Under the Radar: Luchadora by Thunderkick
The Boss walks in looking at May’s Under the Radar schedule and asks the LeoVegas Blog crew:
‘Hey, what do you guys like about Mexico?’
‘Tacos with shredded chicken and spicy salsa.’
‘Any movie with Gael Garcia Bernal in it.’
‘Lucha Libre. Just love it. Masked pro wrestlers fighting with a scared honour code in front of packed, raucous crowds.’
‘Oh yeah?’, says the Boss. ’Well, guess who just volunteered to review the Luchadora slot then!’
So what’s the deal here? Will it hit the canvas like a failed Luchador finding his opponent’s strength, speed and skill too much for him? Or will this mobile slot bring out all the moves and triumph like the great ‘El Santo’, founder, father and icon of Lucha lIbre in Mexico? Let’s find out.
Thunderkick slots pop up Under the Radar slot reviews with about the same frequency as Donald Trump says something meaningful and sensible. So about three times a year.
Luchadora’s theme never seen before in a slot
When writing slot reviews about Thunderkick games, we decided Turning Totems was decent but not spectacular but that Frog Grog had enough elements of fun, humour, general weirdness and originality to make it a real Under the Radar favourite. It’s off-the-beaten-track nature is the whole reason we have a category of Under the Radar slots that flag up games you might never otherwise have heard of.
And it’s worth adding that despite being a Swedish-owned, Malta-based company, they obviously have a thing about Mexico. After all, they created the much-talked about Esqueleto Explosivo.
Normally this is the stage where we describe the theme of the game and say it’s quite similar/very similar/not dissimilar to another mobile slot. But we’re pretty unlikely to be able to find another game that comes even close to having a similar subject or storyline.
A Luchadora is a female fighter in the sport of Lucha Libre. It’s a Mexican form of wrestling that’s contested at professional level and is more similar to freestyle wrestling than it is to the Olympic Sport of (Greco-Roman) wrestling. Unlike the WWE where the fights are staged and outcomes are decided before a dropkick has been made in anger, Lucha Libre is serious business with the fighters giving their all to win the fight in order to enhance their reputations and delight their fans.
Have we forgotten something?
We certainly have. All Luchadores/Luchadoras adopt a persona that comes with a nickname and the vast majority of them wear a mask at all times. Yes, not only during fights but in everyday life, too. So yeah, imagine that: you pop down the shops for a pint of milk and some bread and you’re in the queue to pay behind a big stocky guy wearing a bright-coloured mask.
And we over here in Europe think it’s weird when on Halloween a guy goes around wearing a Darth Vader mask once a year.
It’s not a Progressive jackpot slot, instead relying on free spins and a couple of other bonus games to give you those big prizes. There’s a very unique way of activating Wilds, as we’ll see in a second.
Play it on Desktop or take the masked madness of the Luchadora around with you. Although you might get a few funny looks when playing it on the train. Because sometimes the ring announcer in the slot shouts out some excitable phrases when you get yourself a win that’s as tasty as a beef, spicy bean and Guacamole Burrito. Phrases like ‘Ay picante’ or ‘Extra Picante’, stuff like that.
El Serpiente the coolest of the symbols
The Luchadora slot is a 5×4 reel game where the reels are made to look like a Lucha Libre ring. If you’ve played Thunderkick slots before, you’ll recognize their distinctive artwork and fonts.
You’ll notice that in the four corners of the ring there’s a golden circle around the square and that’s very relevant, as we’ll discuss just now.
Lower-paying symbols come in the form of four different coloured chillis. Cliched much? The red one is the slightly more valuable of the four.
Next up, are four masked Luchadores. El Toro (purple) is the most valuable, then El Rayo (orange), followed by El Serpiente (green, our favourite of the four) and finally El Pantera (blue).
Next up is the the ‘Misterioso Campeon’ icon with a big question mark on it. For the most part this is an irrelevant symbol because it only comes into play during free spins.
Then there’s a Lucha Bonus symbol that looks like a champion fighter’s belt and acts pretty much like the Scatter.
Last (but not certainly not least) is the Lucha Smackdown symbol. It looks like the bell used to signal the end of the round in fights and has a special function. It can only appear on Reel 5 and is really god news for you when it does.
Audio-wise, occasionally there are sound effects very similar to what you’d expect from the crowds at a Lucha Libre fight. Some applause when you get a win, some gasps of anticipation if you come close to activating the bonus. Stuff like that. A cool special effect of sorts is that when you secure a win, the canvas of the ring vibrates in a way similar to when a Luchador hits it pretty hard after being on the wrong end of a move.
Luchadora makes an appearance in free spins feature
Shall we talk about how to play Luchadora when it comes to bonus rounds and other special Luchadora features? Of course we shall.
You’ll have noticed in the previous section that we didn’t make any mention of Wild symbols. That’s because there isn’t a permanent Wild symbol. Instead, all four Wrestler symbols can turn into Wilds. In other words, they’re normal (high-paying) symbols most of the time and Wilds some of the time. What time is that then?
Remember the four corners of the ring with the golden circles around them?
Ok, well when one of the Luchadores lands in one of them, he occupies that corner and the golden circle disappears. That’s the cue for all other symbols of that Luchador to become to Wilds once the spin comes to an end. Having a special position on the reels where the square is surrounded by a gold circle/square and where landing on it with a particular symbol gives you a reward has been seen before in Cleopatra Plus.
So if for example, you got our friend El Serpiente in the bottom left corner and there were four more El Serpientes on the reels, each of those would become Wilds. That’s not a guarantee of a win but it obviously means you’ve got a great chance of getting one.
Get three Scatter symbols (the Belt) anywhere on the reels and you’ll be awarded free spins. Get four Scatters and you get 11, get 5 and you get the maximum 15.
The key in this round is to get the different Luchadores in the corners. Once that happens, that Luchador becomes Wild for the remainder of the free spins. The other thing that happens is that that Luchador gets crossed off the list of four. Once all four Luchadores are crossed off/Wilds activated then the Campeon Misteriosa is turned into the eponymous Luchadora symbol, who is as valuable a symbol as the El Toro Luchador is when Wild. In normal circumstances, the Campeon Misteriosa is a very low-paying symbol.
And that reminds us: all Luchadores pay more when they’re Wilds than when they’re not.
You can re-trigger more free spins, get given a Luchador symbol to be turned into a Wild or receive a Multiplier during the free spins. This happens if you get the Lucha Smackdown symbol on Reel 5.
Get that bell on Reel 5 and there are goodies waiting for you as it spins to give you your prize. You can get 7, 11 or 15 free spins. Or you can get 2x, 3x, 5x or 15x your bet. If it’s the free spins, you just progress right into that round, the same way as if they’d been activated by getting three Scatters.
Patience is rewarded with lots of fun
What we have here is a truly unique themed slot. Sports and video slots don’t tend to go particularly well together as a general rule but then again, Lucha Libre is actually as much entertainment and drama as it is physical prowess.
We love the different Luchador symbols and how they turn into Wilds with the golden square element adding another little rarely-seen feature that keeps things fresh and moving. We were also quite intrigued about the fact that the game is meant to be all about the Luchadora, yet she’s a pretty elusive character whose appearances in the slot are as rare as those of Mexican heritage actress Eva Longoria on TV and film these days.
Confession time: our review of this video slot may have been very different had we stopped playing it 10 minutes or so earlier than we did. For a while we were getting somewhat impatient and frustrated at our inability to activate the free spins, which is of course where the fun and the big wins are to be had.
But once we got to play a couple of free spins rounds, we got to really enjoy the game and appreciate the creativity that’s gone into it.
You can play the Luchadora slot for fun but to turn those big wins generated from lots of Wilds on the screen into real cash, you’ll first need to open a LeoVegas account.