Derby Wheel: Slot Overview
According to historians, people have been gambling in one form or another for thousands of years. Some say betting has been mentioned in places as diverse as the ancient Indian texts of the Ramayana to a possible early lottery in the Chinese Book of Songs, to the dice games of Ancient Rome and Greece. And so, we come to Derby Wheel from Swedish software developer Play’n GO which combines three forms of placing a wager – horse racing, money wheel action, and online slot gaming.
The studio has rolled all three into a gameshow type experience which begins with the online slot part. An exceptionally simple game, Derby Wheel is played on a 3-reel, 3-row matrix, with the dual goals of landing three of a kind wins and hitting enough scatter symbols to unlock its two bonus rounds. Play’n GO has pulled out a few stops to make Derby Wheel an extravagant looking experience, as players get 3D technology for much of the time, helping to give the game a pulsating Who Wants to Be a Millionaire quality.
Unlike a physical wheel spinning in a casino or watching horses gallop around a track, Derby Wheel is not a live experience but one governed by an RNG. It comes with a variety of RTP settings from 96.2% or lower, depending on the market, and while overall volatility has been rated by the studio as high (7/10), players have some control if and when they trigger the main Horse Racing feature. All devices are suitable for playing Derby Wheel, with stakes varying from 5 p/c up to £/€100 per paid game round.
For the slotting side of things, players are equipped with 5 paylines to land three of a kind winning combinations on. Just five regular pay symbols appear on the reels – lemons, cherries, plums, BARs, and 7s. When forming a win from these symbols, payouts of 1 to 5 times the stake are generated. You won’t find a wild symbol when playing Derby Wheel, but there is a scatter which is used to unlock both of the bonus rounds.
Derby Wheel: Slot Features
Derby Wheel comes with two bonus rounds, each one triggered in the same way. The bonus process begins when 3 scatter symbols land in the base game to activate the Fortune Wheel. This wheel is split into two segments – Horse Racing and Big Wheel, so once it stops spinning, one of these bonus rounds is randomly awarded.
This bonus can either be won from the wheel as described above or from the Big Wheel, which is covered next. Either way, the rules are the same. There are 4 horses in a race, and players can choose one of 4 options for this feature:
- No Bet (guaranteed payout): Pick no horse and win up to 50x the bet.
- Win (low volatility): Pick the winning horse to win up to 800x the bet.
- Exacta (medium volatility): Pick the 1st and 2nd horse in exact order to win up to 1,800x the bet.
- Trifecta (high volatility): Pick the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd horse in the exact order to win up to 2,800x the bet.
This bonus round can only be won when 3 scatters land to trigger the Fortune Wheel. Here, players get one spin on the Big Wheel to win multipliers. Here it is possible to also activate the Horse Racing feature.
Derby Wheel: Slot Verdict
Derby Wheel might not be the ‘best show this year’, as it’s been billed, but it is a little different and should have enough of the goods to entertain certain audience members. It’s a simple, flashy, easy to play game that mixes bits of horse racing, prize wheel suspense, and some basic online slot gaming. It is a bit thin, especially on the slot side of things, which means it might run out of steam before long, though the flashy 3D production values are there to help maintain player enthusiasm. Derby Wheel has an over-the-top game show element, yet it does lack a certain level of depth found in online slots like those in Who Wants to be a Millionaire range, or Deal or No Deal, as a comparison.
Arguably, Derby Wheel’s pinnacle is its Horse Racing feature. Would it have been better if Play’n GO had done away with the base game altogether and made it a straight betting game? Some may think so but having to be patient does build suspense for when the Fortune Wheel does eventually trigger. The main game is pacey, and the flash environs cushion the wait; plus, having a 5 p/c entry level is sure to be a welcome option. While the betting slip-type feature provides a taste of a day at the track, there are more immersive options out there. NetEnt‘s Scudamore’s Super Stakes, for example, dives deeper into the theme, as does iSoftBet‘s Racetrack Riches Megaboard with its actual race around a track bonus round.
There’s that saying in life that trying to please everyone ends up pleasing no one. There is a touch of this going on in Derby Wheel, which does offer several things, but none of them in an overly exceptional way. Certainly, there are bigger money wheel games, slots, and horse racing opportunities out there. Still, few pull them all together into one place like Derby Wheel does, so its unique form of glitzy entertainment gives players with a horse racing bent something unique to try their luck with.
There’s a thinness about Derby Wheel, despite it mixing several gambling elements into one, though horse racing fans might be tempted to take a punt.