Late last year, Red Tiger Gaming released a new slot game called Rocket Men. It's already won an award (judged by a panel of industry experts and professionals) and is quite possibly the most savagely (and blackly) funny slot game that has ever been made.
Rocket Men is based on the rivalry between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un and pits cartoon caricatures of the two "great leaders" against each other.
This type of political satire has long been part of popular culture' but most prominently at times when ordinary people feel most threatened by political developments.
In the early 1980s, for instance, nuclear war was considered to be a clear and present danger, to the extent that there was a public information pamphlet "Protect and Survive" detailing what to do in the case of a nuclear attack. If you weren't around during the period between the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the fall of the Iron Curtain, it may be hard to understand just how much the threat of war permeated everything. Some examples of political satire in popular culture of the time are:
- The TV show Spitting Image which featured exaggerated puppet versions of major political figures
- Frankie Goes To Hollywood's hit single Two Tribes, complete with a video which pitted Reagan vs Gorbachev in the fighting ring.
- The Raymond Briggs cartoon book and film When The Wind Blows which shows how an ordinary couple fare in the aftermath of a nuclear attack.
In the 1980s there was very little happening online. Some people connected via text based services such as CompuServe but there was no publicly accessible Internet and no easy way to share pictures - hence the need to propagate political satire via broadcast media and music video.
Fast forward to the present day, and ordinary people are again feeling threatened. Indeed, the Doomsday Clock is actually closer to midnight than it was in 1984 (because it measures the danger of other forms of global catastrophe such as climate change as well as the nuclear threat level). Today's political satire comes out as a million memes...and - for the millions of people who enjoy online gambling - the Rocket Men slot, which lampoons the current President of the United States at least as savagely as Spitting Image and Frankie lampooned his earlier counterpart Ronald Reagan (Ronnie Ray-Gun as he was sometimes referred to).
So on to the slot itself. It's a 20 line slot with an RTP of 95.34% and a plethora of bonus features, all of which are triggered by the appearance of the Don symbol on reel 1, the Kim symbol on reel 5, or both.
- Don's Driving Range - triggered by the Don symbol without the Kim symbol. Don hits golf balls at the reels, smashing symbols away to allow more symbols (often a large group of the same symbol) to drop down and create winlines. He continues until he gets bored (which does not take long).
- Kim's Little Game - triggered by the Kim symbol without the Don Symbol. Kim tests rockets by firing them at the reels using his big red button. If they hit, those symbols turn wild.
- Kim vs Don - triggered by the Kim and Don symbols together. They fight by throwing projectiles at each other (bricks in the case of Don and burgers in the case of Kim), and a further bonus round follows depending on the result.
- Party Time! This is triggered when Don wins Kim vs Don. First he fires more bricks from his Brick Master gun to build a wall in front of Kim. Then, he must choose which girl's bottom to grab. Each awards a coin payout and he continues until he grabs one that also ends the round with a collect. The cut scene shows him celebrating with a couple of his chosen girls.
- Boom Time! This is triggered when Kim wins Kim vs Don. First he presses his big red button to drop a missile on Don and flatten him. Next, he is shown sitting at his desk surrounded by 5 big red buttons; he must choose which one to push to try and nuke the opposition's continent (as shown on a map on the wall) . Each time a nuke hits, he wins a coin award and all the coin awards on the targets increase. If he misses and the nuke lands in the sea, the bonus round ends with a collect and Kim celebrates with a couple of burgers.
- Nuclear Spins! This free spins round is triggered when Kim vs Don results in a draw and is only ended by the elimination of one of the pair (which requires 3 hits). On each spin, one launches 0-3 missiles at the other. Each missile is a wild - Don's blue missiles start on reel 1 and move 1 reel to the right each spin and Kim's red missiles start on reel 5 and move 1 reel to the left each spin. Missiles that meet destroy each other and missiles that reach the other end of the board score a hit on the opponent. At the end of the round the pair celebrate the win with popcorn and soda as they watch a mushroom cloud go up.
All in all, Red Tiger Gaming have played an absolute blinder with this slot. Not only is the theming extremely funny and well executed with lots of attention to detail, but it's fun and exciting to play as well. To paraphrase Frankie Goes To Hollywood.....when two tribes go to war, a Super Win is all you can score!
Where To Play Rocket Men
Surprisingly, many sites which carry other Red Tiger slots such as the Daily Jackpots series don't have Rocket Men and this goes for most UK bingo sites. At Paddy Power and Coral, Rocket Men can be played with the same wallet as bingo but in a different part of the site. Most Nektan casino sites also have it.