John Hunter and the Book of Tut: Overview
Hear the words 'Book of' in relation to slots and it is hard not to bring up images of the legendary Novomatic game Book of Ra that started the phenomenon off. This effect has not been lost on the team at Pragmatic Play since the fourth instalment in their John Hunter series is a very close copy. It's not the first time they've gone down this route, however, as we've seen with Ancient Egypt Classic, so let's flick open another Book of Ra inspired slot and see what we've got.
It has to be said that the visuals are a marked improvement over the original. After more than a decade of technological advancement, you would expect something easier on the eyes. John Hunter and the Book of Tut doesn’t disappoint. The 5-reel, 3-row grid is located in the middle of a bright sunny desert, with pyramids off in the distance. John Hunter is back after his travels to South America and Italy, sporting his fedora hat and steely-eyed gaze like Indiana Jones remade for the Hallmark Channel. Pick a bet from 10 p/c to £/€100 per spin and it's time to Ra, sorry, Tut!
The background image may have had an upgrade, but the action on the reels retains a classic feel. For one, the way the 10 paylines light up whenever a winner lands - which happens when at least two premiums or three low pay symbols land. Also, a Ra-ish jingle plays with each spin which can sound quite funny when you play the game in turbo mode.
Just as the original, the base game offers little more than collecting the odd winner while waiting for the mighty book symbol to turn up. Symbol values are the same as well and include low pay 10-A royals that have little icons printed on them for decoration. With the high pays, Pragmatic has used a scarab, a cat, Tut, and John Hunter as the most valuable at 500 times the stake for five of a kind.
Unsurprisingly, the math model is highly volatile, garnering a full 5/5 rating in Pragmatic's lightning bolt volatility meter. The 96.5% RTP, meanwhile, is one of the most generous we've seen in any Book slot so far. However, this is the default setting and may be much lower depending on where you're playing. Just to compare, you get a 96.21% RTP in Book of Dead whilst Book of Ra Deluxe is significantly lower at 95.10%. If you're looking for a Book slot with high RTP, Book of Atem from All41Studios is pretty decent at 96.45%.
John Hunter and the Book of Tut: Features
Another aspect that has remained the same is the features and around here the book symbol is king. It has two tasks as it doubles as both wild and scatter symbol. As a wild, the book can substitute for any of the symbols on the paytable to line up a winner. As a scatter, if 3 or more books appear on the reels then players are awarded 10 free spins. Sweetening the deal further is that those 3, 4, or 5 book symbols bring with them payouts of 2x, 20x, or 200x the stake to kick the bonus game off with.
Before Free Spins begin, a book is opened and one of the regular pay symbols is selected at random. During free spins, when this special symbols appear on the reels, it expands to cover a full reel. Whilst you need 3 low pay symbols to trigger a payout, you only need 2 premiums to do so. The best part is that this happens even if they are not adjacent to each other. Moreover, the bonus game can be extended too since book symbols remain in play and 3 or more award 10 more free sins without limit.
John Hunter and the Book of Tut: Verdict
Obviously, John Hunter and the Book of Tut is basically another Book of Ra clone. There are some slight mathematical alterations that ensure it's not a 100% carbon copy. For example, you get a slightly higher RTP rating to lower the house edge, which is always nice.
Fans of the original will also be happy to know that what made the original great has transferred over to John Hunter and the Book of Tut. The base game is fairly humdrum, but the genius of the bonus game remains where the pay anywhere expanding special symbols work their magic. From nowhere, a full grid of symbols can hit and all of a sudden it's game on.
Of course, that can happen in other slots, but the special symbol’s properties improve the chance of that happening - and it's as fun as ever when it does. Potential is 5,000 times the stake, which might seem a modest figure coming from Pragmatic, but it is an achievable one by getting five expanding John Hunters on a free spin.
At the end of a hot, dusty day, what can you say? John Hunter and the Book of Tut serves up a solid dose of Egyptian themed gaming. The good news is that Pragmatic Play has arguably enhanced the Book of Ra experience through the improved visuals and stronger stats. It's hard to see players embracing this as their go-to Book slot for the simple reason that both Book of Ra Deluxe and Book of Dead have such a strong "cultural" status, for the lack of a better word, in this industry. With that said, the bonus game is as enjoyable as ever and fans of the first won't be disappointed.
Game title: John Hunter and the Book of Tut
● Reels: 5
● Rows: 3
● Paylines: 10
● RTP: 96.5%
● Max Payout: 5,000x
● Volatility: H (5/5)
● Bets: 0.10 - 100 EUR
● Features: Free Spins with special expanding symbol
● Release Date: May 14, 2020