Iron Dog Studio, located in the United Kingdom, decks up its Branded Megaways idea for the holidays so that punters may give it a spin. Branded Megaways, for those of you unfamiliar, is a template that can be simply modified to include an operator’s branding or logo. This one, Christmas Megaways, is an Iron Dog production through and through, and was likely launched as much to demonstrate the software’s capabilities as to make a profit out of the holiday season. While Christmas Megaways demonstrates the flexibility of the structure, it also displays its limitations, leading to a result that is, at best, ambivalent.
The four-star free spins meter is in the traditional position on the right, while the firm name appears on the left, above the Megaways counter, in a typical Branded Megaways arrangement. The 6-reel game area is in the middle, and it may generate 64–117,749 winning combinations at random. A wintry landscape complete with snowy mountains, presents, and stars decorates the area around the slot. It’s an unremarkable scene, devoid of any particular warmth or appeal, somewhat unlike the image on a pack of Christmas cards sold for 99 cents at a convenience shop. When making a slot from a template, the blank backdrop is another giveaway of its generic nature. The good news is that the background music is relaxing.
You may play Christmas Megaways on any device, and wagers range from 20 cents to $20 every spin. No matter what you think of the graphics or how the concept is handled, the numbers for Christmas Megaways are hard to argue with. It has a theoretical return to player (RTP) of 96.2% with the potential for huge gains if the game’s features pan out.
Iron Dog has made sure that symbols in both the high and low paying categories adhere to the concept. For example, the 10 through Ace royals include festive designs like holly and mistletoe. Now we get to the good stuff, including ornaments, candles, stockings, gifts, and Christmas trees. Gain anywhere from 2x to 25x your initial wager if you get a six of a kind.
Slot Bonuses and Holiday Megaways
In this stocking, players will discover a bonus purchase feature, wild multipliers, free games with locking reels, and more free games. It’s all very basic fare, but it has potential to be entertaining.
Both regular and multiplier wilds can appear in the game. When they appear on reels 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, they can replace any other symbol. The wild symbol can sometimes show up in the main game with a multiplier of x2. There can be up to three x2 wilds in play at once. Multiplying by one means that using three in a victory will result in an x8 multiplier.
Tumble occurs after each victory, regardless of game phase. Here, the winning symbols are vanished, and replacements fall into the empty spaces. As long as there is a steady stream of fresh successes, this process can snowball.
When a tumble occurs, the next bonus is activated and you get several free spins. When 4 or more consecutive falls happen, you get 8 more spins. Free spins are increased by 2 for any roll above 4, up to a maximum of 14. Any reel that has 7 symbols on the bonus’s triggering spin or any free spins will remain at that position for the duration of the bonus. A bonus spin will be added if the reels are locked on the last free spin. In the bonus game, the multiplier for payouts rises by one every time you win. In addition, if players get four consecutive tumbles in the bonus game, they will receive four more free spins, with two more free spins added for each additional tumble up to a maximum of fourteen.
Players can also purchase more free spins where allowed. Beginning with 30x the wager for 6 free spins, players may increase their investment to 130x for 10 free spins and one locked reel.
Holiday Megaways: The Slots Have Spoken
Let’s begin by recognizing that Christmas Megaways’ gameplay isn’t terrible; it’s really rather decent technically. In this sense, it’s equivalent to the earlier Branded Megaways and Pirate Kingdom. If you enjoyed them, especially the pirate version, you will probably enjoy this. However, it’s very uncommon for repeat performances in slots to bomb, especially after the third time around. Combine that with the clinical approach to the most joyous time of the year, and it’s hard to find anything to get excited about in Christmas Megaways.
To a certain extent, Christmas Megaways is an apt description. Someone (perhaps the Grinch) apparently believed that all that was required to create a slot was to fill in a few blanks on a template. Unfortunately, it has become just as uninspired as the title suggests. While it’s true that thrill-seekers may enjoy themselves here, they probably wouldn’t if they knew about the numerous other Christmas-themed slots that come off as really being a touch heart-warming. In comparison to Iron Dog’s 1 Million Megaways BC, which is set during the actual ice age and features eggnog by a blazing interior fire, this one feels approximately 100 degrees icier.
The Branded concept is interesting, however it appears that in this case the operators are benefiting more. The ability to add their own logos and other content to games is a huge plus for them. Not great for gamers because the final product lacks originality and feels like a sloppy assembly. It’s like painting by numbers, but with slots. We could be too critical of this. Some gamers may like the subdued take on Christmas, and the possibility is huge at 40,000 times the bet.
It’s still early on in the Branded experiment, so who knows what the future holds. At this point, it’s obvious that if the cookie-cutter problem is more bothersome to you than the enjoyment of Christmas Megaways, then Christmas will be about as enjoyable as a day spent drunk with obnoxious relatives.