Rap albums are littered with charges of plagiarism, suggesting that the practice may be as common in the music industry as it is in the casino business. If you’ve been keeping up with gaming trends this year, it won’t take you long to figure out where Red Tiger’s Hustling, a piece of software, could have gotten its inspiration. Hustling is a slot machine with a pay both ways gaming mechanism, where a West Coast rapper faces off against an East Coast performer on opposite sides of the grid.
It’s true that Hustling has an East Coast vs West Coast feel, with each coast providing the primary color for one half of the game’s backdrop. New York’s graffiti-covered, fire escape-covered buildings sit on the right, while Los Angeles’ palm trees and sunset can be seen on the left. Although the sights and music aren’t very groundbreaking, they are well-executed thanks to Red Tiger’s talented art team. Neither has the lively uniqueness or abundance of subtle touches that Nolimit City displayed in their critically lauded production East Coast vs West Coast, though. Even so, Hustling is engaging enough to make you want to press play and see what more comes bopping along.
Hustling is a mass-market game driven by a highly volatile mathematical model with a default theoretical return value of 95.69 percent. Bets range from c/p 0.20 up to €/$20 per spin on a 5-reel, 3-row game grid that awards prizes for clusters of three or more identical symbols appearing in either a left-to-right or right-to-left formation on reels 1, 3, and 5. The pay both ways scheme essentially doubles the number of pay ways on the grid, from five to ten.
As for the rewards, Hustling only uses five low-paying graffiti-style card royals (10-A), which pay out anywhere from 0.4x the stake to 1.2x the bet for a five-of-a-kind victory. The upper part of the table has premium symbols including caps, spray cans, a ghetto blaster, a few pairs of shoes, and a gold dollar sign necklace. The reward for a premium victory of five of a kind ranges from three times to twenty times the initial wager.
Playing the Slots for Real Money
Super wilds have many important functions in Hustling, including acting as substitutes for standard pay symbols and unlocking bonus games. They both show up on all of the reels in a full stack. Only the first reel on the left will include the West Wild, while the first reel on the right will feature the East Wild. Each time a Super Wild appears, it cannot be replaced for the remainder of that spin.
If two Super Wilds appear on reels 1 and 5, the player receives 10 additional free games. Players must first decide whether to fight for the West Wild or the East Wild. For the length of the bonus round, both wilds are fixed in place, increasing your win multiplier by 1. If a Super Wild contributes to a win, the multiplier for that win will rise by one.
If the chosen Super Wild has a greater multiplier than the other Super Wild when the free spins reach zero, an extra ten free spins will be awarded. If the multipliers are equal, you’ll get an additional spin until one of the Super Wilds is higher. If this wild is selected, you will receive 10 bonus spins. The game is over if the chosen Super Wild has a lower multiplier than the current one. Finally, the multipliers of both wilds are multiplied by each other before being added to a line win. When the bonus spins are over, the multipliers are returned to their original values.
Case in Point: The Slots Jury
Although East Coast vs. West Coast and Hustling have many similarities, they each offer their players unique ways to unleash their inner ‘gangster.’ Both have a fantastic hip-hop, sneakers, and spray-paint aesthetic, but ECvsWC’s styling is more daring and creative, and it also features a superior music. Hustling is a less risky choice than ECvsWC, but it has a lower maximum bet size, thus it may be preferable for players who don’t want to go as big.
The ‘dope’ visuals are reminiscent of Play’n GO’s Nyjah Huston, and the ‘tight’ gameplay follows suit. Apologies for the overused phrases, but after playing Hustling for a time, it’s hard not to develop an attitude. The pay both ways concept is a fantastic representation of the East Coast against West Coast rivalry, and the rap battle that occurs during free spins is just as creative. While the two performers bob and weave, you may enjoy the multipliers on each side of the grid even if your favorite guy doesn’t win every time. The most thrilling moments during testing were when five of a kind victories occurred, since this would trigger both multipliers.
Hustling can’t go nuclear as East Coast vs. West Coast can because of the limited amount of pay lines and low symbol values. Without any contagious xWays or Drive-By Respins, for instance, this comes out as a somewhat generic rip-off. Top Dawg$ from Relax Gaming is another likely contender; it, too, has fewer paylines but features sticky multipliers in free spins that can totally skyrocket when luck is on the player’s side. If the two rappers fight to a stalemate, the maximum that can be won is a relatively modest 3,151 times the bet; hustling is just not as potent.
To put it another way, if Hustling were stopped at a red light playing crunk and East Coast vs. West Coast rolled up beside, you could totally see it lowering the level and being casual about it. When the light changed to green, however, the volume was turned back up and play continued. To put it another way, we’re using a traffic light metaphor to suggest that Hustling isn’t quite as tough or rewarding as the slot it seems to be inspired by, but that it’s still a good time for those who don’t require the hardest rider to get to their destination.