Xtra Hot is a truly pleasurable, simple slot experience that foregoes extravagant themes to present players with a clear slot that is easy to pick up and play with minimal practice or experience. It has been around a while, and was one of the early slots that attempted to draw experienced players out of the land based casinos and into online game rooms. It was established through market research and creative thinking that the best way to achieve this was simply to take the land based slot machine experience and tweak it for an online audience.
Its accessibility made the slot one of the leading research tools for gaming companies. It achieved its early goal easily, and offline players flocked to the game in their droves. However, the slot’s maker didn’t rest on its laurels, and continued to seek feedback from the player community on how it could make the slot even better. This included a range of questionnaires and fan forums covering everything from the look and feel of the game to how successfully it recreated the experience of long established casinos. It was established that what casino players think of first and foremost is the play experience – nobody wants to play a boring game. It was unanimously agreed that Xtra Hot was almost perfect, offering enough special features to keep players interested without going too far and adopting an overbearing theme. Competing games incorporate themes, and they certainly have their audience. Some players enjoy suspending their belief for the course of a game and immersing themselves in a fantasy world. However, the kind of customers that Xtra Hot was looking to reach were mainly concerned with the prospect of winning money with minimal distractions.
The other key feature was found to be the aesthetics. Even if they want to keep things simple, no players wants to watch badly rendered, dull graphics for an extended period of time. Again, Xtra Hot checked the box, offering bold, crisp renditions of its chosen suite of symbols, the timeless fruits, stars, 7s and bars. Small amounts of animation are used here and there to show significant developments, such as a lightning strike through all winning symbols when a win line activates. It is enough to provide added definition to an important event, without overbearing the other carefully created graphics.
These other graphics incorporate both the game’s title bar and background. With no specific theme in mind, the designers were free to choose from any number of colours and effects. The result was a mixed blue and purple background, reminiscent of lighting in many high class casinos, again appealing to that demographic. The title text is used to incorporate the name of the game, visualising the idea of Xtra Hot through a fiery red colour scheme.
Of course, a true online slot experience needs to incorporate sound as well as visuals, and this is particularly important when looking to recreate the atmosphere of a live casino. Specific sounds were created for this exact purpose, and by all accounts fit the action extremely well without being intrusive. This means a range of clearly electronic inspired sound effects, together with unique clips for winning lines.
The market research proved worthwhile, but not because it allowed the game’s makers to refine their product. Instead, it served to reinforce their feelings that they had created an almost perfect slot for those looking to progress online.
In terms of the gameplay that is so crucial to the success of a slot, Xtra Hot continues to succeed. Excessive confusing options are stripped out, leaving a five reel, five win line slot. Bonus features are also kept to a stylistic minimum, covering only scatter and wild symbols, with both roles filled by the star symbol, and a simple gamble feature where a player has the chance to double the prize amount of a winning spin. There are no fancy side games or confusing symbol combinations to worry about.
Overall, the beauty of Xtra Hot is in its simplicity and its delivery. Players of any level can start playing at any time, and be fully aware of how the game works within minutes. The graphics are top class, especially for what is seen as a simple game, and there is very little chance of becoming confused simply due to the relatively low number of win lines. Of course, if a player does have any problems, they can access both a help and pay table screen from within the game itself.