Mega Don: Slot Overview
After scanning the numbers, despite the (understandably) primal fear many people have about sharks, perhaps it is them that should be afraid of us. Estimates from a journal called Marine Policy put the figure of slaughtered sharks at 100 million per year, while others reckon the number is closer to 273 million. Going off the lower number, that's 11,416 shark deaths every hour of every day of the year. Not sure what to make of this information. It seems like an awful lot of deceased sharks, and at this rate, is it going to be long before they're all extinct like their Megalodon ancestor? Megalodon, which means 'big tooth', prowled the seas 23 – 3.6 million years ago and has wound up, or at least alluded to, in an online slot from Play'n GO.
Okay, the title is Mega Don, not Megalodon, but the association is there. Naturally, for a game about sharks, players find themselves in the creatures' domain, beneath the waves in some bubbly aquatic environment. Another association we made was with Push Gaming's classic Razor Shark. The Mega Don symbol here looks a lot like the toothy beast in Push's classic shark-themed game. Perhaps some similarity is inevitable when picking forward-facing sharks, though, and besides, the rest of Mega Don is a different kettle of fish. While the background imagery is a little plain, the music is more emotive, swinging from downbeat ambient when nothing much is happening to Jaws level of tension when the action picks up.
Like the music, Mega Don's math model is highly volatile as well, swinging all over the place while producing a default RTP of 96%. Played on a 5-reel, 4-row game panel, Mega Don provides 1,024 ways to win – occurring when three matching symbols land in adjacent reels starting from the left-hand side. Any device is suitable for use, and stakes vary from 10 p/c to £/€100 per paid game round.
Mega Don's paytable and gameplay are reminiscent of the rules laid down in the Jack London novel 'White Fang' - 'Life lived on life. There were the eaters and the eaten. The law was: eat or be eaten.' For the low pay symbols, players get six small fish ranging in value from 0.4 to 1x the bet for five of a kind, and three high pay sharks worth 2-4 times the stake for five of a kind. Lending a helping hand, or tooth, or whatever, is the jaw patterned wild symbol, which is used to substitute all symbols except the scatter.
Mega Don: Slot Features
Symbol transformations are central to both of Mega Don's features – occurring in both the base game and during free spins.
In the base game, up to 3 random low pay fish symbols may be selected to be upgraded. If the chosen fish land on the reels, they are transformed into one type of higher-paying shark symbol.
Scatters appear on all reels, and depending on how many you land to trigger free spins you get a different setup as such:
- 3 scatters award 6 free spins with 1 upgrading symbol.
- 4 scatters give 9 free spins with 2 upgrading symbols.
- 5 scatters provide 12 free spins with 3 upgrading symbols.
When the upgrading symbols appear on the reels in free spins, they are transformed into random shark symbols like in the Snack Time feature. The selected upgrading symbol remains that way until the free spins round ends.
One thing to look out for is retriggers. If during the bonus round 3, 4, or 5 scatters hit, then players win:
- +3 free spins with 1 additional upgrading symbol.
- +6 free spins with 2 additional upgrading symbols.
- +9 free spins with 3 additional upgrading symbols.
It is technically possible to have all six low-value symbols be transformative. If you've got more than one upgrading symbol, they all turn into the same shark symbol when in view.
Mega Don: Slot Verdict
Well, it's not Razor Shark, despite the familiar-looking top pay symbol. The base game chugs along like a tugboat, doing little more than letting off bubbles and the odd win a lot of the time. Occasionally, a sonar ping warning of a possible Snack Time trigger quickened the pulse. Snack Times could be quite decent, too, and having so many ways to win rather than relying on paylines to links fish or sharks isn't a bad thing.
However, Snack Time, as the name suggests, is pretty much a warm-up for the Shark Feast. If symbol transformation features are something of a forte, then Mega Don is worth a test run or two. There was a vaguely 'book of' feel to the bonus round, as well, so Ra fans might be tempted for a look. It lacks the same sort of progressive element of something like Pink Elephants, though the randomness of which high pay symbol is chosen brings an enjoyable element of its own to the table.
The Shark Feast round can certainly escalate via retriggers, so it's by no means totally static, and getting extra upgradable symbols along with additional free spins makes landing a fourth or fifth scatter even more enticing. Six free spins from a three scatter trigger might not sound like a lot, yet retriggers occurred more often than was suspected, at least during the testing session. Symbol values aren't incredible, so one-off way wins didn't tend to be amazing, but combining all those ways with a bunch of upgradable symbols can lead to some adrenalised moments – and wins of up to 10,000x the bet.
Mega Don wasn't a game that caught our attention in a big way to start with, as the ambient sound effects and plain blue water were a bit snoozy in the beginning. But, there is potential for exciting gaming once the fish start to bite. Symbol transformations can be a thrill ride no doubt, and the unfussy features are solid, yet despite the positives, Mega Don doesn't feel destined to be the apex predator of the shark/underwater genre.
There are definitely some positive aspects to Mega Don but it doesn’t feel destined to be the apex predator of the shark/underwater genre.