9 Pearls of Fortune: Slot Overview
The sea can be a perilous place, full of dangerous animals, treacherous currents, and weather that can go from placid to raging. At other times, however, it can be quite relaxing, and it's this side of the sea that iSoftBet presents in its online slot 9 Pearls of Fortune, which is relaxing in more ways than one, being both quite calm on the senses, as well as being a comparatively low reward style of game. If your idea of gambling is the equivalent of lying back and letting the sea's ripples rock you back and forth, you might want to take a look.
Some of the first things to take in are the waving clusters of seaweed, the soft pastel colours of this underwater domain, and bubbles making their way up to the surface. A turquoise glow shimmers in the background, hinting at something mysterious that never really eventuated. If the visuals aren't enough to evoke a bit of eyelid closing, then the gently soothing soundtrack might be the inducement needed to send you into a mode of deep relaxation. At points, the music had notes of an 80s song about it, maybe Duran Duran's Save a Prayer? Let's move on.
Busting open this oyster, we find an online slot producing a return to player value of 96% when playing in the regular mode or 96.59% when buying the bonus round. In both modes, picking a base bet is required, and 9 Pearls of Fortune has a stake range of 20 p/c to £/€20 per spin. Playable on any device, the game's volatility was not at hand at the time of writing, but with all things considered, 9 Pearls of Fortune did not come across as a highly strung slot on the verge of blowing its stack at any moment.
9 Pearls of Fortune is played on a grid matrix consisting of 5 reels holding 3 symbols each with 20 paylines snaking their way across the matrix for players to land winning combinations of three to five-of-a-kind on. Hit five-of-a-kinds, and payouts start at 0.3-0.8x the bet for the J-A low pays or 1 to 5 times the stake for the seahorse, lobster, stingray, or fish high pays. Starfish appear on the wild symbol, present on all five reels. Wilds can replace any regular pay symbol to help complete a win and have the same value as the top-paying fish symbol when making winning lines of themselves.
9 Pearls of Fortune: Slot Features
Two other symbols to be on the hunt for in 9 Pearls of Fortune are the scatter symbols able to trigger free spins and the Pearl symbol, which is tied to the Pearl Respins.
Pearls appear on reels 2, 3, or 4, and when at least 3 are in view, in either the base game or free spins, a Pearl Respin is awarded. For the respin, only the three middle reels are active. Triggering Pearls are held in place, and just blank spaces or new Pearls may land. If new Pearls land, they are locked in place, and another respin is awarded. This continues until no new Pearl hits or all positions on the middle three reels are filled. Then, a prize is awarded according to how many Pearls are in view. Values are 1x, 3x, 5x, 10x, 25x, 50x, or 100x the bet for 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 Pearls on the reels.
Scatter symbols land on reels 1, 3, or 5, and when 3 of them hit, the free spins feature is triggered. First, a wheel spins to award 10, 12, or 15 free spins, with a win multiplier of x2, x3, or x5. The multiplier applies to any line wins and any prizes won from Pearl Respins during the round. Free spins cannot be triggered. Rather than triggering the round naturally, where the opportunity is available, players may buy free spins for the cost of 50x the bet. This leads to a spin of the wheel, detailed above.
Lastly, the Bubbly modifier is a random effect which can take place in the base game. When it randomly activates, bubbles fill the reels for the chance of possibly awarding free spins or the Pearl Respins feature.
9 Pearls of Fortune: Slot Verdict
It's funny, you get used to reviewing cutting-edge slots, which trip over themselves to be vicious no holds barred gambling machines, then a game like 9 Pearls of Fortune comes along, and it's hard to know what to make of it other than being a slot piggyback riding on 9 Masks of Fire. So gentle is its ways, so meagre is its rewards that it felt out of place. One of the good things about slots, though, like video games in general, is that there is something out there to cater for just about all player types. From a game like Serial, which might feel like the slot equivalent of a Facehugger from an Aliens movie to some, to a game like 9 Pearls of Fortune, sitting at the other end of the spectrum in just about every regard.
Therefore, if a slot such as Serial rocked your world, it might be best to avoid 9 Pearls of Fortune – and vice versa. Its simple, easy, laid-back atmosphere might appeal to players who want to mix a laxed environment with some chance-based gaming. This doesn't mean it's easy to win on or anything like that, as the game was happy enough to produce disappointing bonus buy results and so on. On the other hand, bonus buys here are relatively 'cheap' by modern standards, and the chilled vibe might help bring tensions back to resting levels. 9 Pearls of Fortune's potential is unlikely to be a major incentive for a lot of people, though, with a win cap of 15,000 coins, or 750x the bet in place.
In short, 9 Pearls of Fortune cannot be said to be one of iSoftBet's heavyweight slots. Quite the opposite, and it came across like scuba diving in an indoor swimming pool full of fake coral and a few reef fish. Pleasant in a way, but the sanitised environment means the hint of any sort of 'danger' or uncovering major rewards have been severely dialled back.
9 Pearls of Fortune is not exactly the definition of white-knuckle gaming, but some might like the relaxing aspects.