Do you remember when WMS was a respected developer creating some of the best slots ever made? Remember Montezuma and Raging Rhino? That was a long time ago. Nowadays, this former American pinball producing company is owned by SG Gaming, and it's been on a steady decline ever since. It's hard to remember when they last came up with a decent slot, so when we heard the news of WMS releasing a branded slot we didn't accept to review it because we thought it was going to be great, we already had a feeling it wouldn't, but because the branding itself might attract some interest. After all, that's how we single out slots to review since we can't possibly review them all.
The first thing you will notice when firing up this thing is the somewhat unusual design. You have the reel set in the middle of the screen, which seems unnecessarily small, and a whole lot of space on the sides. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that it's based on the physical cabinet machine version that's been around for a few years now. The group photo on top of the reel set serves as a "tv-screen" where you'll see cutscenes from the series as well as an interactive bonus wheel.
As exciting as it may seem to some, the setup is nothing out of the ordinary. This is a 5-reel, 4-row slot with 40 fixed paylines. Players can bet between €0.50 and €100, making it unsuitable for many low-rollers unfortunately although they're not really missing out on anything. It comes with loads of features, and we'll go through them all one by one, but the developers have definitely overworked things here even if the focus is more on entertainment rather than potential.
As you would expect, the original theme "I'll Be There For You" by Rembrandts is playing on loop in the background. It's an instrumental version so you'll be able to sing along to it whilst losing your money. We found it a bit exhausting after a few minutes, however, and had to turn down the volume. Maybe we're just getting old.
Visually, it's quite mediocre. You have the New York skyline serving as backdrop and the gameplay itself is a bit choppy as you have to wait a second between every spin. Particularly annoying as it also happens with every single low paying win which you can't skip past.
Friends Symbols & Paytable
Symbols on the reels include a Central Perk coffee cup, Phoebe's acoustic guitar, the Central Perk coffee house logo, Joey's ducks, the turkey Monica once wore on her head, Monica & Chandler talking on the phone, Ross & Rachel making out, the three guys (Joey, Chandler and Ross), all three ladies (Monica, Phoebe and Rachel) and all six cast members. The latter is the most lucrative giving you 0.80 times the stake for 5 on a payline.
A wild symbol is also included represented by all the Friends which replaces all symbols except the Bonus Wheel symbols and the Jackpot Wild. 5 wilds on a payline will give you 10 times your stake. Should you land a full stack of Jackpot Wild symbols on reels 2, 3 and 4, you will trigger the 2000x Jackpot.
There is also a Mystery Stacks feature that comes into play in both the base game and the free spin features. What it does is that it acts as a replacement symbol to enhance the winning potential. Since the main game potential is excruciatingly low, however, you will barely even notice a difference.
Friends Slot Features
If you decide to play this awful slot you need to understand that you will have to trigger the Bonus Wheel to be able to get anything out of it at all. Now, landing the fully stacked Bonus Wheel symbols on the three middle reels required to trigger the wheel is not easy, and it often took us a ridiculous amount of spins. Even then you're not guaranteed to get a bonus has half of the entries on the wheel are nonsense cash prizes. If you do, however, this is what you can look forward to:
- Thanksgiving Bonus - 10 free spins with a x3 multiplier.
- Wedding Bonus - 10 free spins with sticky wilds.
- Party Bonus - 11 free spins with walking wilds that expand to cover one or two reels.
- Bamboozled Bonus - Picking bonus with potential to trigger a 2000x jackpot.
While the show was great, the slot is most definitely not. Some review sites will likely recommend all fans of Friends to "give it a try", but we say hell no. If you're a fan, save your money and by a Rachel poster or a Friends coffee cup. Don't even think about giving it a spin unless you desperately want to sing along to the instrumental, which you can do in demo mode.
The game is choppy, slow and the payouts are weak to say the least. There is no single good reason to play this awful thing, neither as an online slot or in a live casino environment. I guess you could say we're no friends of Friends.
Torture on reels.