Catch Phrase Slot Machine
Endemol Games specializes in designing slots games based on television shows. Catch Phrase was a 1980s American game show that somehow made it over to the United Kingdom and improved its image and presentation. The show's concept is relatively simple. 2 or 3 contestants are shown a series of videos or pictures that represent a common saying and whichever contestant correctly guesses the phrase first is awarded points or money. The game has a preliminary round and a super round in which more challenging phrases are used to test the wits and reflexes of the contestants.
Released by Endemol in 2013, the slots game uses a slick, ultra modern television show motif based on the more recent UK variation of the game. The screen area with the playing reels is positioned against a backdrop based on the show's futuristic logo. Theoretical return to player is 95.49%. The game is currently not available to players in the United States.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
Catch Phrase is a 5-reel, 3-row video slot game with 20 pay lines. All prizes are paid from left to right and only the highest possible prize is awarded per pay line. There are four special symbols in this game:
- Wild symbol
- Read Money Bonus Scatter symbol
- Super Catch Phrase Bonus Scatter symbol
- Catch Phrase Bonus Scatter Symbol
You need at least 3 of any of the three Scatter symbols to trigger one of the bonus games.
The game's logo serves as the Wild symbol, which substitutes for all other symbols except the three Scatter symbols. Any winning combination containing1 or more Wild symbols pays double the normal prize.
Mr. Chips, the game show's mascot, serves as the Ready Money Bonus Scatter symbol. Details of this Free Spin game are provided below.
Flying Mr. Chips serves as the Super Catch Phrase Bonus Scatter symbol. Details of this game are provided below.
The Dueling Mr. Chips (blue vs. red) serves as the Catch Phrase Bonus Scatter symbol. See below for details about how this game plays.
There are eight regular symbols in the game as well. You need at least 3 of each for a winning combination.
- The Game Show Host (a cartoon-style depiction of 2013+ show host Stephen Mulhern) pays 35, 100, and 500 times bet per line for 3, 4, and 5 of a kind.
- The Red Question box pays 35, 60, and 300 times bet per line for 3, 4, and 5 of a kind.
- The Blue Question box pays 20, 50, and 200 times bet per line for 3, 4, and 5 of a kind.
- The three Catch Phrase Tickets pay 10, 20, and 125 times bet per line for 3, 4, and 5 adjacent symbols.
- The remaining symbols in the game are "A", "K", "Q", and "J". They max out at 100 times bet per line. The "A" pays 10 times bet per line for 3 of a kind and all the rest pay 5 times bet per line for 3 of a kind. All four symbols pay 15 times bet per line for 4 of a kind.
Game controls are standard for an online slots game. The control panel is positioned at the bottom of the screen below the screen area for the playing reels.
The Pay Lines widget is on the far left. Use the left and right arrows to adjust how many pay lines are active.
The Bet Per Line widget uses left and right arrows to cycle through all the available coin value options. Options run from 0.01 up to 25.00.
Your Total Stake is computed (active pay lines times bet per line) and displayed between Bet Per Line and the Spin button.
The Spin button is in the center of the control panel. It becomes a Stop button after you initiate a game.
The Paid window displays the total of the prizes you won on your last spin.
The Auto Spin button allows you to choose how many spins you will play in automatic succession. The game deducts the cost of each spin from your balance at the beginning of each spin. It stops when the last spin is finished, if a bonus game is triggered, if you stop the auto spins, or if your account balance drops below the amount of the wager.
The Pay Table control on the far right brings up the help screen system. Use the Previous and Next buttons in the lower right-hand corner to navigate from screen to screen. Close returns you to the game.
The Bonus Rounds
Players who are familiar with the television show will probably understand how these bonus rounds work better than players who have never seen the show. The bonus rounds are based on the UK version of the show, not the US version. You do not actually have to guess at the meanings of phrases.
The Ready Money Bonus game is a free spins game. The game begins with a screen filled with Catch Phrase squares. You use the buzzer (Spin button) to choose three of the squares, which reveal a multiplier or number of free spins you will be awarded. All prizes in the free spins game are multiplied by the sum of the multipliers you uncovered (or by 1 if you did not find any multipliers). This game can be retriggered, although you continue to play with the multipliers and number of free spins already awarded.
The Catch Phrase Bonus game is a 5-round game. You use the Spin button to stop the spinning reels to "guess" catch phrases correctly before your (in game) opponent. The game simply determines randomly if your guess is correct or not. If this game was triggered from within the Ready Money free games Bonus, the multiplier from the Ready Money game is applied to the prizes you win in this game.
The Super Catch Phrase Bonus game takes you to a screen where you choose a path up a pyramid, revealing a prize at each level.
The bonus games use upbeat music typical of game shows and the slot games they inspire. The ambient sounds include a real "buzzer" buzz when you need to click on it. In the regular game you hear an electronic ring a tiles come to a halt, much like the bell tones game shows use when they reveal words and letters on their electronic game boards.
The game concepts will be strange to people who have not watched the television show. Clips of old episodes may be viewable online through services like Vimeo or YouTube. However, a general knowledge of game shows is sufficient to understand the basic concepts, especially since they have been adapted to a slot game.
Although the game could be more interactive, such as asking you to choose from a selection of phrases for an image, this low-impact approach gets the job done. The random determination of prizes is really more in keeping with how slot machines traditionally work.
The game symbols are just stylized cartoon caricatures of icons from the show, or colorful letters from a deck of playing cards. Don't expect to be overwhelmed by the artistic designs.
There are different versions of the game, which appears to have been updated. You can tell which version you are about to play if you can see the host on the initial screen. The older version uses a host in a purple suit with dark hair. The bonus games are a little different but close enough to those described above to be familiar, except for the Super Catch Phrase Bonus. In the older game you are presented with a board of letters and you must choose from 9 squares on the game board to get enough letters to complete a whole row.