Hoot Loot Slot Game
When High 5 Games released Hoot Loot in 2004 slot machine games were still very primitive and simplistic. Hoot Loot was one of a wave of new games that introduced interactive characters and special bonus pick roots.
But maybe the greatest innovation the game introduced was its Hoot Line, a bonus pay line against which you don't have to make any wagers. Hoot Loot remains popular to this day and is consistently ranked among the top ten video slots games by players and casinos alike.
Hoot Loot made its way from land-based casinos to the Internet in 2012 and is now offered in all available slots markets including the Web, mobile, and RMG Online.
Hoo, the talking owl character who acts as emcee for the game, is an animated cartoon-like character who gives you encouragement and celebrates especially good wins by flying and dancing around the screen. He is joined by a cast of cartoon friends including a fox, a moose, a porcupine, and an eagle.
The soundtrack is fun and invigorating, evoking memories of 1970s Saturday morning cartoon shows and syndicated daytime game shows. You can almost hear an announcer saying in the back of your mind, "This has been a Hanna Barbera / Screen Gems / Mark Goodson and Bill Todman / Merv Griffin production."
Hoo lives in a forest and the game's art concepts are drawn on that Jellystone Park-style of animation. The backdrop for the game is a clearing in the forest. Each of the character tiles has a background that implies they are somewhere in the great outdoors.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
Hoot Loot is a 5-reel, 3-row video slot game with 20 pay lines. The game has two special tiles, the Hoot Loot logo which is the Wild symbol and the Hoos Safe? scatter bonus symbol. All winning combinations are calculated from left to right and the first tile on a pay line must contribute to the prize. All contributing tiles must be adjacent to each other on the pay line winning the prize.
One of the special features of Hoot Loot is the Hoot Line, a special 21st "bonus line" that pays up to 22X your bet-per-line (times the value of the winning combination). We'll explain more about this below.
All of the symbols in the game are unique to Hoot Loot. You don't have any of those filler symbols from playing card decks. The three high-value symbols are as follows.
- The Eagle
- The Bear
- The Moose
Each of these symbols pays up to 500 times your bet per line (for 5-of-a-kind) and they are also the only symbols in the game that have a winning combination of 2 adjacent tiles.
The two mid-value tiles are as follows.
- The Fox
- The Porcupine
They both also pay 500X your bet per line for 5-of-a-kind, but you must get at least 3 of either symbol in order to win any of their prizes.
The following is a list of the remaining main tiles.
- Nest of Eggs
- The Wolf
- The Mushroom
- Autumn Leaves
The Nest of Eggs and the Wolf foot print are sort of middle value symbols because they pay 200X your bet per line for 5-of-a-kind.
The Mushroom patch, Raspberries, and Autumn leaves symbols all max out at 100X your bet per line for 5-of-a-kind.
The Hoot Loot Wild symbol pays 20,000 times your bet per line for 5-of-a-kind, but there is a restriction on that we will explain below. This symbol substitutes for all other symbols except Hoo's Safe (the scatter symbol).
The game controls are all positioned at the bottom of the screen. You can adjust the number of active pay lines by clicking on the up or down arrows next to the tally for active lines. You'll scroll through 1, 5, 9, 15, and 20. If you scroll slowly Hoo will say something to you and flip the sign for the Hoot Line so that it reads Best Bet. This appears to be random and you should not mistake it for real advice from the game.
To the right of the active pay lines control is the Bet Per Line control. You also use up and down arrows to adjust this amount, which scrolls through 0.01, 0.05, 0.10, 0.25, 1.00, 2.00, 5.00, and 10.00.
You can see how many credits you have to the right of the bet controls window. The amount of your last spin's pay off is displayed just above the credits.
To the right are the game's three technical controls. The Replay button, a High 5 Games hallmark, replays your last spin for you. This is a nice feature to have if you want to share a big prize with friends or take a picture. If you're just curious about where the money came from you can also use Replay and watch the game scroll through all the prizes. It will describe each one in a colored line of text just above the bet controls window.
Below the Replay button is the question mark button, which brings up the pay table (help) screens. There are twelve of these screens, in case you're curious, although one is just a splash screen telling you that Hoot Loot was created by High 5 Games.
The sound control is right next to the question mark. It toggles the sound on or off. If you are playing on your computer you'll have to use the computer's volume control to adjust the volume. In a land-based casino you're stuck with on or off.
The Autoplay button allows you to choose from 1 to 25 spins. It will automatically stop spinning if a bonus game rolls up or if you run out of money. The button becomes a Stop button while the auto play is active so that you can interrupt it. Be careful about turning the game loose if you don't have many credits.
The Spin button is in the far right corner. It counts down the number of autoplays you have left. You can also use it to stop the reels from spinning, but this only interrupts the animation. It does not affect game play. You won't be able to "catch" the bonus symbols or Wild symbols as they scroll down.
Triggering the Bonus Round
Although technically there is only one bonus game in Hoot Loot, the Hoot Line requires a little explanation. It costs you nothing to play the Hoot Line. It is just a free bonus pay line. The rules for it are interesting.
When you click on Spin the game randomly selects 15 tiles (5 reels X 3 rows). It also randomly picks anywhere from 0 to 5 of those tiles and adds a little portrait of Hoo to the lower right corner of the tile. These tiles are then copied down into the Hoot Line, which is carved into a cartoon log laying below the tile display area.
Hoo stands to the left of the log. If a winning combination appears in the Hoot Line he'll tell you and sometimes he'll get up on top of the log and dance around. The Hoot Line multiplies your winning prize by either the number of active pay lines (if you have fewer than 20) or 22 if you have all 20 pay lines active.
Let's say you get three Autumn leaves symbols on the Hoot Line. They pay 5X your bet per line on a normal pay line regardless of how many active pay lines you have. If you have 19 or fewer active pay lines then the Hoot Line pays you (1, 5, 10, or 15) times your bet per line times the 5X multiplier awarded by the 3 leaf symbols.
If you have all 20 pay lines active the Hoot Line pays you 22 times the bet per line times the prize.
The important thing to remember is that winning combination rules apply to the Hoot Line as well as the normal pay lines. So even though you will see symbols appear on the Hoot Line as you play the game, many of those combinations pay nothing. A Fox, Porcupine, Hoot Loot (Wild) combination pays nothing, for example. But a Hoot Loot, Moose combination pays 2 times your bet per line times the Hoot Loot line multiplier (22 or the number of active pay lines).
The Scatter Bonus game, called Hoos Safe? pick, is much easier to follow. You'll see the scatter symbol roll up occasionally on reels 1, 3, and 5. When it appears on all 3 reels the game stops and allows you to pick one of the safes. You are awarded some multiple of your bet.
The game pays normal prizes for winning combinations when the Scatter Bonus is activated, and it also pays the Hoot Line line prize if there is one, so it's possible to win three ways on a single spin.
It's really no wonder why Hoot Loot remains so popular even though there are more "modern" slot games available to play. That possibility of winning three ways on a single spin is pretty cool as slot machine concepts go. But the Hoot Line itself is also a nice touch. At the end of the day, you have more to watch out for with Hoot Loot than you do with many other slot machine games.
The character animations are cute. It's kind of a shame that High 5 Games did not animate the low-value tiles (they do flash when forming part of a winning combination).
Hoo's comments are, to be punny, a hoot. He'll sometimes say something encouraging or affirming when you click Replay. It's a different comment each time you click the button. And considering that this game came out in 2004, the fact that Hoo does anything at all is pretty amazing. Hoot Loot was definitely cutting edge for its time.
And one more thing: There is an Easter egg in the online game (We don't think you'll see this in the land-based version). If you click on Hoo's face he'll flap his wings for you.