Merlin's Moneyburst: Review
It must be quite comfy to be part of the Scientific Games family. If you run out of creative energy, you can always build yourself a Frankenstein slot using bits and pieces from other software developers, an opportunity NextGen Gaming has not passed up on. In the studio's third, or fourth (who knows), instalment in the Merlin series, the Moneyburst game engine has been borrowed from sister company WMS to lay the foundation. Those of you who have been around for some time will instantly think of classic WMS titles such as Bruce Lee, Fire Queen, Glitz or Queens Knight II when Merlin's Moneyburst loads up on the screen.
Indeed, it comes with 60 paylines and the same odd reel arrangement made up of 4 single reels in a 2x2 formation followed by 3 reels with 4 symbols each. Playable on all devices from 30 cents t0 62.50€ per spin, this rather childish looking fantasy-themed game has plenty of diverse features to keep you busy throughout, such as respins, wild modifier extras, and a free spins game in which Mr Merlin himself makes an appearance.
Maybe even more so than in previous titles in the series, Merlin's Moneyburst looks like an educational pc game for 6-year old kids to learn their ABC's. Take the cartoon-like royal symbols for example with their quirky eyes following your mouse pointer as you move it around - your toddler will love this game. Visually, it looks alright, although it has a slightly dated aura, especially when it comes to the cringy wizard animations.
Set in an enchanted moonlit forest, on the reels you will see A, K, Q, J and 10 royal values (with eyes) alongside time glasses, money bags and bottles of potion. The spell-book is the most lucrative with 5 on a full payline yielding 8,33 times your stake. As you would expect, Merlin is the wild and substitutes for all symbols bar the scatter. Land 5 of him on a payline and you'll win 83.33 times your stake.
Merlin's Moneyburst: Features
Making use of the studios own in-house developed SuperBet feature, players can choose from a set of additional wagers with multipliers. This comes to use when the Merlin wild hits, as it can boost your winning combinations with multipliers of up to 10x. These are the available bet levels:
- Bet Level 1: play from 60 cents t0 15€ per spin - any winning combination that includes a wild symbol will receive a 2x multiplier boost (95.75% RTP).
- Bet Level 2: play from 1 t0 25€ per spin - any winning combination that includes a wild symbol will receive a 4x multiplier boost (96.00% RTP).
- Bet Level 3: play from 1.50 t0 37.50€ per spin - any winning combination that includes a wild symbol will receive a 6x multiplier boost (96.25% RTP).
- Bet Level 4: play from 2 t0 50€ per spin - any winning combination that includes a wild symbol will receive a 8x multiplier boost (96.50% RTP).
- Bet Level 5: play from 2.50 t0 62.50€ per spin - any winning combination that includes a wild symbol will receive a 10x multiplier boost (96.75% RTP).
There are in total 3 features included in Merlin's Moneyburst. The least attractive one is the Merlin's Held Respins feature, which is also by far the most frequently triggered feature. It comes into play if the 2x2 reel formation contains matching symbols. Starting with 5 respins, the symbols on the 2x2 formation are held in position while the other 3 reels continue to spin. Additionally, the Merlin may appear, randomly transforming regular symbols into wilds. 3 scatters during the feature will add another 5 respins to your total.
The second best feature to trigger is the Merlin's Free Games feature, which is played when you land 3 claw scatter symbols on reels 3, 4 and 5 on the same spin. Starting with 10 free spins, the Merlin may randomly appear to add stacked wilds on reels 3, 4 and 5. Moreover, it's possible to retrigger the feature to give you another 10 free spins. Potentially, you can also trigger the Merlin's Held Respins feature here.
The highlight in Merlin's Moneburst is the Merlin's Wild Spins feature. In the streaming community, this rare feature is informally referred to as the "Double Bonus", and has generated some truly epic wins on the Bruce Lee slot throughout the years. The Merlin's Wild Spins come into play if you land matching symbols on the 2x2 reel formation along with 3 scatters, all on the same spin. Once triggered, you will benefit from all symbols on the 2x2 reel formation turning into wilds with the Merlin emerging on each spin to add stacked wilds on the other 3 reels. You can retrigger this feature as well, adding another 10 wild spins to your total.
Merlin's Moneyburst: Final Verdict
Merlin's Moneyburst is a rather blunt fusion of the classic Bruce Lee mechanic and the Merlin series. Fundamentally, the two games are the same, but the addition of the SuperBet feature does make Merlin quite a bit more volatile. Furthermore, whilst Bruce Lee offers a slightly higher RTP of around 96%, Merlin's Moneburst comes in at only 95.50% with the SuperBet feature deactivated. Increasing the SuperBet level will increase the RTP, but in turn, it also makes the game more volatile and expensive to play.
Just like in Bruce Lee, there's plenty of potential to unlock here. The payouts in the Respins feature and the Free Spins Game are usually not all that exciting, but if you're lucky enough to trigger the Merlin's Wild Spins, you can almost certainly look forward to a 1000x-4000x feature. Add the 10x SuperBet on top of this and well, you do the math. Overall, Merlin's Moneyburst is a decent revamp of Bruce Lee that delivers all the goodies from the original, but with a bit more bite for those who like it rough. If you can live with the designed-for-toddlers look and feel, it's actually a competent slot.