Merlin Realm of Charm

(Play'n GO) Slot Review

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Merlin Realm of Charm: Slot Overview

Software provider Play'n GO has returned one of its most beloved characters to the gambling scene to help entertain players in its online slot Merlin Realm of Charm. The magical chap has graced numerous Play'n GO slots in the past, such as Rise of Merlin, Merlin: Journey of the Flame, and Merlin's Grimoire, as well as others, so it's safe to say the team has developed a fondness for the legendary wizard. In Merlin Realm of Charm, Merlin bumps up against an equally mysterious Enchantress, expanding special symbols and a new bit for the Book of Ra cognoscenti to digest.

A short animation showing Merlin entering a forest plays out before the actual game opens up, helping build a mood. The action is set in a fairly charming realm, and Play'n GO aren't in the habit of slapping out ugly games. Merlin Realm of Charm is another pleasing example, maybe not exceptional, but the sights and sounds are vibrant enough. Merlin himself has a faint Rich Wilde and the Wandering City look about him, though if anything, the wizard comes across even more ruggedly debonair than the famous explorer. So far, so alright, why not?

Merlin Realm of Charm slot
Merlin Realm of Charm slot - base game

The grid design is a classic 'book' one, made up of 5 reels and 10 paylines. To pick an appropriate stake, players hammer the Coin and the Coin Value buttons to choose a wager from 10 c to $/€100 per spin. Taking control on the back end is an 8 out of 10 rated, highly volatile math model, possessing a 96.20% RTP value by default, though several lower return configurations are something to look for.

Merlin Realm of Charm insists on doing everything in coins, which can cause the occasional head-scratching moment when trying to convert to straight bet multipliers. Of the 5 low pay glowing rune-type symbols, the payouts vary from 40 to 60 coins for a 5 OAK win, increasing to 125 to 1,000 coins when landing 5 of the same high-pay symbol in a line - swords, crystals, apples, and Merlins. Returns vary when betting extra coins, though.

Merlin Realm of Charm: Slot Features

Merlin Realm of Charm slot
Merlin Realm of Charm slot - free spins special symbol

Play'n GO has made sure to include a 'book of' twist when designing Merlin Realm of Charm, and it's not a bad one either. In addition to this and the special expanding symbol action, the game also has an optional gamble feature.

The Enchantress

The Enchantress scatter symbol is also wild, substituting for all other symbols except special expanding symbols. Landing 3 or more scatter symbols pays a cash prize as well as awarding 5 free spins.

Free Spins

At the start of the bonus round, 1 symbol (not the scatter) is chosen randomly to be the special expanding symbol for the free spins round. This special expanding symbol can be optionally rerolled once to receive a different symbol before free spins begin. In the round, the first of the special symbols landing on each reel becomes sticky, so it stays in its potion for the remaining free spins. When enough of the respective symbols are in view to create a win, they expand to cover all reel positions. Expanded symbols do not have to be adjacent to each other to cause extra wins. During free spins, hitting 3 or more Enchantress scatters retriggers the feature by awarding +5 free spins. The total number of free spins possible is capped at 30.

Gamble Feature

Merlin Realm of Charm also comes with an optional gamble round that provides the chance to increase the total prize on any spin in the base game or after the free spins round. This is done by correctly guessing a face-down card's colour for double the win or the correct suit for quadruple the win. The gamble round can be played up to 5 times in a row, and incorrect guesses lose the prize. The gamble feature does not affect the overall RTP.

Merlin Realm of Charm slot
Merlin Realm of Charm slot - free spins

Merlin Realm of Charm: Slot Verdict

Fads blow in and out of the gambling industry arguably about as fast and as fickle-y as it gets. One day, a certain theme or mechanic is on the rise; the next, it's particles in the wind. Some stick, however, and Merlin Realm of Charm contains two long-standing online slot stalwarts. One is the subject matter, and Merlin is a persistently recurring character, thanks in no small part to Play'n GO itself, returning the wizard to the reels time and time again. The other is the expanding special symbol mechanics brought onto the scene by Book of Ra oh so many moons ago, reused by countless studios since then, and very likely to show up again in the future.

Repetition is no bad thing when some sort of desirable quality has been built into the game in question. Play'n GO has a talent for dreaming up desirable traits, and Merlin Realm of Charm is a good example. Sticky special expanding symbols, huh? Nice. It's one of those clever features that feels so obvious - after the fact, that you wonder why it hasn't been used more before. It was hard for the mind not to go straight to picturing five sticky premiums, racked-up retriggers, then piling through a bunch of free spins, filling the grid on each one. In game, Merlin Realm of Charm is listed with a max exposure of €1,000,000 with a probability of less than 1 in 100m to be achieved. In other words, nothing to realistically aim for. As often is the case with PnG slots, a more realistic target would be around 500-2000x, though it remains to see what Merlin Real of Charm can deliver.

There are checks and balances, as in fewer initial free spins and lower than usual pay symbol values. But, slots aren't exactly renowned for their magnanimous generosity, and you can't have everything. However, what you do get in Merlin Realm of Charm is a sturdy 'book of' style slot with an interesting twist.

Good

Merlin Realm of Charm keeps the ‘book’ genre ticking with the use of a rather neat expanding symbol twist.

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