Charlie Chance in Hell to Pay: Overview
Swedish workaholics Play’n GO take a turn for the unusual in Charlie Chance in Hell to Pay. As the title suggests, players take a trip beneath the earth’s surface to the darkened underworld. Those who are a little squeamish have nothing to worry about. The whole vibe is more slapstick than spooky since the developer has gone with a friendly cartoon approach to carry the slot. The game itself is more conventional, comprising a 3 reel, 5-payline fruit design with plenty of classic imagery to take on.
Play’n GO has based the game loosely around the fictional detective Charlie Chan who appeared in a bunch of novels, tv, and films. If you are unaware of the detective, it’s no wonder; the books were published way back in the 1920s. They were apparently quite a hit then , though why Play’n GO has revived the character or the era is a bit of a mystery. It’s a good choice though, because the look of the game is rather unique, set as it is in hades.
Play’n GO has created Charlie Chance in the style of an old cartoon. Like, really old, before they’d figured out how to inject colour into them. Despite the background’s varying shades of black, white, and grey, it comes across as more inviting than you might think. The look is a lot like that creepy bones cartoon Disney did, where the skeletons used each other as xylophones. Charlie stands to the left looking spooked, while a horned Betty Boop type with a trident floats on the right.
In the centre of the scene is the 3×3 game grid with 5 fixed paylines. Now we get a blast of colour from its big bright symbols, creating a nice contrast between the colourless background. When it comes to symbols, it is mainly fruit with plenty of flames and chains thrown in for good measure. Low pays include cherries, lemons, a sliced apple, and a bunch of grapes. High pays are a BAR, triple sixes, and hell’s bells as the most valuable. Only combinations of three of a kind are possible with values ranging from 0.4x to 4 times the stake.
Don’t forget to give the boatman a coin when crossing the river Styx – which is a long-winded way of leading into bet selection. On one side, low rollers can take part with spin costs of 10 p/c or for high rollers up to £/€100 a pop. Interestingly, given the setting, the game has a medium volatility rated at 6/10, softening the ride perhaps, but the game does pack with a good potential as you will see. The RTP, meanwhile, can vary depending on the market, so be sure to peruse the rules before embarking. The one you want is 96.23% RTP which is both the highest it can get and the default rating. Always pays to check of course.
Charlie Chance in Hell to Pay: Features
Wilds are important in Charlie Chance with 3 varieties cropping up. The first is your run of the mill standard wild which can substitute for any of the regular pay symbols to form a winning combination. The wild may also appear as an x2, or an x3 wild multiplier applied to any win it is part of. The good thing is that more than one multiplier on screen have their values multiplied together. So, 3x3x3 result in a total multiplier of x27, instead of x9 if they were just added together.
Next up is the flaming horned femme symbol which is the scatter and can land in any position. Landing 3 of them in view triggers the Feature Board, with a chance of unlocking a bunch of prizes:
- An instant cash prize.
- A respin with random wilds added to the reels.
- A respin with a random multiplier of x2, x3, or x25.
- A win spin which guarantees a pay out.
- Win a round of free spins.
Entrance to the free spins feature comes with 8 spins. During this round, every three scatters collected grants another crack at the Feature Board. As before, the Feature Board offers the same respins, cash prizes, wilds, multipliers, win spins, or more free spins.
Charlie Chance in Hell to Pay: Verdict
Despite the old school format, Charlie Chance in Hell to Pay is quite a fresh game to play. What makes it so is the unusual setting, as well as the random as heck characters populating it. It certainly makes a nice change to visit somewhere different, even if that means getting fried in the underworld. Actually, the more you think about it, the stranger the game gets. It seems poor Charlie is paying for something he’s done to the horned lady. What could it have been?
It’s unlikely we’ll ever find out, and that’s too bad, so let’s concentrate on what we do know. For classic fruit slot action, Play’n GO has done a fine job of making the slot somewhat desirable. The gameplay is fast-paced, and simple, with extra depth provided by the Feature Board’s selection of prizes.
Wild multipliers can be just as thrilling with the possibility of x27 the win on the cards should three appear. The max win potential of up to 6,666 times the stake is surprisingly good – a figure above the normal amount you usually receive from a Play’n GO slot too.
Having said that, it’s hard to see how one could even come close to that number. Whilst testing the game, it seemed unlikely to be able to even score half of that. It’s all about the multipliers here and you will need a respin with the 25x multiplier combined with loads of wilds or high pays to land decent wins. For the most part, however, payouts were quite disappointing and the math model quite unforgiving. Overall, Charlie Chance is a charming offering with a unique premise albeit a bit too tight for our liking.
Play’n GO has also released a follow-up slot titled Charlie Chance XreelZ. Played using 5-reels, as opposed to 3 in the original, it utilises Play’n GO’s trademarked mechanic known as XreelZ.