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Peek-a-Boo Pokies

Ghosts beware! There’s a new guy in town to bust you, but rather than leading to giant marshmallow men attacking New York City, collecting ghosts leads to free spins in Microgamings’ Peek-a-Boo pokie. It’s a 5-reel game that has 40 paylines and lots of cartoon spooks filling the reels, along with a number of sweets that don’t seem to fit in with the theme but look very nice anyway, so we’ll just gloss over that issue and move on.

Unrelated to any classic 1980’s movies about ghosts or the highly forgettable 2016 film, the characters in this game are trying to dodge a single hunter who traps them in a ghost meter that once filled leads to the main bonus round, where players will benefit from free spins with stacked wilds, extra spins and a layout that boosts the potential to score some big wins.

Taking a Peek

Originally available in a 3-reel, single payline format, this new version has largely superseded it at online casinos which feature the Microgaming range, although it’s still available in some places. This newer version carries over some of the bright colours and the cartoon style of the logo, while a dark blue backdrop with images of various spooks on it sets things off nicely.

To either side of the reels, players will see payline indicators which show where each line starts and finishes, with at least 3 of the same symbol needing to land on adjacent reels running form the left to win a prize. There’s also the Ghost Meter on the right side of the game, and we’ll come to that in a bit.

At the bottom of the game is a set of control buttons that are used to decide how much is staked per spin. The minimum is 0.40, which means that all lines are permanently activated and any winning combination that lands on the reels will result in a payout.

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Players can adjust the amount they wager up to a maximum of 100.00 a go, and a look at the payout table reveals which symbols will pay and how much when they land in the right positions. The lower value symbols all consist of types of sweets, such as Liquorice Allsorts, foil-wrapped chocolates and chewy fruit-flavoured candy.

The higher value symbols are mostly made up of four not-so-friendly ghosts, each of which is shouting ‘BOO’ as they land on the reels. There’s blue, green, orange and red ghosts, but the highest paying symbol of the lot is the Peek-a-Boo logo.

As well as handing out some of the biggest prizes, it’s also doubling up as a wild symbol, so if players have several identical symbols on a line, but not enough to create a winning combination, and the wild is in the right place, it will substitute as any missing ones and make up a win.

To help out even further, it will be stacked several high during the base game, which can lead to several lines being completed in a single spin.

A diminutive ghost hunter is also there to help players, as each time he appears on the middle reel he will randomly zap any ghosts that have landed at the same time. Up to 5 can be caught at once, being banished to the Ghost Meter which slowly builds up until it can’t hold any more of them.

Collect 10 ghosts and a free spins round commences, with a maximum number of 13 spins initially triggered. These play out on a different set of reels where the 40 paylines are replaced by a format where any matching symbols in any positions on adjacent reels will create a win.

The wild is super-stacked on reels 4 and 5 in this round as well, so it pretty much fills those reels whenever it lands, while additional chances can be awarded when wins are spun up. If 3 symbols make up a winning line, players first get the payout and then reels 4 and 5 spin again to potentially make another, even bigger win, while a 4-symbol line will cause reel 5 to spin again.

It's a neat feature that doesn’t guarantee anything, but 4 and 5-line payouts are much bigger than 3, so who’s complaining?

The Verdict

Peek-a-Boo is a fun pokie that has some well-designed carton critters and a couple of decent bonuses, which players are certain to trigger once enough ghosts have been collected. So there’s no waiting around for the right number of scatter symbols to start the free spins, although it also means that entering this round a couple of times in quick succession isn’t likely.

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