 4000+ euros. I actually win a 1000+ euro amount on this slot almost every month, although I have to say that I do play it quite often.

Reactoonz: first impression

When you play Reactoonz for the first time, it may look a bit strange, maybe even childish. The features are unclear, you often don’t understand any of the winning combinations, etc. At a certain point, however, you get to understand the features, and – even more important – which effects are “coming”. Especially the latter is super. It provides a lot of extra tension.

As a player you are always looking for the 15 pink Reactoonz or at least the Garga bonus. Once you have mastered the game, you can actually use the emerging effect and the symbols on the screen to estimate whether you are likely get it, and that makes it really exciting.

The most important thing is therefore the Garga bonus. That is surely a special thing. It is something unique, and … it is always exciting! As a player you know that if you see six pink symbols in your screen there is a chance of winning 750x or 1500x your bet. After all, the Gargantoon consists of 9 wild symbols, and with 15 pink symbols you have the jackpot. And even if you can’t manage to connect 15 pink Reactoonz (or the green ones, they are also pretty good), every bonus actually guarantees reasonable to good prizes.

Play’n Go has taken a huge risk and that worked out very well for them. Because let’s be honest: 99% of all slot machines still offer the standard “free spins” bonus. Some that are more unique have a variant made up with things like “sticky wilds” or extra “multipliers,” but to I am a bit fed up with that kind of bonuses. The Garga bonus was really a refreshment in that respect!

Tome of Madness

In June 2019 Play’n Go finally came with the successor of Reactoonz. Something many online gamblers had eagerly anticipated. To boost the game a bit, the developer enlisted the help of their mascot Rich Wilde. A character that we know from Pearls of India, Aztec Idols and Book of Dead, among others. If we should summarize the game we can say that Tome of Madness (TOM) is a clone of Reactoonz cast in a different theme and with some custom effects.

The bonus is, with some minor changes, also comparable with Reactoonz. The Gargantoon is replaced by a large octopus and where the bonus in Reactoonz consists of 1 large Gargantoon that appears once, a second round with two half-sized Gargantoonz and a third round with an army of small Gargantoonz, the octopus appears in TOM one-off, but drops down in three steps, giving you a chance of winning three times.

The game looks great graphically, the sounds and effects are beautiful as well. Moreover, the game runs reasonably fast, which I personally love. But is this enough to be a worthy successor?

Reactoonz vs. Tome of Madness: Reactoonz by far the big winner!

No! Rich Wilde and the Tome of Madness is a huge disappointment to me. It goes a bit too far to call it a big flop, but despite the fact that it is a fairly exact copy of Reactoonz, this game does not appeal to me at all.

Why? Simple. Reactoonz’s strength lies not only in the “pink jackpot,” but also in the build-up to it. I am referring to the fact that you as a player see if you have a chance to win the 15 pink Reactoonz. Or the green ones, they are also good. And even the blue ones can still produce a fairly large win with a high bet.

At TOM this tension is completely missing. The octopus that looks nice in itself offers too little action. Many of the “mega wild” bonuses with the octopus lead to very disappointing results. In addition, the symbol to be achieved (the equivalent of the pink Reactoonz symbol) doesn’t show up much and the overall look is messy. Meaning, you don’t see at a glance what you can win or have won.

Now I understand that you cannot get a 750x or 1500x win every bonus, but with Tome of Madness you have the feeling that you can almost never win it. In practice it will probably not differ much with the odds of Reactoonz, but as a player actually you miss the tension. The “hope for hitting the big one” makes a game exciting, and I miss that feeling enormously at TOM.

In addition, the effects and features in Tome of Madness are enormously lousy. The Abyss and Void features are too similar to each other and are generally only annoying. At Reactoonz, on the other hand, you have various features that offer enormous potential. Think of the wild symbols that appear randomly, the random cross which can turn into wilds, etc. Reactoonz not only offers more features, but also features that actually add something to the build-up to the Garga bonus.

As a final point of criticism of TOM, I want to talk about the number of bonuses. Too much! That may sound strange, but with Tome of Madness you literally get a bonus every 100 spins. That sounds nice, but the result is that most of the times you get a lousy bonus, which half of the times does not even result in the “mega wild” octopus bonus. Personally I find this very disturbing. At Reactoonz you know: a bonus guarantees profit. As an online gambler you get a huge kick when you get the mega bonus. With Tome of Madness, a bonus is anything but special, actually lacks all the tension and the result is often terrible to say the least.

Conclusion: Riche Wilde and the Tome of Madness is a total failure. That is, if you see this slot machine as the successor to Reactoonz. In itself it is a fun game to play in between, but I expect that it will drop quickly in the popularity polls. Unfortunately, as far as I’m concerned, Play’n Go couldn’t live up to the high expectations.

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