Serengeti Kings: A Roaring Success?
UnPhiltered Slot Review: Serengeti Kings by Netent Red Tiger
For the past year NetEnt has been releasing an unhealthy mix of poorly designed followup games (Reel Rush 2, Butterfly Staxx 2, actual carbon copies of their previous content from years ago, or identical games from glory years with the word MAX in the title to offer some kind of volatility in a previously very docile slot. Since the merger with RedTiger broke the LinkedIn pages of most of us, this is the first truly original game to come from the provider. But is it a quality release from the team who can create just that, we need to look no further than Dead Or Alive 2 to know what kind of slot they can make and the kind of following their games can generate.
At first glance we have a new take on the IGT spin collection mechanic. 11 spins collecting symbols (Lions and Panthers) which the Lions then are added onto the screen after the 12th spin, creating more opportunities for big wins. Then you have a further 11 spins to collect more Panthers which are in turn added after the 12th spin to create more wins and larger pays. A nice twist on an existing idea, but one that makes it better. So far, not too shabby.
The bonus round is 12 spins again, but all symbols collected on all sides are added. 3 scatters gives a simple 12 free spins with the collected symbols reset to 0. 4 scatters and you get to keep what you have collected so far, and 5 scatters means you get what you saved up with an additional 5 of each symbol added. This can lead to some huge collections saved up, which should lead to some big wins. I use the word should, as this game can also be a bit of a dick to you (like most people in 2020), and stack its symbols on top of other symbols. I managed to collect 19 lions in the base game, and on a reel set of 20 spaces I expected some nice connections. The Lions were added on top of other lions, like some kind of weird Lion orgy, and while this can multiply the win by the number of additions, on this occasion is paid 0x. Not one single line win of 19 collected symbols. If I was near Simba id have shot him myself. Stop lion around and pay me some money.
In my opinion the biggest issue I have with this game is from a responsible gambling aspect. The feature buy on this game, for want of a better word, is moronic. For 58.7x you can buy a standard bonus. That’s fine, reasonable, even decent. It’s not very volatile on this mode so you are in effect just buying it to either lose 30x or win 30x. From 10 test buys the highest win was 85x. The lowest win was 4x. This can be defined by the phrase “meh”.
The issue comes from the larger buys. 4 scatters (where you keep your collected symbols from the base game) can cost the player (From my testing) up to 500x stake. This is a bit ridiculous. Whats more ridiculous is that the 5 scatter feature buy (keep all collections +5 on each) I have seen for almost 1,500x stake with a good base set up. No offence to the game creators, but on what planet do you think that’s responsible? We live in times where companies are being sued, UKGC and soon MGA maybe will cut off bonus buys, Responsible Gaming and KYC/SOW checks are everywhere, and the max anyone is really doing is 100x stake, so at least for those playing on 1 euro stake its not unfeasible to afford a good bonus buy session. Paying 1,500 euros for 1 euro stake bonus, with no guarantees of a win (I purchased one for 800x stake on a 20c stake, costing 165 euros. It paid 12 euros for example), is ridiculous, immoral, and stupid.
Score – The base game is nice. Its attractively made, its a good twist on a system that people know, and the payouts are decent. I had a few 90-150x wins in the base game when testing. I quite enjoyed collecting the symbols on both sides and seeing more chances for wins. But the bonus feature, especially the bonus buy, makes this game score worse than it should. A bonus where collected symbols don’t even have to pay out by stacking themselves all on reel 5 is a bit of a kick in the sabre-teeth, and needing them to connect not once for a line of medium pays, but then twice on top to make them wildfires so the money is actually worth it, is not a fun dynamic for the game and makes it more stressful than fun.