Jewel of the Dragon: Overview
The folks at Bally seem to have a thing for dragons with several of their slots using the beasts for themes. Jewel of the Dragon possesses a friendly dragon, with a childish cartoon look that might make some people cringe. It also has several extra features rammed in that don't specifically fit with the theme. But, if they help cobble together more wins, that can be excused. Whether they make much of an impact is debatable, but it's nice to see something different being used. Apologies in advance, expect a pretty low key review. Jewel of the Dragon is one of those slots that fails to arouse much emotion, whether that is excitement from a thrilling ride or rising blood pressure from an insult of a game. Still, it does have a certain pleasing look to it, so let's crack on.
Providing some depth is the fact that Jewel of the Dragon is another slot that you can find wired into the Mega Drop network. Its pleasant appearance is produced predominantly by the bright visuals and main character. The grinning happy dragon sitting atop a mountain of treasure has that goofy Pete's Dragon look to him which is disarming. Not exactly in line with the guidelines that say games should not be aimed towards young people.
The soundtrack is a bit different too; a sort symphony plods along in the background adding a touch of drama. The overall visceral effect isn't exactly exciting, but it does enough to tempt a spin or two. Due to the 40 paylines bet levels can be set from 10 p/c up £/€400 per manual or auto spin, and away you go.
With a set up of 5 reels and 4 rows of symbols on each, winning combinations are formed by three of a kind symbols while five of a kind land quite regularly. That being the case, you can expect low values for combinations. Card royals 9 – A make up the bottom half of the paytable, followed by a random trio of high pay symbols. There is a bell with Celtic design, a crown, and a dollar sign shield. They all have the same value of 1.87 times the stake for five of a kind, which means the base game is about exciting as letting out a good sigh. But there are a few features which go some way to mitigating that. Not quite far enough but.
The lack of main game thrills gave the game a low volatility feel, though some okay returns during free spins probably puts it the medium category overall. Either way, don't expect much of a roller coaster. It's more like that mechanical pirate ship at the fairground that goes safely back and forward that your grandmother would be happy to ride. Like other slots in the Mega Drop family, the RTP when not connected to the progressive jackpots is 94.07%. No official word on the RTP with the Mega Drop hooked up, but over 96% is typically the norm in that situation.
Jewel of the Dragon: Features
There are quite a few extras bolted on, including zoning features, various forms of wilds, plus a free spins round. The Hot Zone feature is probably one of the most original aspects of Jewel of the Dragon. How this works is that Tetris style shapes glide over the screen. If they stop on the reels, then every position they cover turns into a wild symbol.
Then there is the Dragon Nudge feature which integrates with the Hot Zones. If certain shapes appear completely outside the reels, then the dragon nudges them onto the reels to bring them into play.
To help you form winning combinations, three different Wilds can all substitute for other pay symbols - 5 on a payline payout 2.5 times the stake. The other nonstandard wilds – the Wild Diamond and Bonus Wild do the same thing, but they also play a part in the feature they are named after. For example, the wild diamond works with the diamond symbol, so if 3 are in view, they trigger the Drop Zone Bonus feature. Here, the player chooses one of three diamonds to reveal a shape, say, a 2x2 square. This square drops onto the reels and transforms any symbols it covers into wilds.
The bonus wild works with the bonus symbol and 3 or more in view award 8 Free Spins. Wilds remain sticky during free spins, but bonus symbols, the diamond feature, the drop zone bonus, and the dragon nudge are conspicuously absent from the round.
Jewel of the Dragon: Verdict
Jewel of the Dragon is yet another Bally title that makes absolutely no sense to play unless it is plugged into the progressive jackpot network. Indeed, you get a significantly lower RTP, but without the jackpots, there's essentially no potential to speak of.
The base game ticks along at an infuriating slow rate and very little happens despite the wealth of features. The Hot Zone idea is not new in the world of iGaming and it isn't all that bad, but it rarely leads to substantial rewards due to low symbol value, and the execution is off. What we mean by this is that paylines light up with wins before the Hot Zone shape has landed on the grid and transformed symbols to wilds. It's only off by a split second, but any suspense it could have built is totally negated.
Jewel of the Dragon is a fairly pleasant looking slot that produces more moments of calm than of excitement. It is one of those colourful slots that flesh out a casino catalogue to tempt recreational punters with the Mega Drop and colorful visuals that offers an escape to a happy world. There are quite a few dragon-themed slots out at the moment, and Jewel of the Dragon fails to make any impact whatsoever against them. Casual spinners might enjoy its gentle nature and the allure of its jackpots. Anyone else looking for a game with a bit of bite will fail to find it with this lame-duck dragon.
Jewel of the Dragon is another place holder slot for the Mega Drop progressive jackpot that offers little on its own to warrant playing.