A film called Das Boot was released in 1981, and it is widely considered to be one of the best and most costly movies to come out of Germany. The book by the same name was released in 1973 by Lothar-Günther Buchheim, and it detailed his time spent on the German submarine U-96 in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. Developers may not immediately think of U-boats destroying Allied ships during World War II as a source of inspiration. The fact that they were able to take Das Boot and turn it into Das xBoot, a sophisticated slot with a plethora of features, shows that Nolimit City is not your average studio.
Das xBoot is a genuine combination of functions and mechanisms from other earlier Nolimit video slots. The visuals and sound are straight out of Das Boot, with the action taking place in a gray sea just off the sub’s starboard side. Despite drawing inspiration from the Kriegsmarine, the sequel to Mental, Das xBoot, is surprisingly subdued. Come-book visuals are countered by a superb Jaws meets Klaus Doldinger meets Blade Runner 2049 soundtrack, adding a layer of lurking danger to the film’s already engaging tense mood.
The fundamental game costs anything from 20p to £/€100 per spin and is played on a 6-reel panel that shuffles between a 2-3-4-4-3-2 layout and other configurations based on the current game phase or the presence of particular symbols. Under normal circumstances, there are 576 possible outcomes, but this number can increase to 75,712 in the best case scenario. Das xBoot is, as its developer has rated it a perfect 10, an extremely risky slot machine. Variable RTP; search for the 96.03% variant, which is the most generous. There is a 22.07% chance of a win, and free spins occur on average once every 211 spins, with two tiers of bonus rounds available dependent on the number of scatter symbols that appear.
When we go further deeper into the symbols, we find that there are 10 ordinary payouts and several unique symbols. The lowest-paid crew members are those who deal cards (ranks 10–A), followed by the cooks, radio technicians, engineers, periscope operators, and captains (ranks 6–10). The Kapitanleutnant is the most valued card, with a payout of 20 times the wager for a winning hand of six of a type.
Features of the xBoot Slot Device
When setting sail for an extended period of time, it’s important to have a good supply of provisions on hand, and Das xBoot provides just that with features like xNudge Wilds, xWays, xBomb Wild Multipliers, Silent Hunter Spins, and Wolf Pack Spins.
To begin, we have xNudge Wild, a 4-row high wild sign that nudges to full visibility at all times. With each prod, the wild multiplier rises by 1. In the base game, xNudge Wilds can appear on reels 3 and 4, however in the Silent Hunter Free Spins bonus round, they appear exclusively on reel 4. Any and all multipliers are added together to determine payouts.
If the xWays icon appears on reels 2 or 5, it will disclose an additional two or three instances of a standard random symbol. Multiple xWays symbols on the reels will always result in the same payout.
When an xBomb Wild falls, it boosts the global win multiplier by 1, then explodes, clearing the reels of any non-winning symbols. After detonating, xBombs become wildcards. As the explosion clears the grid, the leftover symbols fall to the bottom and new ones fall in. The win multiplier is carried over into any subsequent free spins that occur on the same spin.
Keep a watch out for the sonar screen; it acts as a scatter and appears on reels two through five. If you get 3 of them to land, you’ll get 8 Wolf Pack Free Spins, and if you get 4 of them to show up, you’ll get 8 Silent Hunter Free Spins.
During the Silent Hunter Bonus Round, reel 3 expands to a periscope-like 8 places in height, and a new Periscope Wild may appear there. When a winning combination appears on reels 1 and 2, the Periscope Wild on reel 3 triggers a torpedo launch sequence that boosts the win multiplier by 1. Reel 3 is covered by the Periscope Wild if the boat is sunk in this brief attack animation. When a stack of Periscope Wilds moves down to cover an entire reel, the reel’s multiplier rises by 1. Any worldwide win multiplier will have this value applied to it. If the assault misses, the Periscope Wild will still function as a standalone creature. Finally, any visible scatter awards +2 extra free spins.
The Wolf Pack Free Spins feature is triggered when the torpedo tube appears under reels 2-5. New torpedo wild symbols will cause an xWays symbol to fall onto the torpedo area whenever they land on these reels. These xWays symbols begin at x2 and increase by +1 for each subsequent torpedo wild that lands, up to a maximum of x9. The torpedo will move out of the way and expose xWays symbols when all four slots are occupied. When an uncovered xWay appears on reels 2 or 5, it changes into that many standard symbols; when it appears on reels 3 or 4, it changes into that many wilds. When a torpedo is launched, the victory multiplier is increased by 1. Similar to before, scatter symbols now grant an additional two free games.
The last option is to purchase the Nolimit Bonus function, which grants access to both bonus games. Wolf Pack Spins cost 350x the wager and have an RTP of 96.58%, while Silent Hunter Free Spins cost 75x the stake and have an RTP of 96.57%.
The xBoot Judgment on the Slot
Das xBoot’s complexity is above average, albeit it’s not quite as high as that of the preceding game, Mental. It will take a few more rounds to really get a handle on what’s going on, but once you do, there’s no room for doubt. Despite being based on one of the worst battlegrounds of World War II, it’s interesting how Das xBoot seems quite light after Mental. Comic book visuals help lighten the mood a bit, but sinking enemy ships and a sinister score do a terrific job of ramping up the suspense.
A who’s who of Nolimit City legends are included. It was smart to restrict special symbols to specific reels, as this added some variation and, in the event of many simultaneous triggers, multiplied their impact. Periscope Wilds can appear on reel 3 during Silent Hunter free spins, increasing the probability of a full wild reel. Adding an xWays symbol or xNudge might produce surprising outcomes. However, Das xBoot is a risky slot, so you should be prepared for several “Scheisse” (a term in the game).
One astonishing spin may completely alter the course of events, as we have seen in past Nolimit City games, and this is most likely to occur during the Wolf Pack Free Spins bonus round. At this point, it’s important to stack as many xWays symbols on the torpedo as possible. Then, if you manage to fire the torpedo, the next spin might be extremely insane due to the presence of several wilds, multipliers, and extra opportunities to win. However, you should expect to be teased severely. During one round of testing, with no winning combinations on the first reel, the final spin of the Wolf Pack triggered the torpedo, jacking ways, wild stacks, xWays, the full nine yards. That prompted a ‘Nein, nein, nein’ animation, which was both funny and aggravating given the game’s attempt at sympathy.
The gameplay of Das xBoot is either all or nothing, like a fruitless or successful submarine hunt. On a more somber note, it has been estimated that just 20% of U-boat crew members will survive the war. The chances of getting Das xBoot’s maximum victory are significantly smaller. But if you do, you’ll unlock the Das Gold Des Roter Teufel bonus when the round ends and receive a massive haul worth 55,200x your stake.
Das xBoot is another enormous, unpredictable behemoth from Nolimit City, and its effect may be lessened if you’re still processing the memories (or nightmares) of Mental. Once more, the team has chosen a topic that few others would touch, and they’ve packed it full of the kind of gameplay that is just as happy to torpedo naive players out to sea as they are to reward them.