The Border Slot Review
Slot Provider: Nolimit City
RTP: 96.17% | Variance: High | Maximum Win: 44,288x
Our Score: 9.0
About The Border
Reviewed by: Mark Wadie
Published Date: 15th September 2022
How We Review Slot GamesWe test and rate all slot games across 5 criteria, assigning a score out of 10 for each and an overall score that is an average of the 5. To build an accurate assessment of each game we gather information from the supplier and play in real play or demo mode. Find out more.
The Border is a high variance, 6×6 cluster pays slot from Nolimit City set in the badlands where Mexico and the US meet. Typically, it’s no easy ride, but alongside a volatile maths model this slot comes stacked with features to help boost your wins, including xWays, xSplits, xBombs, Free Spins and avalanache wins with progressive multipliers. It is a top paying slot with a 44,288x top win.
The Border has been open for business at the latest UK slot sites since September 2022.
The Border Game Information
- RTP: 96.17%, 94%, 92%
- Variance: High
- Maximum Win: 44,288x
- Progressive Jackpot: No
- Reels: 6
- Rows: 6
- Paylines: Cluster Pays
- Minimum Stake: £0.20
- Theme: Action and Adventure
- Features: Avalanche Wins, Free Spins, Multipliers, xWays, xNudges, xBombs, xSplits, xClusters
The Border Review Scores
- Gameplay and Features 10
- Maximum Win 9
- Theme and Design 9
- Paytable 9
- RTP and Variance 8
What Our Reviewer Says ...
"A stunning, cinematic journey to the heart of the badlands with relentless, epic gameplay that can deliver huge wins"
Our Score: 9.0
The Border Pros and Cons
What We Liked
- Cinematic theme and dark characters
- Lots and lots of features!
- Progressive multipliers in free spins
- Splitting cells increase odds of big win
- xBombs increase multiplier values
What We Didn't like
- Complex gameplay hard to follow at first
- Too high risk for some players
Theme & Design
Our Score 9
Another journey into the darker corners of human existence from Nolimit City and we are amongst the desperate hope-seekers looking to break over the border and into the promised land by any means necessary, and the nefarious characters exploiting their dreams. The atmosphere here is dark, not perhaps as dark as Tombstone RIP, but edgy nonetheless. The grid is housed in a huge iron gate and amidst an imposing border fence topped with barbed wire. The soundtrack is a serious orchestral one with hints of Mexican guitar and every so often is punctuated with the crackle of gunfire and explosions.
In short, NLC have delivered once again, creating a slot with cinematic qualities and an excellent narrative.
RTP and Variance
Our Score 8
What is RTP?RTP (Return to Player) refers to the amount a game will pay out in cash prizes expressed as a percentage of all the money wagered on that game. For example, a 96% RTP means a game will pay out £96 for every £100 wagered. This is an average number and will vary from one session to the next. Read more here.
What is Variance?Variance refers to how far a game will deviate from its RTP over time. High variance games deviate a lot and produce uneven win distributions and unexpected windfalls. Low variance games provide a more stable and even distribution of wins. Read more here.
The Border has three available RTP settings: 96.17%, 94.07% or 92%. The top setting of 96.17% is about average for a UK slot. However, which setting you play at will be at the discretion of your casino. We verified the RTP of The Border at five popular casinos. This is what we found:
- Casumo (independent) – 94.07% RTP
- BacanaPlay (Skill on Net) – 92.15% RTP
- Barz Casino (White Hat Gaming) – 94.07% RTP
- MrQ (Independent) – 96.17% RTP
- All British Casino (L and L Europe) – 92.15% RTP
Not all casinos are running this game at the optimum RTP. As we have found in other tests, MrQ is your best option if you want to play The Border with the best return to player.
Like so many Nolimit City slots, The Border is a highly volatile game with a tough maths model but the potential to deliver huge hits when combinations of the right features all trigger at once. That is the joy, and frustration of this type of slot and you should be prepared for a helter skelter ride!
Our Score 9
What Is Maximum Win?Maximum win refers to the maximum amount a player can win from one spin. It is expressed as a multiple of the stake. For example, where the maximum win is 100,000x, from a £1 stake, the maximum win would be £100,000.
The maximum payout in The Border is 44,288x. That is good potential and higher than most slots but if you still want more, check out our list of Nolimit City’s highest payout games, including Tombstone RIP (300,000x) and San Quentin xWays (150,000x).
Symbols and Paytable
Our Score 9
Unusually for Nolimit City, The Border is a Cluster Pays game. That means you need to form clusters of 5 or more identical symbols to trigger a win. A cluster is made up of symbols that touch either horizontally or vertically. Though we start out on a grid of just 6 reels and 6 rows, with all the expansions and splits available there is the possibility of forming mega clusters of more than 160 symbols.
There are just 8 symbols in the paytable. The three low payers are the scorpion, snakes and vultures, valued at from 0.2x for five in a cluster up to 553.85x for 160 in a cluster. The premiums are represented by five characters – the drug mule, the martial arts guy, the cop, the army guy and the drug baron loaded with bling. A stunning 2214.40x win is trggered by landing 160 or more drug barons!
Features and Gameplay
Our Score 10
Those who venture into The Border will be faced with an absolute barrage of features that are something of a ‘best of’ selection from the Nolimit City back catalogue. Splits, Ways and Bombs all feature, alongside xNudges and Free Spins.
Here is the run down …
First up, this is an Avalanche Wins game. That means, after any win, the winning symbols are removed from the grid and new ones drop in to replace them. If more wins occur, so the process repeats, until no more new clusters form. This feature becomes highly lucrative when combined with splits, bombs and multipliers!
Like Mystery Symbols these transform into instances of the same pay symbol. xWays may land as 2 full symbols or 4 split symbols. If more than one xWays lands on the same spin then every instance of it will transform into the SAME symbol. If you’ve played games like Bushido xWays then you’ll be familiar with this one.
These land on reels 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 and turn ALL symbols to the left into split symbols. xSplits also convert into Wilds at the same time. Effectively you are expanding the reels and rows this way to create the chance to build bigger clusters and drive bigger payouts.
But that is not all, because where more than one xSplit lands on the same row, the splits get a multiplier of up to 64x applied to it. The value of the multiplier is based on the number of split symbols on the reels.
xNudge Cluster Wilds
Just like xNudge Wilds in games like Bushido Ways xNudge, where Wilds land as part of clusters, then the cluster will nudge up or down at the end of the spin. Every symbol it nudges over adds 1x to a multiplier to be applied to the win.
NOTE: If the cluster nudges over an existing multiplier, that value is also added to the wilds own multiplier.
AND … if the wild is split by an xSplit so the values of the multiplier values are carried over to each new wild.
These explode when they land, removing all symbols in adjacent positions EXCEPT xNudges and scatters. Know Fire in the Hole? Then you’ll know how fun these symbols can be.
And … xBomb WIlds trigger a 1x increase in the win multiplier for that spin. If the xBomb is split, then the multiplier goes up by the number of symbols the bomb splits into.
These are only valid for FREE SPINS and occur when 2 or more Clusters are created on one spin. The win multiplier for the following avalanche now increases by 1x for each cluster. For example, two clusters would get you a 2x multiplier.
Free Spins Round
There are TWO free spins formats in The Border and they work as follows:
You need 6 scatters to trigger 10 Mule Spins with some enhancements. Now, where an xWays symbol is part of a cluster win, it infects other symbols in the cluster that are on the SAME REEL before xSplit or xNudge activate. Essentially this brings up more splitting symbols and more win ways.
You need 7 scatters to trigger 12 Coyote Spins with even more enhancements. First though, you also get 2 more free spins for every extra scatter in view.
Now …. where an xWays symbol is part of a cluster win, it infects EVERY OTHER symbol in the cluster regardless of which reel it is on, before xSplit or xNudge activate. This creates more win ways than the same event in Mule Spins.
And … xBomb multiplier values are carried over onto all other symbols that display an xMultiplier that haven’t exploded. And … the total win multiplier is progressive and DOES NOT re-set between spins.
The Final Verdict
Our Score 9.0
The Border is another stone-cold classic from NLC, a studio who continue to do things that others don’t. They have a knack for creating cinematic slots whose narratives and themes go far deeper than anything you see from rivals. You’ll never see a plain old Irish luck slot from No Limit! And that is why we love them. The most similar game we can think of would be NetEnt’s Narcos, based on the TV series and also featuring drug runners, barons and cops.
But The Border is a different beast entirely to Narcos because here NLC have innovated again by taking their best features – xNudges, xWilds, Bombs and xSplits – and applying them to the classic Cluster Pays mechanic, pushing that style of slot into new places. Cluster Pays fans can now enjoy the same pulsating all-action gameplay that we’ve seen on payline games like True Grit Redemption and El Paso Gunfight.
As ever, the gameplay may feel a little complicated to begin with – there is a lot to take in – but just sit back and enjoy. xWays and xSplits are important to driving your wins – they will split many cells to increase the chances of hitting a winning cluster. But it’s really the free spins round where the top payouts can occur. In the Coyote Spins, with xWays infecting EVERY symbol in a cluster before xSplits or xNudges are activated, the chances of landing high value multipliers goes up significantly.
As with all high risk games, if you can see out the rocky times, this slot has potential to deliver some adrenaline-fuelled big win sequences where multipliers reach super-high levels. Remember, up to 44,288x is the top win!
But for balance, remember the games tagline too – ‘hope can only get you so far’! Good luck!
Boom or Bust? 200 Spins On The Border
To give you an accurate and honest assessment of the games we review our writers play 200 spins. Whilst this is a useful tool to help us review games and to give an example of what might happen when you play, keep in mind that 200 spins is only a very small sample and cannot be used to accurately predict what might happen over another 200 spins. The outcome of all slots play is always random.
I played 200 spins on The Border for real money at Casumo to test the game for this review. These are the numbers from that session:
- Stake Size: £0.2
- Start balance: £21.22
- End balance: £1.65
- Biggest Win (in free spins round): 25x
- Free Spins rounds: 0
- Session Time: 21 mins 02 seconds
There was no breaking over the border in this session! Not a hint of a free spins round – I don’t recall seeing any scatters in fact – and aside form lots of small wins only a 25x payout to celebrate. But to be fair, xWays, xSplits and xBombs were fairly regular to keep things interesting and there were rarely more than 5 spins without at least one of those dropping and a small win coming my way.
Compare The Border With Similar Slots Picked By Us
Here are more games like The Border compared on configuration and features. Click through to read a review of each one.
|Slot Game||Provider||Theme||Min. Stake||Max. RTP||Variance||Paylines||Top Payout||Jackpot|
|Nolimit City||Oriental||£0.20||96.1%||High||Up To 12,288||30,000x||No|
|Nolimit City||Action and Adventure||£0.20||96.03%||High||243||150,000x||No|
|Nolimit City||Mining||£0.20||96.06%||High||Up to 46,656||60,000x||No|
|Nolimit City||September 2021||£0.20||96.05%||High||Up To 75,712||55,200x||No|
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