Phantasmic Fortunes: Overview
Developer iSoftBet has designed a slot full of mysterious elements to showcase their new Xpanding Ways mechanic; a new device based around reels that expand when certain symbols land on them. Not only does it increase the row height, creating more ways to win, but full-height reels award Orb prizes. On top of Xpanding Ways, the game also offers a couple of wild modifiers, and free spins.
Prepare for a touch of magic when the game loads - to the left of the reels stands our David Copperfield guy. Actually, he’s even more old school than David Copperfield, perhaps Victorian or Edwardian? Or maybe he’s just one of those modern guys who digs the esoteric, partly cos he’s into it, partly because someone he likes is into it. Yet he pushed it too far, awakening something that should have lain hidden, giving him fluorescent green eyes and the power to create flames with his bare hands.
The rest of the background is taken up by skulls, candles, and thick heavy curtains. It looks a bit bare at first, but this is to provide space for the default 5-reel, 243 ways to win grid to expand. The expansion device is available in all phases of the game, not just the bonus round. An enigmatic string led soundtrack completes the picture.
Phantasmic Fortunes is playable on any device from 20 p/c to £/€20 per spin and those who like to work hard for their wins may appreciate the high volatility. Despite the growing number of win ways and the Prize Orbs, there can be significant waves of dead spins. In fact, the going was surprisingly tough throughout testing.
The pay-all-ways system is often an appreciated one by players. Here, three or more matching symbols can land in any row to create a winning combination. As long as symbols sit adjacently from the first reel onwards, you’ve got a winner. The pay system works hand in hand with the Xpanding Ways feature too, as we’ll see.
For now, let’s look at the paytable, which includes 9 symbols in total – 4 low, 5 high pays. The low pays are clubs, diamonds, clubs, and hearts, worth not a whole lot, followed by ravens, pocket watches, potions, cards, and top hats. Five of a kind premiums are worth 1 to 5 times the stake.
Phantasmic Fortunes also comes with three different wild symbols – a standard, a Phantasmic Wild, and Magic Wilds. Each wild substitutes for regular pay symbols. Two of them are triggered by the features, while the standard wild appears at any time on reels 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Phantasmic Fortunes: Features
At the start of play, the game reveals your fortune by placing five Orbs at the top of the screen displaying different random prizes. These could be xbets, wild features, or bonus Orbs.
Keep an eye out for the diamond symbol - whenever one lands, its respective reel grows by one position. When a reel grows all the way up to reach an Orb, its corresponding prize is awarded and reels are reset to the default 5x3 size. Orbs are also reset, to reveal five new prizes. As reels grow, so do win ways. When spinning at the full 6 row height, 7,776 ways to win are active.
One of the wild features found in the Orbs is Phantasmic Wilds. If you reach one of these, then 2 to 4 reels of stacked Phantasmic Wilds appear. After wins have been calculated, the reels and Orbs are reset.
The other wild modifier is Magic Wild. If you reach a Magical Wild Orb, a random number of 1x1 Magic Wilds are added to the reels. Again, once any wins have been evaluated, the reels and Orbs are reset.
The final Orb is the Bonus Orb. Should you reach this one, then the Phantasmic Free Spins Bonus is triggered. The other method of triggering this bonus game is when 3 scatter symbols land on reels 2, 3, and 4.
Free spins start by using the default 243 win ways layout. Whilst the rules are the same as in the base game, the value of the orbs are increased with a chance to trigger awards of up to 1,000x per single orb. The round ends when one of the bonus Orbs with COLLECT written on it is reached.
After any Orb win or bonus round, there is a chance the Magic Boost feature is randomly triggered. When it is, up to two reels are increased in height to help reach the prize Orbs quicker.
Phantasmic Fortunes: Verdict
Phantasmic Fortunes is alright, for a while. It’s a bit different than anything else you might have played and the theme has been presented in an interesting way. Adding to the initial curiosity is seeing how the Xpanding Reels mechanic works. It’s somewhat entertaining, adding a goal of reaching the Prize Orbs to the game.
You kind of need a goal too, since a lot of dead spins pass by and the Phantasmic Free Spins Bonus can be a rare occurrence. The first lot of free spins triggered after 573 spins to give you an indication of what you might be up against. Fortunately, the next bunch came around faster. Funnily enough, or not, diamonds are much more prevalent during free spins than they are during the base game.
So yeah, Phantasmic Fortunes started well; the concept of Xpanding Reels was promising. The game played out okay, but the novelty did wear off fairly soon. The problem is that the action is rather slow-paced. What doesn’t help is the required amount of patience to get anywhere is rarely rewarded. Orb Prizes usually came in the x5- x20 range and hitting one every 100 spins or so didn’t justify the wait.
Phantasmic Fortunes is bound to have entertaining moments, it’s just hard to find the motivation to push through to see them. All up, Phantasmic Fortunes is an okay enough game, yet catching it in a bad mood feels like the magic is designed to work against you.
Despite the intertwining of features and game mechanics, the slow pace plus low-level rewards make Phantasmic Fortunes hard to recommend.