Anderthals (Just For The Win): Overview
No one ever questioned Swedish developer Just For The Win's knack for designing pretty games, and from what it seems, their target audience (soccer moms?) seem to like what they're being served. Beneath the hood, on the other hand, things have not been quite as interesting given the fact that we've been fed what feels almost like a recycled mathematical model - and a rather awful one too. Looking at the specs of their latest release, we hold little hope that things have changed. But we'll see about that.
This time we go way back in time to meet lovable couple Andy and Annie Anderthal. These two club-wielding, animal skin wearing troglodytes are the stars of JFTW’s latest slot Anderthals. They’re the friendly type who keep dinosaurs as pets, and eat massive portions of dino ribs by the campfire. Yes, it's all a bit Flintstones-ish. If anything, the game world is even more primitive than Fred’s was – feet powered cars are yet to be invented. The two Anderthals, and the slot in general, might appear cute, but they’re amiable antics bely another highly volatile slot from Just For The Win with not so great rewards for the risky undertaking. It’s good to see the developer turning up the heat in that regard; it’s just a shame that the rest of the slot is way way back playing catch up.
Obviously, Anderthals is a cleverly shortened version of the word Neanderthals. Those ‘cavemen’ that existed alongside early humans for generations, potentially interbreeding and preserving some of their DNA down to modern times. What that means for players, is a game set in prehistoric times, populated with plenty of volcanoes and dinosaurs. We all know dinosaurs never actually existed alongside humans, but a bit of creative license never hurt anyone.
As usual, Just for the Win has crafted a good looking slot with a cartoon, dreamy look to it reminiscent of the move The Good Dinosaur. The action takes place on a grid that uses 5 reels, 4 rows and 40 fixed paylines. As mentioned, a highly volatile math model runs the show and produces an RTP of 96.12%. The game has been extensively tested to produce those results, more on that in the verdict.
Players are able to head back in time by first choosing a bet from 10 p/c up to £/€100 per spin. The key aim of the game is to land combinations of 3 or more matching symbols on a payline for a win. The regular pay symbols on the table include stone cut royals (J-A) roughly hewn into shape, and three premiums. These premiums include Andy, Annie, and the logo which is worth 32 times the stake for five of a kind. Rounding off the regular symbols is the wild which can substitute for any pay symbol. It usually lands in 1x1 tile size but can be expanded via certain features.
Anderthals (Just For The Win): Features
Anderthals benefits from several random features as well as a round of free spins. Just above the reels is a horizontal line of 5 spaces that reveal different features/enhancers on every spin. These are called Feature Spots, and each one corresponds to the reel below it. The burning torch is called the Feature Symbol, and if two or more land on a spin, they activate the Feature Spots above them. There are several different Feature Spots with these individual benefits:
- 1x Bet or 2x Bet– when the spin is complete a 1x or 2x the bet prize is awarded respectively.
- Expanding Wilds – any wilds that land beneath these active Feature Spots will expand to cover the whole reel.
- Extra Wilds – additional wild symbols are added to the reel beneath this active Feature Spot.
- Wild x2 or Wild x3 – turns any wild symbols on active reels into x2 or x3 Wild Multipliers. Wild x2 and Wild x3 cannot occur on the same spin.
- Respins – during the base game, this activates a feature spot with Expanding wilds, Wild x2, Wild x3. The respin cannot activate new features, and only one respin can be awarded per spin.
- Free spins – triggers the free spins bonus round.
If one Free Spins spot is activated it awards 8 free spins, and every additional activated free spin spot awards 2 more to the round. During free spins, all feature spots that were active when the bonus round was triggered remain active for the full duration.
Anderthals (Just For The Win): Verdict
Just like their previous release Treasure Skyland, Just for the Win has once again surprised by dialling up the variance. It’s a pity they couldn’t have dialled up the rest of the game to go with it. Now, for low-rollers, things are actually not all that bad as the setup allows for wins of over 11,000 times the stake when playing at the default 0.10 bet. For highrollers, meanwhile, the game is not equally rewarding as the game is capped at 2,219 times the stake at max bet.
To hit either of those numbers is, of course, highly unlikely in any case when you consider it was achieved during 110 billion simulated spins. In other words, don’t hold your breath; the next ice age is more likely to arrive before a big payday. Knowing that, any appeal that Anderthals had quickly disappears faster than the dinosaurs did on impact day.
Still, Just for the Win make pretty games, and they know their audience. They will be banking on players drawn to Anderthals from both European and Asian markets. That aim is evidenced by the alternative Chinese Logo symbol on different game versions. What might win certain punters over is a cuteness that draws the eye and a couple of mechanics to keep them spinning. One is the relatively steady hit rate of around 1 in 5 spins. The second is that two scatters will theoretically land once every 25 spins on average. Each time they do Feature Spots become active. The issue is that the modifiers aren’t all that special, and unlikely to make huge impacts on a session.
All up, Anderthals is another looker from Just for the Win which is more flash than substance. Yet, with a ton of features and fairly regular hit rate, it has all the right ingredients to rock their target market. Otherwise, unless you are completely enamoured with the thought of dinosaur and human cohabitation, there is no reason to seek out Anderthals to play.
Just For The Win’s target audience will enjoy it, but hardcore gamers will be hard-pressed to find something in Anderthals to get excited about.