Joker Megaways: Overview
The brains behind Joker Megaways is the UK based developer Games Inc who is a bit of a dark horse in the industry. Despite having formed in 2012, the team hasn’t exactly been up to much with a rather empty back catalogue and a website that is still under construction. What we do know is that they recently hooked up with Relax Gaming - a partnership has come with two benefits.
The first is access to Relax Gaming’s platform and thus their Megaways license, the second is a taskmaster who was quick to crack a whip and get them working. Now the British studio has a couple of ambitious games coming up with the Vegas-style Joker Megaways the first off the production line.
The first reaction was to question pairing Megaways with a somewhat limited genre although it has been tried before in Super Wild Megaways by Stakelogic. Then again, these fruity themed slots are rather popular in the UK which Games Inc may very well be tapping into. Another anomaly is that the game engine is synonymous with big reel setups, while Joker Megaways comes with just 3 reels. The number of symbols on each reel changes from 2-8 with each spin, but the number of Megaways is severely diminished. Win ways vary from 8 to a modest maximum of 512 when all 3 reels are maxed with symbols.
Games Inc has made it possible for players with a wide range of bankroll requirements to get involved. Low rollers will enjoy the 10 p/c entry point, while higher rollers can up the ante to £/€100 per spin. RTP is on the higher side of average, which is nice to see at 96.56% and the math model runs on a highly volatile setting. In other words, most of the potential is allocated to the free spins game. The good news is that players may also find Joker Megawats with a Buy Bonus option to skip the base game.
Another surprise is that Games Inc has axed the cascade functionality. When a win hits, whether in the base or bonus game, it pays out and nothing more. It's a little strange when that first happens, as you kind of expect the symbol explosion and tumble that usually occurs. Strangely, after a while, it is easy to forget about the feature altogether thanks to the quick pace and simple gameplay of the classic 3x3 genre.
A typical fruit bowl of symbols makes up the paytable such as cherries, lemons, plums, grapes, and watermelons. These are followed by bells, and stars as the two premium symbols. Only combinations of 3 are possible, and values range from 0.2x the stake on the low end, up to 5 times your stake for three stars. There is no wild during the main game, but one does pop up during the bonus round where the game shines and the full potential can be unleashed.
Joker Megaways: Features
During the base game, the only extra is a 50/50 Gamble feature which is available after wins. With it, players can either collect the win or select the red heart button or the blue spade button. If the guess is correct the win is doubled, or if incorrect, the win is forfeit. Players can continue gambling up to a maximum of 8 times or up to wins of 500 times the total bet. One key point is that the gamble feature does not appear when auto-spins are active.
The symbol you want is the joker tile and when 3 land simultaneously on reels 1, 2, and 3 they award 10 Free Spins. During free spins, the joker symbol becomes wild and can substitute for any other symbol. Free spins also come with a progressive multiplier that starts at 1x and increases by +1 with every joker symbol that land. Also, should jokers land again on reels 1, 2, and 3 they award another 10 free spins while increasing the multiplier.
The final feature for non-UK based gamers is the Bonus Buy option. For a cost of 100 times your stake, you're guaranteed 3 jokers on the next spin which will trigger the free spins round.
Joker Megaways: Verdict
In a pleasant surprise, Joker Megaways smashed expectations which were admittedly a bit low. At first, there was a measure of apprehension over test driving yet another Vegas-style game. There was also some doubt over what a diminished Megaways setup could bring to the party. In particular, the decision to axe cascades which is a central feature of pretty much every other slot that uses the Megaways engine. It means that the base game can feel like a plain old fruit slot, albeit with fluctuating rows and win ways.
Then there is the bonus game, and out of the blue, Joker Megaways can get surprisingly good. Since there are no cascades, it was intriguing to see how the unlimited win multiplier would work, but plenty of joker symbols appeared to help make up the difference. If you can get the multiplier to consistently build, things can get quite interesting indeed. How interesting? Potential is high, and Games Inc state wins of up to 10,000 times your stake are possible.
Okay who really needed another Vegas/fruit slot in their life? But hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. It might have taken a while for Games Inc to creep into action, but Joker Megaways isn’t a bad debut. For one, the build quality is high, with decent graphics, and smooth animations that lead into the juicy features.
Joker Megaways is neither your typical fruit slot nor your typical Megaways slot either. The developer has managed to take some of the best elements of the two and meld them both into something rather enjoyable. Thanks to a promising bonus game, if you are after a fruit salad with a bit more kick, then Joker Megaways might be worth checking out.