Branded Megaways: Overview
Branded Megaways is a customizable slot from developer Iron Dog Studio powered by the popular Megaways game engine. Branded what, you may be asking? Based on Pirate Kingdom Megaways, the whole idea behind the release is to serve as a template, allowing casinos to customize the game with the help of the Iron Dog Studio team. For example, if branded for Rizk Casino, it will have a precursor of the company logo.
Being customizable, the game will obviously be available in all sorts of different themes. The default theme, however, is a little hard to pin down. Behind the reels is a padded leather wall which is either the classiest or tackiest thing ever depending on your taste. To go with it, the sound team has conjured up a sort of funk 80s track, full of slap bass like the theme music from an old tv series like Seinfeld or Night Court. Again, something you will possibly either love or hate.
The gameplay is easier to get a handle on. Iron Dog has set Branded Megaways up with 6 reels, holding 2-7 symbols on each. The precise number of symbols changes on every spin, creating 64 to 117,649 ways to win when fully expanded. When it comes to the nuts and bolts of the game, numbers are pretty solid. Playable from 20 p/c to £/€20 per spin, the RTP is slightly above average on 96.2%, while volatility is in the high range. Hit frequency is quite high as well at 27%, which is quite typical of most Megaways slots.
The game gets all bling when it comes to paytable symbols. From bottom to top, we find 10 to A shimmering royals, silver bars, gold bars, green gems, red gems, and diamonds. Diamonds are the only symbols that pay out when two of a kind land, while 6 of a kind are worth 25 times the stake.
Players benefit from two rhinestone-encrusted wilds which land on reels 2 to 6. One is a standard wild that substitutes for any other pay symbol to help form a winner. The second wild does the same thing, but it also comes with an x2 multiplier. Up to three wild multipliers can appear at once for a combined value of x8.
Branded Megaways: Features
As well as wild multipliers, players get cascades and free spins. The cascade mechanic removes winning symbols from the reels, so new ones can take their place. This can lead to consecutive chains of wins from a single spin until no new winners appear. Should 4 consecutive cascades occur, players are rewarded with 8 free spins. Every cascade over 4 adds 2 more free spins up to a maximum of 14 extras, or 22 in total.
The Free spins feature comes with a win multiplier which starts at x1 and increases by +1 for every cascade. Also, if 7 symbols appear on a reel, the reel is locked at that number for the duration of the feature whilst 1 free spins is added to your total. Similar to the base game, if 4 consecutive cascades occur on a free spin, 2 more are added to the tally. Each successive cascade over four adds two free spins each up to a maximum of 14.
Depending on the jurisdiction, players may be able to buy free spins. The cost depends on the options and combos selected; 6, 8, or 10 free spins with either 0 or 1 locked reels. The cheapest option, 6 spins + 0 locked reels, costs 30 times the stake, up to 130 times the stake for 10 free spins and 1 locked reel. Keep in mind, the RTP drops slightly when buying free spins, no matter which option you choose.
Branded Megaways: Verdict
Branded Megaways is an unique idea and a pretty clever one too considering branded Megaways slots are proven popular. The customizable theme will likely give smaller casinos, who lack the resources to order an exclusive slot, an opportunity to have their very own branded slot.
Ok, so the gameplay is a bit on the shallow side, but these kind of slots usually are. The saving grace is the gameplay and potential; it's hard to go totally wrong with the classic Megaways setup, although it's not very exciting either for seasoned players. With Pirate Kingdom having been the hit that it was for the studio, it does make sense a small developer such as Iron Dog would want to sort of play it safe and capitalise on it in some way.
The result is a game with a couple of sweetly generic features, providing staggering wins of up to 40,000 times the stake. Despite the similarities, Branded Megaways was not as enjoyable as the original. This is partly due to second time around blues, partly the uninspiring looks. The charisma level has taken a hit and Branded Megaways just doesn’t have the same spark to it. Bottom line, if you are mad for Pirate Kingdom, but need a break from the whole ‘RRRRRR’ thing, Branded Megaways could be a viable alternative.
Branded Megaways is a template slot that allows operators to slap their own brands on, serving up some decent, albeit a bit shallow, entertainment in the process.