Christmas Megaways: Slot Overview
UK based Iron Dog Studio decorate their Branded Megaways concept in tinsel and wrapping for punters looking for something to spin during the holiday season. For those of you who are unaware, Branded Megaways allows operators to add their own branding or logos to a template in an easily customisable way. This one, Christmas Megaways, is a wholly Iron Dog affair, perhaps released in an attempt to show what the software can do as much as cash in on Xmas. Christmas Megaways shows how easily the format can be configured, yet is also reveals limitations, thus resulting in a final product that gives some mixed feelings.
The layout is classic Branded Megaways with the four-star free spins meter located on the right and company brand-name, or in this case title, on the left above the Megaways counter. In the centre sits the 6-reel game area, capable of randomly producing between 64-117,749 ways to win on each spin. Surrounding the slot is a winter scene, all snowy mountains, gift packages, and starry skies. It's a rather plain view, lacking much charm or warmth, like a picture on a cheap pack of Christmas Cards from a 99p store that's trying not to offend anyone. The bare background is also a tell-tale sign of the generic nature when constructing a slot from a template. On the bright side, the accompanying soundtrack is rather soothing.
Christmas Megaways is available on any device, offering bets from 20 p/c to £/€20 per spin. Whatever your thoughts on the visuals or theme treatment, statistically, you can't fault Christmas Megaways. Its highly volatile math model produces an RTP of 96.2% and some massive potential wins should the features do their thing.
Iron Dog has ensured the theme is present amongst the symbols, in both high and low pay categories. The 10 to Ace royals, for instance, are adorned with various seasonal icons such as mistletoe. On to high pays which include decorations, candles, stockings, gifts and trees. Hit a six of a kind win here for returns of 2 to 25 times the bet.
Christmas Megaways: Slot Features
Stuffed down this stocking players will find tumbles, multiplier wilds, free spins with locking reels, and a bonus buy option. It's all pretty standard stuff for the most part, but can get good nonetheless.
The game uses two wild types – a standard and a multiplier. Both land on reels 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 to substitute for any pay symbol. Occasionally in the base game, the wild symbol may appear in an x2 multiplier form. Up to three x2 wilds can be present at the same time. When more than one is used in a win, the values are multiplied, so three of them equates to an x8 multiplier.
Each win, in all phases of the game, triggers the tumble feature. Here, winning symbols are removed to make way for new ones to tumble into the gaps. This can lead to more wins, and the process continues to tumble as long as new wins constantly form.
Tumbles lead to the next feature, a round of free spins. When 4 or more consecutive tumbles occur, 8 free spins are awarded. For each tumble past 4, an additional 2 free spins are added to the total, up to a maximum of 14. If on the triggering spin, or any free spins, there is a reel holding 7 symbols, it is locked at this height for the duration of the bonus. If reels are locked on the final free spin, then one more spin is added. The bonus round also uses a win multiplier that increases by +1 after a win with no upper limit. Also, should four consecutive tumbles in the bonus game occur, players win 4 extra free spins - each extra tumble past four adding 2 up to a max of 14.
Finally, where applicable, players may buy a batch of free spins. There are several price options, starting from 30x the bet for 6 free spins, up to 130x the bet for 10 free spins and one already locked reel.
Christmas Megaways: Slot Verdict
Let's start by acknowledging Christmas Megaways' gameplay isn't bad, it's actually quite good from a technical standpoint. In saying so, it's the same as Branded Megaways or Pirate Kingdom which came before it. If you liked those, and the pirate one was a something of a hit, then chances are you'll appreciate this. Then again, repeat performances in slots often fall flat, especially on the third outing. Mix in the sterile treatment of one of the jolliest times of the year, and Christmas Megaways struggles to be very exciting.
In many ways Christmas Megaways feels like exactly what it is. Someone, possibly the Grinch, thought it was enough to just fill in a few gaps on a template, and boom, there's a slot. The problem is it has ended up being as unimaginative as the title. Technically, players could find thrills here, but why would you when there are so many other Christmas themed slots that actually come across as a little heart-warming. This one feels about 100 degrees icier than Iron Dog's 1 Million Megaways BC which was set in the actual ice age when eggnog by a roaring indoor fire was a far off dream.
The Branded idea is an intriguing one, but judging by this effort, it seems operators are getting a better deal. It's great for them since they can customise games by bunging logos and whatnot on there. Not so hot for players, since what emerges is a soulless, cut and paste job. Slot painting by numbers if you will. Maybe we are being too harsh. Some players might like the toned-down Christmas approach, not to mention potential is massive at 40,000 times the bet.
Hey, it's early days with the Branded thing so who knows where it will go next. What's clear at the moment is that if Christmas Megaways doesn't outshine the cookie-cutter issue for you, then it's about as fun as being blazing hungover on Christmas Day in the company of annoying in-laws.
Christmas Megaways is a game that is long on polish and tuning, but short on innovation.