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.
UnPhiltered Slot Review: Piggy Riches Megaways by Netent RedTiger
Last year the slots landscape changed with the purchase of Red Tiger by NetEnt. One of the original slot companies, tracing back to the late 1990s was moving into the M&A market. After experiencing a huge drop in share price from the 2016 “glory days”, before the explosion of new and innovative slot companies, NetEnt went big, bold, and bullish into their purchase of Red Tiger. Red Tiger was a great choice, with some solid titles performing well around the world, a big presence in Asia, and a licence to use the BTG Megaways reels players fell in love with from the launch of Bonanza.
So, what has this deal for up to £220 million brought us, aside from less office space in Malta? Well, the wait is over as the first joint release of the two companies is Piggy Riches Megways. NetEnt are proud traditionalists, this much is clear from their recent “Max” versions of their older slots, offering the same game with a more volatile pay model, so it makes obvious sense that one of their classic hits would be the first game to get the Megaways treatment. But is it any good?
The game uses the red tiger layout and overlay, which I assume is due to the Megaways being built into Red Tigers system, not NetEnt’s, so the game-play and speeds, the bonus teases, the wild reels, are all similar to how they appear on any other Red Tiger Megaways release. The base game is pretty standard, no sideways spinning top or bottom reels like the BTG slots, but it does come with random Wild Reels. These can pay from 2x to 7x, with up to 3 of them landing on one spin. The theme is solid, pigs, cash, and a nice mansion. Basically think the Kardashians, but with pigs instead of… well worse pigs. So it’s pretty much identical.
Oddly I think this is the first Red Tiger megaways slot with no random in-game feature, but 3 Scatters on the reels anywhere triggers the free spins. A wheel spins and gives up to 22 spins with a multiplier up to 10x. This feature has positives and negatives. While its fun to watch a wheel, builds excitement, and can add some volatility, it also decreases the engagement a bit. As this slot has no bonus buy (At least that I can see), the game is adding to the longevity of triggering the bonus by adding a way for the bonus to instantly be a negative for the player. If the player lands on 7 spins x1, add that on to the very low odds of hitting a bonus, I can see this getting on peoples “play once and not again lists”. So far when making this review after 1,200 spins we didn’t get a bonus, but I will update once it lands. I am achin’ for some bacon at this point.
Legal stuff – 95.7% RTP (Why under 96?) Up to 10,000x max win.
SCORE – It’s hard to measure. When you see NetEnt, and the worldwide acclaim that Dead Or Alive 2 has (Ignoring the worlds most boring base game, that bonus makes up for it a thousand times over), and you combine it with Red Tiger, you expect… more? It feels like the design, the idea, the name, were all great, but the end product, and especially the bonus round, were just afterthoughts. With the volatility of the Megaways bonus, you can make insane things happen. Every BTG Megaways title feels innovative, sometimes in the wrong direction admittedly, but they change what they do each time. Even Blueprint for all their mass production of titles had the same idea for Spins/Multiplier offer on Megaways with Safari Gold and Leo Vegas own branded slot months ago. It just feels… lazy. It’s playable for sure, it’s not a bad game by any means, but it just leaves you wondering why you would play this over any of the similar, and to be honest, superior, near-identical offerings. That being said as it is NetEnt and Red Tiger, this game will be guaranteed great positioning and good traffic, but on the player enjoyment and player rating categories, this one will be on the outside of the barbecue looking in.