Mystery Mission to the Moon: Slot Overview
Using data provided by the Kepler space telescope and the Drake Equation, it has been estimated that there could be upwards of 300 million possibly habitable planets in our galaxy alone. Never mind the rest of the universe, which is much, much larger. Like Arthur C. Clark said, 'either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.' After shaking off a frisson of existential dread, let's turn our attention to Mystery Mission to the Moon from software provider Push Gaming. As evident by both the title and mechanics, Mystery Mission to the Moon is a follow-up to the studio's popular slot Mystery Museum, where instead of ransacking a museum for precious antiquities, players are blasted into the far corners of the galaxy in an attempt to scoop up galactic treasures and technologies.
That sweet tee-up got an equally sweet follow-through when Mystery Mission to the Moon hit the screen. Push Gaming has drawn a detailed sci-fi lab to host the base game in, where glass cases house mysterious treasures and technologies from previous explorations scattered around the room. It's debatable which game offers the lushest visuals, but the symbols here are well drawn, the animations are neat, and the big win count-up sequence is excellent, so there are no complaints about Mystery Mission to the Moon's audio-visuals.
In the middle of the room sits the active gaming area, which has been expanded since Mystery Museum. This time the exploration takes place on a 6-reel, 4-row grid with 20 paylines. It may come as no surprise that the volatility has been rated as high, while RTP depends on how you tackle the game. When playing in the regular mode, where stakes vary from 10 p/c to $/€100 per spin, players can expect a maximum theoretical return value of 96.25%. However, Mystery Mission to the Moon also comes with Push Gaming's first-ever use of an Ante Bet function. Activating it increases the stake by 25% for a greater chance of landing Wild Moon symbols which are needed to trigger free spins.
Once the betting side of things has been arranged, it's time to blast off, and one way to collect coins is when at least three matching symbols land on adjacent reels across a payline from the left-hand side. Eleven pay symbols are used, which, from low to high, are four rocky objects, a medal, a pincer-type thing, a ray gun, a robot, an explorer, an alien, and a glowing-eyed Mystery Martian character. There's a neat retro-futuristic thing going on with the symbols; a sort of Lost in Space meets Futurama. Landing six rocks pays 5x the bet, the next six symbols are worth 15 to 100 times the bet for six of a kind, while the top Mystery Martian symbol is worth 500x the bet for six-of-a-kind.
Mystery Mission to the Moon: Slot Features
One symbol you'll want to keep an eye out on the sensors for is the Mystery Stack symbol. Mystery Stack Symbols are present on all reels, and when 3 land in the base game, they are nudged to cover their entire respective reels and turn gold. When a winning combination is paid, they then reveal the same pay symbol and pay along all 20 paylines, no matter their position on the grid. During testing, if matching symbols sat between Golden Mystery Stack symbols on regular reels, they'd be included in the win, too.
Wild Moon Symbols
Another important tile is the Wild Moon symbol. For one, Wild Moons substitute for all other symbols except the Mystery Stack symbol. It lands on all reels and has the same value as the highest-paying symbol. In addition, landing 3, 4, 5, or 6 Wild Moon symbols awards 8, 10, 12, or 14 free spins, respectively.
During free spins, when Mystery Stacks land, they nudge to fill their reel and remain locked in place until the feature ends. Mystery Stacks reveal the same pay symbol on each spin. When there are 3 or more Mystery Stacks on the grid, they turn gold. Gold Mystery Stacks reveal a matching symbol for the remainder of the feature, awarding wins along all 20 paylines, no matter their position on the grid. One more thing, when Mystery Stacks hit, +1 free spin is awarded.
If the Bonus Buy button is available, it allows players to buy access to the bonus round. Here it is possible to buy free spins triggered by 3, 4, 5, or 6 Wild Moon symbols for 102x, 161x, 237x, or 332x the base bet. The last option costs 200x to land a random number of at least 3 Wild Moon symbols. RTPs are displayed in the Game Info screen and range from 96.3% to 96.65% at the highest available setting.
Mystery Mission to the Moon: Slot Verdict
Mystery Mission to the Moon was a game that got its pincers in from the beginning and didn't let up until the session drew to a close. The core gaming is reminiscent of Mystery Museum, but Push Gaming has pushed a number of the elements to branch it off into new territory. The larger grid and number of paylines has been done, in Push Gaming's words, for the purposes of 'ramping up the volatility.' For the review, bonus round results varied from hundreds of times the base bet to sad and lonely returns. Mystery Mission to the Moon was perhaps not as brutal as Mad Cars, but still, bumpy rides are a possibility.
Nested amongst the bumps is the potential from some exhilarating moments as well. Max thrills occurred during the bonus game when three or more Mystery Stack symbols were plastered in place, each free spin piling on the tension as they all spun to reveal a matching pay symbol. It's an outstanding upgrade on the 'Book of' style pay-all-lines mechanic, which has been immensely popular for years. Seen from that angle, a full screen of the Mystery Martian at 10,000x is twice the single spin win available in games like, say, Book of Dead.
One thing possibly putting a slight damper on the excitement for some is that winning potential is actually lower than it was in Mystery Museum. A Mystery Martian full-screen win is actually the most which can be won due to the 10,000x win cap. For the record, the probability of hitting the win cap is 1 in 1,216,101.8 with the Ante Bet switched on or 1 in 1,778,410.1 with it switched off. However, unless chasing the biggest prizes on the planet, or off, is a must, then Mystery Mission to the Moon's top prize is a sizable figure to shoot for. And all up, Mystery Mission to the Moon is a classy release that should thrill the socks off players looking for a superb 'Book of' alternative or those who were enthralled by what Mystery Museum had on tap.
Mystery Mission to the Moon rises above the pack with its superb visuals and thrilling gameplay.