Gems of Egypt Connecta Ways: Overview
While the look is familiar, Boomerang Studios has been brave by test running a couple of things you don’t often see in the egyptian themed category. One is the unusual slot layout found in Gems of Egypt, made even more unorthodox by the new and ever-shifting in-house developed Dynamic Reels feature.
Boomerang place emphasis on designing games for the Asian market which might explain the wide-eyed Manga Cleopatra that greets players when the game loads. Typically, Cleopatra is presented in an aloof, regal manner. Here she’s all leggy and chesty, with a sort of Asuna Yuuki look about her. No matter, this is gambling, not Gibbon so no need to get all academic about it.
Once in the game there is no doubt where we’ve landed. The unusual, panpipes shaped slot sits outside a temple or palace, guarded by two handsome Sphinx-like characters. The background image is a good one, familiar for Egypt fans to feel at home, yet individual enough to make a striking first impression. To the top left is the logo which Boomerang has styled using the Pricedown font borrowed straight from Grand Theft Auto. Once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.
Playable from 25 p/c to £/€35 per spin, Gems of Egypt’s math model produces a bunch of solid and not so solid numbers. One of the not so great is an RTP of 95.6% which might be enough to give players pause. The medium-high volatility favours harder-edged gamblers perhaps, but wins and bonuses appear more often than you might expect. Free spins, for example, have a hit frequency of once in 112 spins, theoretically.
Boomerang has trundled out their Connecta Ways mechanic to score wins on. This isn’t the first time we’ve come across it. A previous game, Wild Joker Stacks, used the mechanic as well. Where that one maxed out at 99 Connecta Ways, Gems of Egypt provides up to 961 ways to win when fully expanded. Connecta is a system where winning symbols can land in any row, as long as they are adjacent and connecting.
The symbols used in the game are not your typical Egyptian slot icons. There are no card royals or gods, which feels a little odd at first. On the low side are 4 stones of various colours – all with the same value, followed by four polished gems set in gold bands. Each symbol type pays out when at least three of a kind land, except the big diamond which only needs two. If a line of six diamonds land, players pick up a reward of 10x the stake. There is a wild symbol, the doe-eyed Cleopatra, appearing on reels 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. It isn’t worth anything on its own. Instead, it substitutes for all symbols except the scatter.
Gems of Egypt Connecta Ways: Features
As well as the scatter symbol triggering free spins, players get Dynamic Reels jazzing up a session. Dynamic Reels are active on every single spin, where each reel grows or shrinks to a different height. Each reel will always be 1 symbol bigger or smaller than the reel on the left.
As you can see from the screenshot, reels all have different maximum heights ranging from 2 to 10 – from left to right. In many ways, Dynamic Reels is similar to what WMS did with the shifting curtain feature in Spartacus Megaways. Except, on a smaller scale and less annoying during the bonus game.
The bonus game in Gems of Egypt is a round of free spins triggered when 3 or more scarab scatter symbols are in view. As well as 8 free spins, players get a payout of 5x, 20x, 75x, or 100x when 3, 4, 5, or 6 scarabs land.
Not much changes during free spins except wilds are stacked on reels 2 to 6. Also, free spins can be won again during the bonus game. The final point is that free spins may be randomly awarded on any paid spin without the need for scatters.
Gems of Egypt Connecta Ways: Verdict
This is the first time Boomerang has taken on the venerable Egyptian theme and have brought a measure of originality to it. Gems of Egypt might not be to everyone’s taste, but kudos for not going straight to Book of Ra for inspiration. Egypt fans looking for something with a touch of originality in the scorching sands might be up for a spin. Other than that, Gems of Egypt isn’t a must-see, despite the new Dynamic Reels feature.
Dynamic Reels does provide some suspense, changing on every spin as they do. However, they are often more frustrating because of what they deny than exciting by what they reveal. At least you aren’t teased by what’s going on underneath the reel covers which happens in some games.
Occasionally they’ll open the board, lighting up a decent hit when the extra win ways and symbols are accessible. More often than not, you’ll have to wait for free spins for that to happen - helped by a stack of Cleopatra wilds. Free spins are where you’ll also have the chance of hitting the games full potential of 4,818 times the stake. Another positive is the reasonable frequency of free spins.
All up, Gems of Egypt kind of ends up missing more than it hits. Still, Boomerang has made something different for the crowded Egyptian slot genre, so it’s hard to knock them too hard for that.