If you are old enough to remember the hit TV show Miami Vice, you’ll see a lot of references to it in the Hotline pokies from NetEnt. The cars, sunglasses and palm trees all hint at this show. The music, with plenty of keyboards and guitar solos, is joined by the sound of police sirens. Also on the slot reels, you’ll find a beautiful lady and plenty of jewels.
Hotline has an unusual setup. You get to pick zones, which trigger expanding wilds with respins. There is also a free spins bonus game where sticky expanding wilds can lead to some huge wins. Here are the high-octane highlights of this medium variance pokie:
As a default, the middle of the 3 rows is designated as the special zone. Any wilds landing here will expand to cover an entire reel. After your win(s) are calculated, a free respin occurs. This will often bring more line hits. It might also bring another car wild symbol. If this lands in the middle row, it will also expand, triggering yet another respin.
You can hit some huge wins those times you get 3 or more completely wild reels.
There is a chance to make this feature more frequent. Before you spin, you can click yellow buttons to the side of the reels. You can choose up to 3 rows, which will each trigger the wilds to expand and respin. The trade-off is that you’ll need to double, then triple your bet level to have these extra rows live.
Scatters showing palm trees on reels, 1, 3 and 5 are needed to trigger the short though potentially profitable free spins bonus game. You will only receive 7 free spins, and the respin system is not in place.
Instead any of the car wild symbols hitting the reels in any position will grow – covering all 3 rows on that reel. They will then remain sticky on the reels for your remaining free spins. If you are lucky enough to get a couple of wild reels on those first few spins, this short free spins round does have the potential for very big wins.
Scatters don’t appear during this bonus feature – so 7 free spins are all you’ll get each time.
The 5×3 reels are under a flickering neon sign showing the pokies name. You’ll see yellow buttons to the left of them if you enabled all 3, as a default on the middle button is active. You’ll bet for 15, 30 or 45 coins – depending on how many you activated before you hit spin. Coins start at 1c denomination, with a bet multiplier and bigger denominations both possible.
A lady in a big hat talking on a very retro looking block of a mobile phone is the highest paying symbol. She is worth 200 coins for the maximum 5. A guy with a gun and one with mirror shades follow, worth 120 and 80 coins max respectively. There are only 3 more symbols. These show complex pieces of Jewlery, on stands, perhaps the target of a heist?
When the wild cars hit the reels, you’ll hear screeching tyres and revving engines while they expand. The word ‘respin’ appears in huge letters, before the reels spin again. If you get another wild next to the first one, they combine into a bigger graphic showing the sporty car. There is also a car chase sequence before your free spins start.
The setting of the reels looks idyllic, and reminiscent of the 1980s Miami Vice TV series. To the left are palm trees at sunset, with a hotel to the right. Above the reels, the pokie logo does a realistic neon sign impression, flickering on and off.
Music is a little over the top compared to more recent tunes. Long guitar solos and complex synth sequences complete the retro feel.
While the theme is deliberately retro, there is some irony in that this game is no longer new. It is a fairly retro pokie, with a decidedly retro theme. Having said that, Hotline from NetEnt is still enjoyable. If you bet 3x, those wild reel respins are more frequent, upping the volatility and the excitement levels. The free spins bonus is short. If you get those sticky wild reels early, this can be very profitable.