Game provider Nolimit City tells me that The Cage doesn’t take lightly to strangers – ominous first words for a fighting-based machine that advises you to load up on muscle and prepare to uppercut and roundhouse your way through the ranks! I’m not sure which format the new game resembles more: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) or Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Nolimit City’s trademark mature graphical style is much more akin to the latter, but the names assigned to the fighters (Big Fatty, Ironjaw, Little Dragon and so forth) seem typical of today’s most popular wrestling franchise. The reel layout is going to take some explaining – there are 5,184 payways arranged across a unique seven-reel playfield, whilst the RTP stands at 96.05. The maximum jackpot has been capped at 25,000x the total bet.
NLC loves to include as many features with an ‘x-‘ prefix in their machines, and of course, The Cage is no exception. The first x-feature offered by The Cage is dubbed ‘Wild Knockout xBombs’, a special wild symbol that explodes in a cross pattern whilst also increasing the current multiplier by 1x. When three or more symbols of the same type align diagonally across the playfield, a ‘roundhouse kick’ will add up to four additional xBombs to the current reel set. The main ‘title fight’ bonus round is a free spin-based feature which takes place on an alternate playfield. There are five opponents to take on, finishing with the fearsome Wai ‘Little Dragon’ Lei – more on that later!
So, do you think you have what it takes to take on the world’s best in the toughest fighting tournament of them all? If so, congratulations – you’re a braver man (or woman) than I am! Go ahead and try our free demo slot of The Cage – it’s available to play below:
The shape of the reels used in The Cage looks very unusual at first glance, but there was one other game that I could recall, which featured something very similar. That game is Dead Canary, another Nolimit City slot we rated 8.2 in our review a few months earlier. Dead Canary’s playfield was a little smaller than the one used in The Cage and had fewer payways; despite this, the earlier game offered a much larger jackpot of 65,000x the total bet. This very likely indicates that The Cage is slightly less volatile than its predecessor, but don’t get the wrong idea – this is still a super-high variance machine that will have no problem emptying your bankroll in record time if you catch it on a bad day!
When a slot offers thousands of pay ways, it inevitably makes it much more difficult for the developers to include big numbers on the paytable. In reality, this doesn’t matter very much – you just need to win on multiple payways simultaneously to boost the value of your prize. Nevertheless, seeing the highest-paying Little Dragon symbol listed at just 4x the total bet is still a little bit concerning, especially when you need a nine of a kind combination to win it! The remaining high-paying character symbols feature The Constrictor, worth 3.75x for all nine symbols, One Glove Man, who pays 3.5x for a complete payway, and Ironjaw and Big Fatty, both of whom will award you 3.25x your stake if you manage one of those elusive nine of a kind combinations. As for the low pays, there’s nothing in it to be honest – nine aces or kings will get you 3x your bet back in winnings, whilst the queens, jacks, and tens are a little less valuable at 2.5x each for a complete pay way.
Most Nolimit City slots offer a relatively wide range of betting options. The Cage continues that trend with minimum/maximum wager limits of €0.20 and €100.00, respectively, and you’ll have no problem finding a suitable bet between those limits either.
base game & modifiers
The Cage slot base game
It’s finally time to talk about the base game! I mentioned in the opening paragraph that The Cage utilises a very unusual playfield design, the reason being that the game uses a 3-4-3-4-3-4-3 reel layout – I don’t think I’ve ever come across that before! But it gets even stranger – during the Title Fight Free Spins, the reel area changes to a 3-3-3-2-2-2-3-3-3 arrangement instead!
wild knockout xbombs
The wild knockout xBomb symbol substitutes for all other regular symbols and will explode after landing. These explosions will eliminate all adjacent symbols in a cross pattern (scatters excluded, of course!), creating space for new symbols to fall into view. Every xBomb that explodes will increase the multiplier for the current round by 1x.
If three or more matching symbols align on the playfield in a diagonal line, the game will trigger the roundhouse kick feature. This removes the trigger symbols from the grid and creates up to four new Wild Knockout xBombs in the middle of the resulting empty space.
the cage slot bonus features
The Cage slot free spins feature
Scatter symbols can appear anywhere on the playfield, which should mean that you can hit more than three of them. The paytable does not mention anything about this, unfortunately, and only tells us that hitting three scatters will trigger the Title Fight Free Spins.
In this mode, the playfield shape is altered so there are nine columns rather than the usual seven. Four title belt booster positions are located in the centre of the screen in a diamond shape, directly below your current opponent.
Yup, this feature sees you take on up to five fighters for the chance to become the GOAT! To win a fight, you’ll need to land a predetermined number of blows on your opponent; to do this, you’ll need to land uppercut symbols during the bonus round. When an opponent is knocked out, you will collect a new title belt and additional free spins to help you tackle the next contender.
The first title belt you win will boost all of your future prizes by 2x, whilst the following two belts are used for a symbol transform feature that removes lower-paying symbols from the reels. The fourth title belt adds sticky wilds to the bonus round, ensuring the final two rounds will be far more profitable than the first three. The only way to beat the final opponent is to become the GOAT, meaning you’ll need to win the game's jackpot of 25,000x the total bet.
There are four possible bonus buy options for players that can access this feature. They are as follows:
Title Fight Big Fatty: Cost 68x the bet.
Title Fight One Glove Man: Cost 198x bet.
Title Fight Little Dragon: Cost 498x bet.
Lucky Draw: Cost 279x bet.
There are nowhere near enough mature-themed slots on the market, so it’s always great to see a new Nolimit City release.
The monster jackpot of 25,000x – it may be smaller than some other NLC games, but it’s still huge!
Lots of unique aspects in both the base game and the bonus round.
The strange reel setup can be a little confusing at first.
I enjoy watching some of the big fighting franchises now and again, although I think it’s fair to say that WWE jumped the shark some time ago! The Cage looks to have been inspired by all of the big franchises in one way or another, and that mishmash of influences has resulted in a unique slot that deserves your attention. It’s not Nolimit City’s best, but it’s almost certainly still a must-play.