Montezuma Megaways: Overview
The battle for the best Megaways bonus feature has a new contender in the ring. SG Digital and iconic developer WMS have combined to give an older slot the Megaways makeover and the result is a very playable game. The original Montezuma might not be all that old, but it has benefited by the overhaul and some more attention to detail. The last couple of WMS Megaways slots were very hit and miss. Raging Rhino Megaways had its moments, but wasn’t without its faults, and the less said about Battleship Direct Hit the better. It appears that a lot of the criticism these games garnered has been addressed with Montezuma Megaways which eclipses those two in most departments and metrics.
Aesthetically, things have remained more or less the same, which is fine; this is an upgrade after all. Symbols are the same, and the steamy South American vibe is present with a few improvements. All up, fans of the original will instantly feel right at home. That is until the reels start to spin and the Megaways game engine starts to do its thing. The main game area comes with 6 reels and 2 to 7 symbols on each. Up top is a 4 symbol row called the Montezuma Wheel. At max power, 117,649 ways to win come into play. Montezuma Megaways comes with the Megaways Cascading Reels mechanic. Here, winning symbols in a combination explode off the reels and new symbols drop in to take their place. This can result in chains of wins from one single spin.
As is usually the case with these cascade win systems, individual symbols typically possess quite low value. Combinations are formed by 3 - 6 of a kind and the paytable possesses low and high-value groups. The lows are four royals, J to A, and the highs are a snake, mask, plumed hat, hawk, empress and emperor. The empress possesses the impressive name of Chichimecacihuatzin, while the emperor is none other than Montezuma. He is the top dog and worth 25 times the stake for six of a kind. That's not too bad, but the other high pays clock in at 0.25x – 1x the stake for six on a payline. Numbers wise, the RTP alternates between 95.92% in standard play, or 96.17% with the Buy Pass engaged. Players get a medium/high volatility with a solid bonus round where the game really shines.
Montezuma Megaways: Features
Helping string combos together is the Temple Wild symbol. This symbol only appears on the Montezuma Reel and can substitute for any regular pay symbol. Following a non-winning spin, the Montezuma Respin Wheel feature can launch randomly. The top horizontal 1x4 reel gets a bit of a nudge to give players a second chance at winning - it can occur during the base game and free spins.
Aside from these two, it's the Aztec Calendar scatter you want. Landing 3 or more will trigger the Free Spins feature. Just as is the case with the original version, there is no set amount of free spins. Instead, a wheel divided into segments rotates. Whatever number it lands on is the number of free spins which is typically 12 – 30. The action during free spins is the same as the base game with two vital additions. The first is the Unlimited Win Multiplier that increases by +1 for each cascade. Moreover, scatter symbols continue to appear but do not retrigger free spins. Instead, if two or more land the wheel is spun again and whatever number it lands on is added to the multiplier. The more scatters that trigger the wheel, the higher the additional multiplier which can be up to +100.
You will want those scatters to land at any time during the bonus game, but even more so on the final free spin. When they do, they trigger the wheel again. This time, whatever multiplier it lands on is applied to the total amount won during the free spin round and is a major game-changer.
Free spins also come with a bonus guarantee. If less than 30 times the total bet is won during the round, the game will award a prize of 30 times the stake in exchange of the smaller accumulated prize. Not exactly something to aim for, but a nice touch all the same.
Depending on the rules in your country, Montezuma Megaways can come with a Buy Pass option. The cost for this is 85 times the stake, which is fairly low compared to others that have been released recently. Engage this, and you are guaranteed at least 3 scatters on the next spin.
Montezuma Megaways: Verdict
Montezuma Megaways is definitely an improvement over both the original slot and other WMS Megaways releases. WMS is to be commended for taking criticism on board and creating something nowhere near as clunky or choppy as Raging Rhino Megaways. The result is a game that still retains echoes of its physical slot origins while being a thoroughly modern update to boot.
Speaking of potential, Montezuma is capable of returning up to 12,500 times the stake. It might not be record-breaking for Megaways, but it is a respectable figure nonetheless – and a lot better than the ludicrous 2,500x cap they put on Battleship.
The wins from the unlimited Megaways Multiplier during free spins is what is going to show up on video clips in the future. Players that can shortcut their way to them via the bonus Buy Pass will be sorely tempted. Those who are barred from these types of buy features have another reason to feel short-changed by their regulator. Either way, Montezuma Megaways is an excellent remake, and WMS have done a great job revamping a successful slot with the popular engine from Big Time Gaming. They have retained enough of the original while dragging it through a modernising process to produce a highly enjoyable slot that can be as profitable as it is fun.
This Megaways upgrade not only offers an engaging experience in itself, but transforms Montezuma altogether.