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Evolution Balloon Race Live – Review, Strategy and How to Play

evolution balloon race live

Balloon Race Game Review

Balloon Race is a live slot game created by Evolution using the same underlying game mechanics we’ve become familiar with in Crazy Coin Flip and Crazy Pachinko. This live slot has three phases: a qualification Phase, a Top-up phase, and finally, the bonus round that delivers the multiplier payouts.

Balloon Race Live is not your usual slot game. It has been stripped of all the typical infrastructure to display only the slot symbols laid out in a three-row, five-reel pattern. The setting for the game is literally in the clouds, giving a calming air of serenity as you play, which is quite unlike any game I’ve played before.

I’m not known for playing this type of game regularly, but in this review, I’ll cover how to play, what strategies you can use, and how the game compares with others in this genre. I’ve included a video review so you can see the game in action, and I explain whether this is a game worth playing.

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balloon race image

Evolution Balloon Race Live At A Glance

Your objective is to pass the qualification phase and enter the final Balloon race, where you will win the total multiplier displayed for the balloon that floats to the top of the screen first.

Before the race starts, there’s an optional top-up phase where you can boost the multiplier total for each coloured balloon (Orange, Purple, Green and Red).

During the final Balloon Race, the presenter draws coloured balls representing each Balloon colour from a bingo-ball-style machine. A balloon floats up each time a coloured ball is picked from the machine until one reaches the top, becoming the winner.

  • The game has three parts: the qualification stage, the optional Top-Up Phase, and the final Balloon Race.
  • The qualification process requires three scatters or three wilds to trigger the Top-Up/Balloon Race.
  • The scatters can contain multipliers, which are applied to boost the final payout amount.
  • Five other symbol types are represented in the slot, and you get wins for three or more of the same symbol in a line while qualifying.
  • The slot has ten pay lines.
  • Three playing modes accelerate the qualification process, standard, where each spin costs a base stake; XXXtreme Spin Mode, which is five times the base stake but guarantees one Scatter or Wild each spin; and Super XXXtreme spin mode, which costs 50x the base stake and guarantees two scatters or Wilds per spin.
  • The Top-Up phase generates additional multipliers added to the balloon totals.
  • The final Balloon Race is a live draw. Balls get drawn from a total of 80. There are 20 for each coloured balloon. The first balloon to reach the top of the sky wins.
  • The final payout is calculated as follows: (Scatter multipliers x Bonus round multipliers) + Top-Up multipliers = Final multiplier payout.
  • The RTP is 96.09%.

balloon race logo

How To Play Balloon Race?

I’ve covered the game’s outline above, so in this section, I provide a few more details about each of the three phases.

  1. The Qualification Phase
  2. The Top-Up Phase
  3. Balloon Race Round

The Qualification Phase

The qualification phase is the hurdle you must overcome before participating in the final balloon race, and there are three ways to do that.

  1. Use the traditional process of playing the five-reel slot and getting three scatters or wilds.
  2. Selecting the XXXtreme Spins option fast tracks the qualification process by guaranteeing at least one wild or scatter on each spin. This option costs five times your base wager.
  3. If you want a better guarantee, the Super XXXtreme Spins option gives two scatters or wilds every spin, but it will cost you 50x your base bet on every spin.

Deciding which of the qualification methods to use is one of two big decisions you make in this game, and I’ll cover both more in the Strategy section.

Playing the Slot

Regardless of your chosen qualification method, playing the slot is the same.

The amount of the base bet is significant because this is the amount used to calculate your final payout in the Balloon race.

  • The slot has five reels and three rows, with ten pay lines.
  • There are seven symbols: Ten, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, Bronze Ribbon and Silver Ribbon.
  • There are expanding Wilds, which substitute any symbols but not the scatters.
  • Three wilds or Scatters are needed to qualify for the Balloon Race.
  • The scatters can contain multipliers, which, if present when you’ve qualified, are carried forward and applied to the final payout calculation.
  •  Wins occur for three or more of the same symbol on a payline.

While trying to qualify, you will get some wins – with the best line win of 15x for five Silver Ribbons. The lowest win is 0.1x for three tens.

Once you’ve qualified, you enter the top-up phase.

balloon race first screen

The Top-Up Phase

The Top-up phase is optional; you don’t have to play it.

The purpose of the phase is to top up the multipliers for each balloon colour represented in the race. There is no guarantee that you’ll benefit from the topping-up, as the winning balloon may not have received one of your top-ups, so you’re taking a gamble.

Between three and six balloons containing multipliers are released when playing the Top Up. There are a maximum of two balloons per colour.

Some balloons may burst as they float up. The ones that reach the top have their multipliers added to the total.

You can increase the value of the multipliers in the balloons by increasing the bet value—this only benefits the multipliers’ value and has no impact on the payout amount, which uses the base amount from the qualification process.

The Top UP phase runs between balloon races. If there are 15 seconds or less between balloon races, you have the option to join or wait and play the next Top-Up Phase.

Once the Top-Up phase has been completed, a plane flies across the top of the screen, dropping additional multipliers onto each colour. These multipliers are multiplied by the scatter multiplier (if there is one) and added to the total payout.

balloon race top-up
balloon race plane multipliers

Balloon Race Game

The Balloon Race is where you win your final payout. The coloured balloon that reaches the top first is the winner, and everyone receives the multiplier payout.

It’s the only part of the game that is “live.” By that, I mean the result is determined by live actions, not by RNG.

A bingo-style ball machine holds 80 coloured balls, divided into four sets of twenty, each representing one of the balloons’ colours.

At the top of the screen are the multipliers payouts for each balloon, previously created by the Top-Up phase, and the plane fly past.

At the bottom of the screen are the four coloured balloons.

The presenter starts the ball machine and picks the first ball. The balloon of the same colour rises one position.

The presenter continues until one of the balloons rises five places and reaches the top. This is the winning balloon, and you will receive the multiplier payout.

Note: Your payout may be different from that of other players. The Top-up phase, the qualification process, and any scatter multipliers are personal to you.

balloon race result

Balloon Race Video Review


Balloon Race Live Strategy and Tactics

You’ve got two strategic decisions to make when playing Balloon Race.

  1. Do you play the normal, Xxtreme or Super Xxxtreme Spin mode on the slot?
  2. Do you Top-Up the multipliers in the Top Up Phase?

Let’s look at both to see why you’d play them and if they are worth it.

Spins Modes – Which one is worth playing?

Let’s examine why you may or may not want to use the Xxxtreme and Super Xxxtreme Spin modes.

Playing either of these modes will cost you more money per spin but at the benefit of getting guaranteed Wilds or Scatters, which, in theory, means you’ll qualify more quickly.

The spin modes are all about saving time to qualify – nothing else.

You need to consider whether it’s worth the extra fees to qualify more quickly and whether doing this will be cheaper in the long run.

Qualifying more quickly means you’ll spend more per spin and have less opportunity to win on the slot because you’re taking less time to qualify.

We don’t know the average number of spins per spin type to qualify. So, let’s take an educated guess at all three and see what the math looks like.

  • The normal spin rate is 0.10 a spin for 150 spins. The spin cost equals £15; winning £7 during qualification will cost you £8 to qualify.
  • The Xxxtreme spin rate is 5x base, so 0.50 a spin. If it takes 80 spins to qualify, your outlay will be £40, but if you win £25, your total cost will be £15.
  • Super Xxxtreme Spin rate is 50x base, so £5 a spin and you qualify in 10 spins, giving an outlay of £50, with a return of £20, giving you a total to qualify of £30.

The higher the costs to qualify, the more you need to win to cover your qualification costs and make a profit.

Remember, regardless of the qualification spin mode, only the base bet amount is used to calculate the final payout. If we use the example above, to break even, you’d need:

  • 80x win through the normal qualification.
  • 150x win for an Xxxtreme Spin qualification
  • 300x win from a Super XXXtreme Spin qualification.

You can deduce that you’ll make more money from a normal spin qualification than the Xxxtreme and Super Xxxtreme Spins.

I recommend playing the Normal Spin Mode most of the time and occasionally using the Xxxtreme Super Spin mode.

Topping Up the Multipliers – Is this a good idea?

The Top-Up phase is very interesting. Playing it doesn’t guarantee that the balloons you top up will be in your final payout.

The bigger the bet, the bigger the multipliers, but just like the qualification phase, the final payout is determined by the value of the qualification base bet, so you have to be careful to avoid spending more than you can win back.

The Final Payout must be more than the qualification cost plus the Top-Up to make it worth playing.

Given the examples I cited above, I wouldn’t Top up, as there is no guarantee you’ll get the benefit for the extra money you spend.

I recommend NOT playing the Top-Up.

Strategy for Balloon Race Live Game

My strategy, which I recommend, is to play the slot qualification phase using normal spins for a bet amount you’re comfortable with.

I play about 1% of my bankroll per spin. So if I had £100, I’d play at £1 a spin.

The game is designed to let you qualify; otherwise, there’d be no point, so qualifying using Normal mode may take a while but will happen within a sensible time frame.

It’s more valuable to you to qualify with a higher base bet amount than with the optional top-up and speedier qualification processes.

Don’t play the top-up phase; take the base multipliers the game allocates.

How Long Does It Take to Qualify?

I don’t have an exact answer. All I can say is it’s variable, and that’s true for whatever qualification method you use. The truth is you’ll experience the extremes in the number of spins it takes, from very low to very high. These are my experiences.

  • Normal Spin Mode – this can take between 100 to 200 spins for you to qualify. I’ve managed it in twenty, fifty and two hundred. My average seems to sit around 130 spins.
  • Xxxtreme Spin Mode – it’s faster to qualify as you have one scatter or wild every spin. Expect to qualify in about 30 – 70 spins.
  • Super Xxxtreme Spin Mode qualifies the quickest. I’ve experienced three and ten spins, but the sweet spot seems to be around six spins.

Will you make a profit from the slot while qualifying?

The general answer is NO because the payouts are so low. The most frequent wins pay less than 1x, so you won’t get far with those. The scatters can have multipliers, which help, but in all honesty, this slot is designed for qualifying, not for great enjoyment.

AutoPlay

Autoplay is available and saves you from having to click the play button by pre-programming the number of spins you want to play and the bet amount for each spin.

It’s also a great way to manage your bankroll. The main disadvantage is you don’t have to be engaged in the game if you’re using auto spins, and also, the spins occur at a constant pace, whereas you’d probably play a bit slower and, therefore, spend slightly less.

It’s an excellent tool, and it’s one that I often use when playing slot games when it’s available.

Balloon Race Payouts and RTP

The optimal RTP is 96.09%, which is for playing the game with the Normal Spin mode and not topping up.

XXXtreme Spins has an RTP of 96.00%, Super XXXtreme Spins 96.03%, and Top-Up is 96.05%.

The RTPs are similar to those found on slots and maybe one or two gameshows, which traditionally have RTPS lower than Card Games and Roulette.

The slot’s payouts are not that great, so don’t expect to make a profit during qualification. The scatters contain multipliers, so these will increase the payouts. The minimum payout is 0.1x for three-of-a-kind Tens, and the best is 15x for five Silver Ribbons.

SymbolPayout
10X3 – 0.1x
X4 – 0.3x
X5 – 1x
Jack SymbolX3 – 0.2x
X4 – 0.5x
X5 – 1.3x
queen SymbolX3 – 0.3x
X4 – 0.8x
X5 – 1.5x
king symbolX3 – 0.4x
X4 – 1x
X5 – 2x
ace symbolX3 – 0.5x
X4 – 1.5x
X5 – 3x
bronze medalX3 – 1.5x
X4 – 5x
X5 – 10x
silver medalX3 – 4x
X4 – 7.5x
X5 – 15x

Calculating how much you won!

So you’ve got to the end of the game and got your Ballon Race payout. But how much have you won?

It’s not as simple as multiplying the multiplier by the base bet. You must calculate how much money you spent qualifying and on the Top-Up phase and subtract it from the final total to give your actual win amount. It will be less than you think!

(Qualifying Total Bet – Wins) + Top-Up Bet Value = Total Investment.

Balloon Race Multiplier Totial – Total Investment = Net win amount.

Reasons to Play

Ballon Race is a light, happy-themed game. There’s only one reason to play: to get the best payout possible in the final Balloon Race. Everything in the game works towards the final race. You can have fun qualifying and topping up, but be careful you don’t overspend in any of these two areas. In my book, a profit is good, regardless of how much it is, so play wisely.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The Ballon Race Bonus Round runs on a continuous loop, so you join the next one to occur once you’ve qualified.
  • If there is insufficient time to top up, you can wait for the next game or play on without topping up.
  • The final round is live, with the result determined by balls drawn from a machine by the presenter, not by RNG.
  • Your multiplier payout will differ from that of other players—what you see on screen is personal to you.
  • The chat creates a sense of community, but depending on the casino you’re playing through, it’s sometimes not available.
  • The graphics are superb.

Cons

  • It’s mostly an RNG game with a presenter and live element at the end.
  • It’s easy to overspend and bet more than you can win.
  • There’s no way to determine how much you’ve spent.
  • The Top-Up phase benefits all the coloured balloon positions, not just the one you win so that you may be throwing money away.
  • The RTP is low, so don’t expect lots of wins.
  • Wins are generally on the low side unless you Top-up.

How the Balloon Race Compares with Other Live Slot Games

Evolution has produced four other Live Slot games, Crazy Coin Flip and Crazy Pachinko, which are based on bonus rounds games from Crazy Time, while Gonzos Treasure Map and Extra Chilli Epic Spins are based on existing slot titles.

Balloon Race is a new theme idea, but it uses the same game mechanics of qualification, topping up, and the final bonus payout.

The top-up sequences are different but perform the same function, and out of the three games, I prefer this one as it feels fresher and is something new.

Playtech and On Air Entertainment also have live slot games if you want something more traditional. Buffalo Blitz, Big Bad Wolf and 9 Pots of Gold are based on existing slot titles, with live and RNG bonus rounds.

As for RTP, they are all similar. The payout potential is greater in the Evolution games than in the others.

Summary

This is the best live slot game I’ve seen visually and presentation-wise.

It’s refreshing that Evolution has stripped away the traditional to give us something modern and light. It reminds me of Sweet Bonanza Candyland, which has the same light air about it—although they are two very different games.

Evolution stuck with its trusted qualification and top-up process before the main event, which served it well with Crazy Coin Flip and Crazy Pachinko.

You can play the game in several ways, making it as volatile as you like by the options you choose. I prefer keeping it simple, as it’s an easy game to get away from you. Before you know it, you’ve spent more than you can win.

Big wins are possible, but you must invest much during the Top-Up phase to ensure that happens.

The best outcome is to get three scatter multipliers during the qualification phase, which will massively boost the final payouts. This will happen; it is just a case of when.

These live slots have a loyal following, and Balloon Race Live will fit straight in.