Rival appear to have significantly slowed their production of new games over the past couple of years, so much so that I’d almost completely forgotten about them prior to spotting “Wishing Cup” on this month’s new release list!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title, perhaps another game with an Arthurian legend theme featuring the holy grail? It turns out that Wishing Cup is yet another Egyptian themed pokie in the style of Cleopatra, which won’t win any awards for originality but does at least look and sound great!
About The Developer
I’ve always enjoyed playing Rival’s pokies and games, but finding a trustworthy casino that offers them and is available for play in my country has long been a challenge.
One of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of Rival’s products is their insistence on only licensing them for play at casinos who use their full “white label” software package, so you can’t find games such as Wishing Cup at the large multiplatform casinos that dominate the industry today.
One reason why Rival might not be too concerned with increasing the availability of their games is their dominant position within the lucrative U.S. market, where they compete solely with Real Time Gaming for the attention of tens of millions of online players.
That’s a real shame, as since first appearing on the scene in 2006 Rival have drastically improved the quality of their pokies and games. If only they would show a little interest in the wider world market, it would surely be advantageous for both themselves and their players.
How To Play
I love the straightforward layout of Rival pokies – they are usually immaculately presented, and intuitively designed. Wishing Cup is a great example of this with all of the bet size and line controls arranged in a neat row along the bottom of the screen and a large button labelled “paytable” positioned either side at the top of the reels.
The paytable itself is split across four pages and does a great job of explaining the games many features.
The wishing cup symbol acts as this game’s wild, and whilst it doesn’t have a payout of its own it does have a very profitable expanding feature which activates any time one or more lands anywhere on the reels. When this happens, the wild will freeze in place and the next position above it will be transformed into an extra wild for your next spin.
To receive the maximum benefit of this you will need the wilds to land on the bottom row, as the wild will then continue to expand upwards until the entire reel has been converted into a stacked wild.
Unfortunately, the wild symbol does not appear on the fifth reel so it isn’t possible to cover the whole screen with this feature, but if you should manage to cover the other four reels with wild symbols you probably won’t be complaining!
The main bonus round is a free spins feature with the added extra of a permanent fixed wild stack covering the third reel. You receive a minimum of seven free spins for three scatter symbols, with ten or fifteen awarded when four or five scatters make up the triggering combination.
Having a wild reel three does make it easier to score a big win during the bonus round, although it would have been even better if Rival had included a multiplier or some other additional feature to spice up the bonus mode still further.
The paytable in Wishing Cup looks reasonably generous right away, despite the lack of a cash reward for hitting the wild or scatter symbols. The top paying picture symbol returns a chunky 80x your stake for a single five-of-a-kind, and it’s possible to score many of these on a single spin thanks to the expanding wild symbols.
It’s difficult to make a calculation of what the maximum win from a single spin would be, but my estimate would be somewhere in the region of 1,000x your total stake if the first four reels are covered with wilds and at least one of the top symbols is in view on the last reel.
The overall RTP seems very reasonable at 96.3%, although it should be noted that Rival do not have the payouts from their pokies independently verified so you’ll just have to take their word for this!
Whilst there’s nothing particularly innovative or groundbreaking about Wishing Cup, it’s a fun title that’s exciting to play and offers plenty of chances to score a big win.
Whilst there are games with the potential to pay a lot more, this game strikes a great balance between risk and reward and I think most players will be satisfied with its maximum payout.
It’s great to see Rival are still alive and kicking, but the company is definitely missing a trick by refusing to license their games for play at the newer multiplatform casinos. As things stand, Wishing Cup is likely to be forgotten far quicker than it deserves to be.