I must say that Thunderkick is getting rather active these last few months. They have already released a few new games, then suddenly, I came across yet another new one. This one is entitled 'Turning Totems'. Hmm, at first I was thinking, "what...turning into totem poles now, is it?" Nah, I was wrong. The title was referring to the symbols turning on the reels instead. Well, I must admit again, that Thunderkick is coming up with new interesting ideas lately. Their newer games play differently from all others, quite innovative in some ways, although still 'borrowing' one or two things from some other games. Ah well, nothing can be absolutely new anyway, so a bit of borrowing is still okay with me, as long as it isn't cloning.
The first thing you'll notice is that the symbols don't spin from up to down as the usual case. The symbols in this game spin around left to right on each position on the reels, stopping one reel at a time, from left to right reels. Hmm, an interesting change of visual impact, I must admit. Nothing complicated at all, and it doesn't confuse either, which is good. Typically of all Thunderkick games, the minimum starting bet per spin is maintained at $0.10, so anyone and everyone wouldn't have valid reasons not to try out this new game. The only thing I found lacking is in the number of paylines - only 11 of them, which reduces a lot of winning chances, but still better than 9 or 10 paylines. All wins are paid both ways, left-to-right and right-to-left, as expected.
Thunder Snake is the Scatter symbol. It doesn't pay or do anything else except to transform the reel that it lands on into an active Thunder Reel. Any Sleeping Wild symbols on that reel are turned into active Wild symbols, and one Respin is also awarded. Any new Thunder Reel becoming activated on that respin gets one more Respin, unless a Bonus Game of 5 free spins gets awarded by getting 3 or more Thunder Reels. So, in fact, in the base game, there are no Wild symbols, only normal Sleeping Wild symbols, which then become active Wild symbols upon that reel becoming a Thunder Reel. The active Wild symbol substitutes for all symbols except for the Thunder Snake symbol. The normal Sleeping Wild symbols are the lowest paying symbols of them all, until they become active Wild symbols and becoming the highest paying symbols instead. 5 active Wilds pay 25x the total bet amount, whilst the other symbols pay from 10x to 0.4x the total bet amount for 5 of each kind. All symbols are stacked on all reels in both the base game and in the Free Spins game, except for the Thunder Snake symbol. Needless to say, the paytable is a very low one indeed, more suitable for a 243-ways to win game.
I was very eager to find out how this Turning Totems would play and pay, although I could already imagine that it wouldn't and couldn't pay big. Nonetheless, I tried it out in the fun mode first, completing about 2000 spins or so, before playing it with real money. Well, the game doesn't play as badly as Sunset Delight, for example, and a fairly good play time can be had most of the time. The Thunder Snake symbol would come quite often too, but the transformed Thunder Reels themselves do not always pay, because not every time there'll be Wild symbols on that reel, and this was disappointing for me on many occasions. A guaranteed Wild symbol on every Thunder Reel would definitely be much better, with more winning possibilities.
Generally, Turning Totems is an interesting game to play, especially the Free Spins game. What is disappointing is the very low paytable, the Thunder Reels that don't have Wild symbols on them, and getting 4 or even 5 Thunder Reels couldn't guarantee a good payout of exceeding 50x the total bet amount. The best win I've gotten so far was only 39x my bet amount, but I did get a 109x win in the fun mode, which should be possible to get in the real money mode too. Overall, Turning Totems can be a good game to play, but Thunderkick designers are still moving too cautiously and not living dangerously enough, as I've already said a few times before this. Being cautious all the time would not get them to the Top Spot, that's for sure!