Hound Hotel: Overview
Hound Hotel is part of a classic Microgaming duo, celebrating everyone’s two favourite domestic animals, cats and dogs. The other one, Kitty Cabana, was based on felines, while Hound Hotel is all about canines. If you like those old Coolidge paintings of dogs playing poker, you’ll love what Microgaming has done here. The doggy heroes of this tale reside in a luxury hotel, serving up Dashing Wilds and a nifty bout of free spins which include multipliers plus one of five wild features.
As the name implies, Hound Hotel is set in a swanky upmarket hotel full of maids, butlers, and so on. The twist is that the staff and guests are all canines of different breeds, brought to life as if they were people. Action takes place over a 5-reel, 25-payline game area, surrounded by classy columns, while the hotel glitters away in the background. For the most part, the soundtrack is subdued, with a sort of low-level café hum during the base game. Hit the bonus though, and things get all jazzy as the drama heats up.
Offering bets of 25 p/c to £/€37.50 per spin, players get an agreeable math model that ensures a steady stream of hits, running on medium volatility. Wins certainly aren’t shy, coming at a rate of nearly 1 in 2, or between 48%-49%. There is almost always some reward on its way, big or small. The return to player rate is another highlight, with a respectable figure of 96.25%.
Symbols start with J-A royals, which are utterly generic but the premiums have a ton more personality. Here you’ll find 5 hotel guests, all dogs of various guises. Five of a kind premiums payout 6 to 18 times the stake – double in one of the features detailed below.
Wilds are another one of Hound Hotel’s key attributes, during free spins at least. In the base game they aren’t quite so exciting, though they can land stacked. When wilds appear, they substitute for any pay symbol and are also worth up to 20 times the stake for a line of five.
Hound Hotel: Features
There aren’t too many extras during the base game, though players do get Dashing Wilds. On any non-winning base game spin, this feature may activate, adding 3 Dashing Wilds to the reels in random positions for another chance to win.
It’s during the bonus game that Hound Hotel turns up the gas. Firstly, the band kicks into action as soon as 3 or more butler scatters land to trigger the Hound Hotel Bonus. Scatters also payout from any position to the tune of 1x, 2x, 20x, to 100x the stake for 2, 3, 4, or 5 in view.
Before getting to the free spins, players are presented with a three-storied view inside the hotel. Clicking on a level 1 door reveals one of five special wild features, a level 2 door for a multiplier up to x6, and a level 3 door to reveal how many free spins are awarded –up to 30. Hopefully the doggy pals perform during the awarded number of free spins because they cannot be retriggered.
Doors on floor 2 or 3 may randomly award an extra pick. Free spins and multipliers are self-explanatory, so here is a breakdown of the five wild modifiers:
- Super stacked wilds – wilds are stacked 20 high on reels 2 and 4.
- Expanding wilds – wilds expand to cover the full reel when they land.
- Wilds reels – reels 1 and 5 are permanently wild.
- Split wilds – wilds split into two, allowing 6 of a kind combinations which are worth double the 5 of kind wins.
- Super wilds reels – reel 2, 3, or 4 turns wild on each spin. Scatters on reels 1 or 5 also turn them wild as well.
Hound Hotel: Verdict
Microgaming hit on just the right formula when they designed Hound Hotel. It’s no fluke dogs are popular pets, and plenty of their charisma flows into the slot. It may look a bit dated today, but the charming theme is accentuated by the human-like qualities, adding to the allure, and creating a fun-filled atmosphere to play in.
It’s not all light-hearted moments though. While the base game is nothing overly special, things get pretty intense in the Hound Hotel bonus. It starts with the three nail-biting choices, the outcomes of which have a major impact on how the bonus game turns out. Beneath the bright exterior, the math model is also well balanced in favour of players who like regular winners while waiting for the bonus to trigger. While the stream of hits and Dashing Wilds might not cough up major payouts most of the time, they do help keep spirits bright.
Best returns naturally come via the Hound Hotel Bonus, where you want the helpful wee butler to open the door on the biggest multipliers and free spins as possible. As to the best wild feature, they are quite similar, all being based around landing full reel wilds. Scratch just the right spot on this pup for wins of up to 2,933 times the stake.
Microgaming struck furry brown gold with Hound Hotel. It might not be the biggest, most vicious Pitbull in the pen, but for some feel-good gaming plus a great bonus game and bags of charm, Hound Hotel remains a firm favourite.