Frozen Gems: Slot Overview
Developer Play'n GO turns the temperature down once again for an icy themed slot titled Frozen Gems. The name relates in part to the shiny stones making up half the paytable, in part to the way bonus symbols thaw their way enter the action. When they do, players benefit from wilds and splitting symbols which expand reels as well as the default 243 win ways up to 8,748. Play'n GO has tinkered with this idea in several slots in the past that haven’t exactly lit the iGaming world alight, will Frozen Gems fare any better?
Bringing back memories of Ice Joker, Play'n GO has stuck to the wintery theme, surrounding the default 5-reel game area with plenty of icy imagery. It’s a little difficult to make out exactly where you are. Obviously, it’s some sort of cave, like a mine, but there is an underwater feeling as well which adds a touch of claustrophobia. Gemstones litter the screen, stuck to walls in a raw form while the refined versions turn up on the reels. A bit of gold trim adorns the grid, yet these aren’t exactly Play'n GO’s best graphics - we’ve definitely experienced more visually impactful slots from the studio.
Gem collecting takes place on mobile, tablet, or desktop devices, by selecting a wager from 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin. The game isn’t exactly a hugely volatile one, but a medium/high rating of 7 out of 10 means it can throw the odd curveball or two. Potential is unusually high for Play'n GO, so there are rewards when the game goes on one of its positive benders, growing reels, tossing in multipliers and whatnot. Beware of a floating RTP which fluctuates at the individual operator’s whim. The default version is the one you want where the RTP is 96.34%, dropping to 94.34% or even less depending on jurisdiction and casino.
Wins hit in Frozen Gems when at least three matching symbols land left to right from the first reel onwards. When this happens, the cascade system kicks in, possibly snowballing into several other features. You’ll appreciate any help you can get too since individual wins are lower than usual. Pay symbols begin with 10 to A card royals where five of a kind will win you 0.3 to 0.5 times the bet. Better, though not a much better, value is found in the four gemstones coloured green, purple, red, and orange - five of these symbols are worth a payout of 0.65x to 1x the bet. The wild symbol is worth a bit more at 2.5x the bet for five of a kind. It also substitutes for any regular pay to pull together a combination.
Frozen Gems: Slot Features
Key to Frozen Gems is the frosty horizontal reel running across the top. Five bonus symbols are held there which come into play as players land winning combinations. On each spin, the bonus reel will carry the following combinations:
- Two x2 splitting wilds, along with one wild and two x3 splitting symbols.
- Two x2 splitting wilds, along with two wilds and one x3 splitting symbol.
Now, if 3 consecutive winning symbols appear on a reel in the same sequence, then the respective bonus symbols above them thaw and apply their modifier, like so:
- Wild – turns all positions on the reel into wilds, except scatters.
- x2 Splitting Symbol – divides all symbols except scatters on the reel into 2 symbols.
- x3 Splitting Symbol – divides all symbols except scatters on the reel into 3 symbols.
At most, there can be up 8,748 ways to win when the maximum number of symbols have been split with the help of the splitting modifiers. Moreover, every win triggers the cascade feature which removes winning symbols from the grid, letting new ones in for another chance. The game also comes with a win multiplier starting at x1, in all phases of the game. Following each cascade, the multiplier increases by +1 where there is no limit set on how high it can get.
The final feature is 9 free spins, awarded when 3 scatters are in view, along with an x5 bet win. Any extra scatter on the reels awards an additional 5x prize, keep in mind these scatter wins are not affected by the win multiplier. Whatever the win multiplier was on the triggering spin is carried over to start the round off. The key benefit here is that the win multiplier never resets as it does during the main game. Should scatter symbols land, each one awards +1 free spin. Like the multiplier there is no limit.
Frozen Gems: Slot Verdict
In a sense, Frozen Gems takes over where Perfect Gems left off. While the splitting mechanic is entertaining, it seems the developer hasn’t quite pulled off a major game changer using them. It should be mentioned that the competition in this particular category is fierce, and many providers have been experimenting with various approaches on how to present expanding reels and win ways to players for quite some time now.
Frozen Gems is neither worse, nor significantly better than its predecessor. The gameplay is kind of interesting, but the splitting symbol/expanding reel concept is being done elsewhere to better effect. Avatar UX’s PopWins range instantly springs to mind as a competitor who is blazing away in this field as do Yggdrasil's Splitz mechanic. Not trying to disparage Frozen Gems here, some may prefer the more traditional looking setup. Yet if its big thrills and even bigger potential you’re after, then slots running PopWins blows it out of the water.
Speaking of potential, Frozen Gems come with one of Play'n GO’s higher rewards. They’ve doubled the usual figure to provide payouts of up to 10,000 times the stake. When symbol values are this low, an obscene number of x2 or x3 splitting symbols will need to come into play. In saying that, the ever-present win multiplier is a surprisingly welcome addition. It’s not a freak occurrence, but it’s not every day you see one outside of a bonus game.
When you sum everything up, Frozen Gems manages to come across as something a little different. It doesn’t feel like a breakthrough slot though, more of an oddity which may delight some players as much as it leaves others feeling cold.
It may not take the expanding win ways genre to the next level, but Frozen Gems is a solid follow-up on its predecessor nonetheless.