Magic Journey (Pragmatic Play): Overview
Magic Journey is half of the latest Asian themed double act to come from developer Pragmatic Play - the other one being Money Mouse which offers a completely different style of slot altogether. Magic Journey manages to present some unique gameplay which needs a couple of spins to work out what is going on. It's not actually as complicated as it first appears to be, quite the opposite. While some Asian themed slots have gone for complexity, Magic Journey has taken the opposite track. It is very simple, has a fast pace to it, and uses bright symbols lifted right from the theme.
When it comes to visual appearance, Magic Journey is loosely based on one of China's most famous novels, Journey to the West. This is a classic tale of enlightenment full of animal/human characters. It is best known in the West from its TV adaptation Monkey, which emphasised Kung Fu moves over enlightenment. It's this more light-hearted approach we get with Magic Journey.
Five yellow lightning bolts on the home page alert players to the fact that this game is as volatile as it gets from Pragmatic Play. The fast pace at which the game is played is helped by there being no bonus features to interrupt the flow. RTP is on the respectable side at 96.54% (although it can be lower at some casinos), and bets cost 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin. The graphic standard is above average, and the unusual set up is located in a green-tiled pagoda style structure. The background is a classic Asian image of mountains, golden skies, and plenty of natural beauty.
The game area undoubtedly stands out as different and is made up of a 3x3 grid. You would assume that the grid spins at first glance, but doesn't. Moreover, there's also an extra row across the bottom, which would make sense as a bonus reel. Again, incorrect on both counts. So how exactly does this thing work?
Magic Journey (Pragmatic Play): Features
The gameplay itself really is the feature as there is nothing more to it. No wilds, no scatters, no free spins, no bonus game to get in the way. How it works is that the 3x3 grid, which is known as the scorecard, has each of the 9 positions populated by a different character from the Journey to the West story. This grid does not spin, but remains completely static throughout the whole game. Beneath this, is a horizontal 1x5 row along the bottom of the game area which does spin.
On each spin, the horizontal row may reveal up to 5 of the characters (or none) which light up on the scorecard when they land. If no lines are formed on the scorecard then that spin has concluded and no prize money paid. If one or more lines are formed by these symbols, then the row Respins. If new symbols land to create at least one more line on the scorecard, then the process repeats. It repeats until no new lines are created, or every symbol on the scorecard is completely lit up. Formed lines reward players like so:
- One line – 2x the bet.
- Two lines – 5x the bet.
- Three lines – 10x the bet.
- Four lines – 15x the bet.
- Five lines – 30x the bet.
- Six lines – 100x the bet.
- Eight lines – 400x the bet.
The only slight deviation from these core rules is the centre monkey symbol. Whenever he lands in the spin reel, he triggers a Respin regardless of whether lines were formed or not.
Magic Journey (Pragmatic Play): Verdict
It might not sound like there is much to Magic Journey, and there isn't. But it does have an x-factor which makes it compelling nonetheless. Get in some early wins and the game can really get its hooks in. Short but sweet sums up Magic Journey nicely. The first few demo spins were somewhat confusing, but it quickly became clear what the goal of the game was. It also quickly became clear that despite an initial perusal of the paytable and some sneering at the potential, Magic Journey is actually quite a fun game to play. It is one of those slots that if you get good returns, you'll love its pacey simplicity. Get it on a bad run, and it can get a little dull with not much going on.
It is different though, so credit to Pragmatic Play for thinking up a new concept. Magic Journey is not an epic paying slot by any stretch of the imagination. Its max potential is just 400 times the stake on one spin which is rather low for a high risk game, but it's not out to take on the big boys of the slot world. Magic Journey is like the Taylor Swift of slots. You can't openly admit that you like it to your hardcore friends, but in private you mouth along to the lyrics.
Overall, Magic Journey is worth a crack, at least in demo mode first to see if you like what it has to offer. It's so different that you can forgive someone who says they love it or they hate it. Magic Journey's oddball gameplay won't fire up the gambling world, but it is capable of some decent shots of profit and adrenaline when it's on.