9 Masks of Fire (Gameburger Studios): Overview
One of the best-named developers out there, Gameburger, is the studio behind the fiery new slot 9 Masks of Fire. Working in partnership with Microgaming, yet producing games independently, they have released this new slot with interesting take on the African theme. Using symbols and imagery that are classic slot icons at their core, Gameburger has attached several new extras on to freshen the experience. The African tribal theme is a relatively uncommon one and makes an intriguing vehicle for the slot’s gameplay and features.
The 9 Masks of Fire blurb talks about the sun rising over the African jungles, but don’t expect to find much wildlife here - or any at all actually. The focus is on the cultural/tribal side and is expressed through a throbbing soundtrack and the exotic Masks that give the slot its title. Soulful is another word from the press release and is a good way to describe the initial encounter with this unusual slot. And we say unusual in the best sense. 9 Masks of Fire manages to look both new and old at the same time, and it’s hard not to want to line up a few spins to see what it can do.
The 5x3 grid sits against a rather plain burgundy background framed with plenty of gold. Graphically, Gameburger has kept things bright but basic. The developer’s goal was to recreate a physical slot experience at home and in the looks department they have succeeded. Keeping things simple means a slot needs hefty substance to give the game any longevity. Unfortunately, 9 Masks of Fire doesn’t quite manage to follow up the promise with reward, but we will get to that shortly.
Players can take part in the heated action with stakes starting at 20 c/p up to £/€60 per spin. Other key stats include 20 paylines, an above-average RTP of 96.24%, and medium volatility. These are all decent figures which are let down by its disappointing max potential.
Symbols are again, a nice mix of old and new. There are 8 base game symbols – cherries, Bars, bells and dollar signs at the lower end, 4 different lucky seven symbols at the top. The triple 7s offer the best return with 37.5 times the stake for five of a kind. The diamond is a controversial symbol of Africa, and here it is the wild. It can payout up to 125 times the stake for five of a kind, and also substitute for all symbols except the Free Spins and Mask. Gameburger has decorated the base of the 7’s symbols with a strip of tribal pattern to jazz them up a bit. Overall, they offer average rates, and nowhere near what the special symbols are capable of returning.
9 Masks of Fire (Gameburger Studios): Features
The glowing eyed Mask symbol looks in-theme and plays the role of the scatter. It can land anywhere, individually or stacked, and 3 or more lead to cash prizes. Naturally, the more scatters that land, the higher the prize will be. A handy table to the left of the reels lights up with flames when Masks land to let you know exactly how much is on offer. If 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 Masks land, the respective rewards are 1x, 5x, 15x, 40x, 100x, 500x, and 2000 times your total stake.
The final extra feature is triggered by the Shaka Zulu style shield and spears icon. This is the Free Spins symbol which can land on reels 2, 3, and 4. If three land on one spin, then they pay out 1 times the stake as well as launch the bonus game. A lucky wheel then covers the grid with different prize segments which spins to reveal the nature of the bonus. Players can land from 10 to 30 free spins, and multipliers of x2 or x3 which apply to all wins except Mask wins.
Gameburger shows their generous side during this feature by giving Fire 7’s the ability to pay out in combinations or on their own. More scatter Mask symbols are added and continue to land, so free spins can be retriggered, theoretically without limit, leading to some solid bonus action.
9 Masks of Fire (Gameburger Studios): Verdict
Kudos to Gameburger for creating a slot that successfully manages to be several things at once. The first is the look of the game which makes good use of classic slot symbols while adding in just enough new elements to avoid being completely clichéd. The same goes for the overall look of 9 Masks of Fire. On the one hand, it is a basic-looking slot with a plain background; on the other, the symbols shimmer and shine nicely and look novel. The soundtrack is also worth pointing out with its soulful African rhythm complementing the pace of spins. As stated, Gameburger went for the physical style slot on your device approach and have certainly fulfilled their goal in that regard.
Where they could have done better is by increasing some of the key stats to give the game more bite. The medium volatility and high hit rate provide fairly frequent wins while keeping the overall max potential to just 2,000 times the stake. In other words, dedicated gamers will fail to find the real kick that can be found elsewhere. It’s not a horrendous top prize but nothing to get excited about either.
Having gone over the flaws, 9 Masks of Fire is certainly not without its charm. African themed slots that aren’t packed with wildlife and huge panoramic vistas are rare. In that regard, players could be forgiven for having a sly punt to experience something a bit different. To sum up, 9 Masks of Fire has the looks that will slip effortlessly into any online casino’s line up. With its physical game vibe it could well prove popular with recreational gamblers and those keen on classic slots.
While its quite a solid slot in most of its aspects, 9 Masks of Fire still lacks captivating gameplay.