Druids’ Dream (NetEnt): Overview
Druids’ Dream is the latest Celtic themed slot from Swedish developers NetEnt. Interestingly, key competitors in this category include NetEnt's own classic Secret of the Stones and the recent version which received a MAX makeover. You can never have too much of a good thing, so the saying goes, and fans of the mystical way of life have one more alternative to choose. In tone and gameplay, Druids’ Dream presents quite a different holistic experience. Is it any good? Let's break out the chanting and find out.
Right from the bat, it becomes clear that this is a more of a budget production and not quite the high quality slot we're used to coming from NetEnt. It's not all that bad though. The 5 reel, 4 row grid has been crafted in a cracked stone style and sits before a great, glowing tree that waves gently in the breeze. The deep wood vibe permeates the scene and is capped off with a relaxing tune. Budding druids with a range of bankroll requirements are well served with bets from 20 p/c to £/€400 per spin. Payouts happen by landing combinations of at least three of a kind on one of the 40 fixed paylines. What increases the odds of that happening is that the game pays both ways – left to right, and right to left, with the highest combination on a line paying out. The math model is an interesting one. Despite an RTP of 96% and a low-medium setting, it can take a while for anything interesting to happen. Scatters can be few and far between, for example. Patience was a prized virtue for the druids. Catch Druids’ Dream on a lull, and it can test even the most stoic among them.
The paytable symbols that NetEnt has provided are all new to the game and inspired by the naturalistic theme. There are four low pays which are blue, green, yellow and red shimmering rune stones. The premiums are made up of an orange gourd or rock, a bear print drum, an owl, and a wolf. Symbol values are relatively low across the board. For example, the wolf pays out 5 times the stake for a line of five. Winning both ways does compensate to an extent but don't expect miracles in the payout department.
Druids’ Dream (NetEnt): Features
The extras on hand rely heavily on wilds so that's what we'll look at here. Their basic property is to substitute for any of the regular pay symbols to help form winning lines. Wilds appear as single symbols on reels 1, 3, and 5 during the base game, reel 3 during respins, and reels 1 and 5 during the free spins round. As well as that they appear stacked on reels 2 and 4 during the base game and respins, or on reel 3 during free spins.
The male and female druids are two of the scatter symbols. The man appears on reel 2, and the lady on reel 4. They can land at the bottom of a wild stack on reel 2, or the top of a wild stack on reel 4. When that happens, the reel becomes charged and locked into place. Then, the number of wilds in the charged stack is the number of Respins that are awarded. During respins, if a new stack of wilds lands on reel 2 or 4 without a scatter, it activates the Nudge feature on the next respin. This provides an extra chance to score that second scatter.
If the male and female scatters do appear simultaneously they trigger 6 Free Spins. Each wild present on reels 2 and 4 when this happens adds one additional free spin. The game makes all of the wilds and scatters that triggered the round sticky wilds for the duration of the feature. One last aspect of the bonus game is that wild stacks can appear with bear scatter symbols on reel 3. If the bear lands then 3 more free spins are added to the tally.
Druids’ Dream (NetEnt): Verdict
Druids’ Dream was one of those games that provoked little emotional response and left a somewhat empty feeling when it was over. No doubt there are nature lovers, and even the odd Druid out there who are more than happy to lose themselves in the mystical forest NetEnt has created. If that's not you, it's tough to recommend Druids’ Dream. It doesn't do anything overly exciting with its features, the potential is nothing to write home about, and it's a real dig to find something positive to get excited about.
For the sake of balance though, the outer wrapper is nice; the animated forest has a certain mystical quality to it, and the features are fairly well thought out. It would be a better game if they dropped more, or if a random feature was added to spice up the gameplay. Regular pay symbols can land stacked and it's possible to fill the grid with matching symbols - this comes close tantalisingly often. Unfortunately, they don't pay a whole lot when that does happen, so the thrill of accomplishment is blunted by the chump change reward for doing so.
If this is what druids used to dream about then good luck trying to rope in new acolytes to the creed. It will be tough for rocks, trees, and moss, to compete with smartphones, apps, and Tinder. Druidism does have a certain gentle, relaxing appeal, an escape from the rushed fast-paced world we live in. That sleepy, gentle vibe doesn't always cross over well to a slot though. Play the game too long and you'll be nodding off into your own dream world, whether that includes druids or not is a personal matter. You could say that Druids’ Dream would suit laid back players who rate atmosphere over intense gaming and potential. Anyone else intrigued by the subject matter but want to go large would do better firing up Secret of the Stones MAX.
Druids’ Dream is a sleepy Celtic themed slot that is rich on atmosphere, but low on thrills and potential.