Lady Merlin Lightning Chase: Slot Overview
Powered by Relax Gaming, Lady Merlin Lighting Chase is a magically themed game from developer Boomerang. Flipping the Merlin legend on its head, the studio has turned the famous Arthurian wizard into a witch instead. She's also less interested in Arthur and his round table, preferring to focus instead on the arcane art of alchemy. What this means for players is loads of lightning via prize collect symbols, free spins, and Boomerang's Boom+ ante bet feature.
There's a sense of Fantasma Games about Lady Merlin Lightning Chase when it hits the screen. It's the restrained palette background, a sort of underworld feel that you find in a few Fantasma games, not to mention the strong fantasy streak. Lady Merlin Lightning Chase isn't located beneath the ground, but in a secluded forest, its game area set within a stone castle/wall type structure. There are clear links to other Boomerang games, too, as the studio strives to forge its identity. Lady Merlin, for one, shares the same big-eyed anime look Gems of Egypt had, and the overall atmosphere is similar to their Gargoyles Infinity Reels game.
The action occurs on a 5-reel grid arranged in a 3-4-3-4-3 configuration, producing 432 ways to win. Players have two modes to choose from via the Boom+ ante up feature. When disengaged, stakes from 25 p/c to £/€5 are available and volatile is set to medium. Activating Boom+ increases stakes to 40 p/c to £/€8, and volatile to medium-high. The benefit of doing so is that wild symbols get a significant upgrade, and more features become available. The RTP, meanwhile, also varies from a non-Boom+ value of 95.69% to a Boom+ value of 95.95%. Not a huge difference, but the effect on potential is quite extraordinary.
Wins hit in Lady Merlin when three matching symbols line up from left to right, starting at the first reel. Like most of these ante bet features, paying for the expensive option does not increase symbol values. We get 4 J-A tokens on the lower end of the paytable, then 5 variously coloured potions as the high pays, stored in bigger and more elaborate bottles. As to values, a five of a kind win made out of premium symbols is worth a payout of 3.6 to 10 times your stake.
Wilds are one of the main beneficiaries of the Boom+ feature. When turned off, wilds substitute for all symbols except the collect symbol. When activated, wilds substitute for the collect symbol and scatter as well. When wilds are used in a winning combination, the value is multiplied by their win multiplier. In the base game, this is x2 but grows during free spins. The last point, wilds appear on reels 2 and 4 only.
Lady Merlin Lightning Chase: Slot Features
To pile on the big bucks, players need to collect lightning coil symbols or trigger a batch of free spins. Lightning coils appear in any position, on any spin, displaying a bet multiplier of 1 to 100 times the stake. If they land at the same time as a collect symbol on reel 3 (or a wild with Boom+ engaged), all values in view are paid.
If 6 lightning coils land with no collect symbol, they are locked in place while 3 respins are awarded. If lightning symbols land on a respin, the counter is reset to 3 and the new symbols are locked in place. If a collect tile appears, all prizes are awarded, respins are rest to 3, and all positions are respun.
If Boom+ is active when 3 or more scatters (including wilds) land, 10 free spins are awarded. During the feature, scatters or wilds, add +1 to the wild multiplier value and award +1 extra free spin. In addition, free spins can be won from the base game at random, when no respin triggers or free spins feature is won from scatters. Just to be crystal clear, you can only trigger free spins when Boom+ is active.
Lady Merlin Lightning Chase: Slot Verdict
Boom+ is the big innovator in Lady Merlin, and there are mixed feelings about it. The irritating thing is you literally have to pay extra to access free spins and unlock the game's full potential. When the ante bet is engaged, you really notice the difference the juiced-up wild makes too. Some games with similar ante bet features are not quite so obvious. Boom+ definitely increases the enjoyment of the game but could well chew through a bankroll a lot faster.
Yet, Boom+ ends up making such a difference there is no point playing Lady Merlin Lightning Chase without it – for several reasons. Because the wild substitutes absolutely every symbol, you end up collecting a lot more lightning coils since you don't have to rely solely on the elusive collect symbol. Let's say it one more time, Boom+ allows wilds to sub for the scatter and is the only way to trigger free spins. Interestingly, the mathematicians at Boomerang have adjusted the price of Boom+ such that the RTP is relatively the same, meaning over time, players will collect the same amount of cash no matter what mode they choose. However, on an individual basis, Boom+ has an enormous effect on max win possibilities. With Boom+ switched off, the most you can win is 3,808x the stake. When active, this figure balloons to 25,600x the bet, making the lesser option somewhat pointless.
Lady Merlin Lightning Chase ends up being an interesting addition to the Boomerang lineup, yet a frustrating one as well. There are a few positives, the game looks quite nice, the features have a flow, and the potential is impressive. Do they outweigh the controversy, though? They are only really good if you are willing to pay for the expensive version. Some players might find that a slap in the face.
Lady Merlin serves up som decent fantasy-themed gaming that can get wild if you’re willing to pay extra for the privilege.