Arctic Magic (Microgaming): Overview
Microgaming titles don't come along all too often these days. The once so mighty developer seems more content on being an aggregator than coming up with new games. Looking at what they've been churning out as of late, that might not have been such a bad decision after all. Sadly, it's as if Microgaming stopped trying, something Arctic Magic is a perfect example of. If you're hoping to experience some of the magic that once made Microgaming so great, we're sorry to disappoint. In terms of looks and feel, Arctic Magic plays more like a Just For The Win slot which makes us suspect that it's not really a Microgaming title at all.
When it comes to visual appearance, Arctic Magic looks alright. It uses Art Deco style fonts, and the visuals have a sort of old school World’s Fair look about them. Old fashioned yet futuristic at the same time. That forward looking, reach for the stars optimism you get from old space age posters from the 1960s. Arctic Magic’s transparent 5 reel, 3 row grid is set against the backdrop of a wintery wonderland, all majestic mountains and snow-covered trees at night. It’s a pretty scene, but it still comes across as rather basic and almost generic.
Special mention needs to be made of the soundtrack which has a sort of Andean Pan Pipe feel. The original testing session was on mute so we missed it at first. The second session we switched the sound on and it was like walking into a new age crystal shop where the owner hands you a flower and tells you that life is a tulip. It is pretty dramatic and doesn’t really match the rest of the game. If you are looking to get amped up for an intense, high adrenaline session, make sure to mute the soundtrack, or you’ll be asleep within minutes. Yes, it is relaxing, a bit magical, but it doesn’t quite fit. Anyway, on with the review.
Arctic Magic uses just 9 paylines, and because stakes are divided by that number they come in unusual denominations. Starting at 9 p/c per spin, they go up in increments of 9 until they reach £/€45 at the most. The game can be played across all devices, and landscape mode works best on a mobile to get a complete view of the wintery scenery. The high volatility is partnered with an RTP of 96.1%, so the game has its share of ups and downs. The pace is helped by a decent hit rate of 31.37% which keeps things ticking along.
Symbols are a mix of old and new, with values that vary wildly. On the low side are 9 – A royals done in that pleasing Art Deco Style. High pay symbols are glowing-eyed, otherworldly animals such as bunnies, foxes, reindeers, wolves, and polar bears. Five polar bears are worth 83 times the stake, which pales in comparison to the mountain wild symbols. Land five of them and you are looking at 1,111 times the stake. The wild can substitute for any other symbol except the scatter, and when it is used to form a winning combination the payout amount is doubled.
Arctic Magic (Microgaming): Features
When it comes to features, Microgaming has gone for the quality over quantity route as there is just one extra to speak of. Microgaming’s stated aim was to build on the success of free spins with Multipliers which is certainly the game’s main draw. The scatter looks like a snowflake seen through a microscope, and 3 or more anywhere on the reels result in 15 Free Spins. Scatters are also worth a fair amount of money as well with 5 returning 500 times the stake before the free spins even start.
All wins during the bonus round are subjected to a x3 multiplier. Scatters continue to appear during the round so free spins can be retriggered. Scatters and wilds are so handy that they only need 2 of a kind on a payline to payout a small number of coins. When either land, a nice animation of the aurora borealis plays on the screen too for a touch of winter magic.
Arctic Magic (Microgaming): Verdict
There's nothing magical about Arctic Magic. In fact, there's not even the slightest bit of originality to it or any other sort of quality that will make you come back for more. And as it turns out, the game is a reskin of Microgaming's 2019 Christmas contribution Festive Indulgance. Whilst the developers managed to give that game some charm and character, Arctic Magic lacks all of that. The theme feels generic, the symbols sort of melt together into a mess and the gameplay is far too weak to make up for the dull appearance.
Arctic Magic is not an entertaining slot and it doesn't take many spins for its average gameplay to show through. Yes wilds and scatters can be worth a stack of coins, but they suffer the same fate that symbols in a game like A Dark Matter did. Namely, 5 wilds or scatters are highly valuable but rare, and payouts for 4 of a kind or less drop significantly. Still, it can happen and whilst the overall potential is anything but exciting, it isn't exactly a Christmas miracle. Max wins are capped at £150,000, or around 3,333 times the stake (a typical Just For The Win number, hence our suspicions).
The only thing the game has got going for it is the solid RTP. The mathematical model, on the other hand, is not so impressive. Arctic Magic is a high risk game with low rewards, but as with any game it can provide wins (and losses). If entertainment is a factor for you when playing slots, look elsewhere. The main game is incredibly dull and the free spins game is more or less identical to the main game. Add to that generic visuals and there's little to get excited about.
The primary flaw of Arctic Magic is oversimplicity on all fronts.