Book of Gems Megaways: Slot Overview
Joining the never-ending cluster of developers taking advantage of Megaways is Isle of Man-based provider Skywind Group. Since 2012, the studio has released an impressive number of slots, though it seems the team is more comfortable chasing trends rather than setting them. Book of Gems Megaways is a good example. This is the first time the studio has grappled with Megaways on license from Big Time Gaming, and has done so using just about the safest theme imaginable – 'book of' style gaming with all the benefits that entails. Expanding pay anywhere symbols in free spins are the highlight as always, and making them fit on a Megaways grid presents its own challenge. For the most part, Skywind has risen to it, giving fans another enjoyable option to fire up.
For the record, the first studio to marry Megaways with Ra was Blueprint Gaming in Legacy of Ra Megaways back in early 2019. One key difference in Skywind’s game is that it is played on a reduced grid made up of 5 reels, holding 2 to 5 symbols each. The exact number varies on every spin where up to 3,125 ways to win are possible. Much less than Megaways is capable of but a lot more than the 10 paylines usually found in a book game. Like Blueprint, Skywind has also chosen not to incorporate a reaction mechanic. It seems like the first studio to figure out how to factor cascades into a 'book of' math model could well be on to a winner.
The view when Book of Gems Megaways loads is most certainly one players will be familiar with. Pyramids line the horizon, amidst a blazing yellow sky, plenty of foreground sand and a fairly generic Arabic soundtrack. There is even a short sharp blast of what sounds like 'Ra!' when two scatters land. Like the rest of the game, Book of Gems Megaways mixes doses of old and new when it comes to both audio and visuals.
Players looking to stretch their budget to the limit might not be thrilled about the 50 p/c minimum stake, though high rollers should be pleased to know they can stake as much as £/€250 per spin. RTP stacks up alright compared to early Ra versions, yet not so well against modern releases, producing a theoretical value of 95%. Volatility is high (5/5), as is potential.
It wouldn't be a 'book of' slot without an adventurer wearing an Indiana Jones hat, and here we get one that looks like a young, clean cut Tom Hardy. He's the highest paying symbol at 4x the bet for five of a kind, followed by pyramids, scarabs, rings and A-10 royals. At least three matching symbols are required to form a regular win, sitting adjacently from the leftmost reel.
Book of Gems Megaways: Slot Features
The cornerstone of Book of Gems Megaways, as you can no doubt guess, is the book symbol which is both wild and scatter. It appears on reels 2, 3 and 4 to replace any other symbols in a winning combination. As a scatter, 3 in view trigger 10 free spins plus a win of two times the total bet.
Before free spins start, the book of gems flips its pages to select one special symbol that may become expanding in free spins. If special symbols can create a win, they expand to cover all positions on their respective reel, and pay anywhere – they do not need to be adjacent or start from the first reel.
The other feature you don't often come across in these sorts of games is a buy in feature. In saying so, there is one in Blueprint's Legacy of Ra Megaways if you were wondering. Book of Gems Megaways offers quite good value at 70x the total bet. When activated, free spins are guaranteed to trigger on the next spin.
Book of Gems Megaways: Slot Verdict
In some ways, Skywind has played it safe on their debut Megaways slot, but that's not exactly breaking news. It's not uncommon to take BTG's engine for a more leisurely test run before pushing its limits. The reel/row configuration might be smaller than usual, yet it matches the 'book of' dynamic quite well. As do the aesthetics which have an old school feel, offset to a degree by the Megaways powered grid.
Possibly the coolest thing about Book of Gems Megaways is its buy in feature. 'Book of' games have always been about their expanding pay-anywhere symbols during free spins and chasing full-screen premium wins. With Book of Gems Megaways, there's no need to faff around in the base game if you're not in the mood. Simply layout the 70x and you're in. In fact, the actual cost is less, because when scatters land on the middle three reels, you get a payout for whatever wins they create. It is possible to start the round in the black. In some ways it's refreshing to see a studio going against the current trend for ever-larger bonus buys, San Quentin's 2,000x instantly springing to mind here.
As to max win, no official figure was available at the time of writing, though technically Book of Gems Megaways turns up some big numbers. Megaways help bolster weak single line wins, and a full screen of Tom Hardy's would be worth 12,500x the bet. It might not be Book of Shadows territory, but that figure pushes Book of Gems Megaways to the higher end of the potential spectrum for 'book of' games.
Book of Gems is a decent Megaways debut from Skywind Group. While they've bet on the favourite by going with this style, the studio has nevertheless done enough to make the game worth checking out. Not least for its reasonably priced buy feature, catering to players who just can't get enough expanding symbol action in their lives.
Book of Gems Megaways skirts the middle ground between innovation and tradition in a ‘book of’ slot that should please fans.