Phoenix Forge: Slot Overview
Developer Pragmatic Play's fantasy slot Phoenix Forge is based on a mythical bird famous for its regenerative powers. The life cycle of the Phoenix revolved around birth, death, and then rebirth all over again from its ashes. A universal symbol, the Phoenix in various guises has been found in several cultures from Ancient Greek folklore to Ancient Egypt, Chinese Mythology in the form of Fenghaung, down to Fawkes in Harry Potter. Phoenix Forge doesn't draw on the power of reincarnation as such; rather, it's all about tumble wins working hand in hand with multiplier hot spots to create mythical wins, okay, maybe not mythical but decent all the same.
The game is set in a fairly generic dungeon covered in gold coins, where a 5-reel, 20-payline game grid has been set. There is a tinge of Red Tiger's slot Dragon's Fire about Phoenix Forge, more so since multipliers are responsible for creating the game's most exciting moments. However, the way Phoenix Forge's features work is entirely different to Red Tiger's creation. There are also no dragons, the main character being the Phoenix of the title. He's accompanied by a drum-heavy soundtrack which feels a tad more dramatic than it needs to a lot of the time, though it does add density to the fantasy atmosphere.
Hitting the plus and minus buttons allows players to set bets from 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin - any device is fine for doing so. There are no concerns with the stats eking out of the math model, such as a rock-solid default RTP value of 96.51% (which can be lower depending on where you play) and volatility rated 5 out of 5 to please the hardcore gamers. The 5,000x max win potential isn't exactly wow, but like the rest of the numbers, there is nothing to complain about either.
Throughout the game, 7 regular pay symbols can be found, each one a sort of gem-encrusted piece of jewellery of various hues. Five of a kind wins vary in value from 7.5x the bet for the turquoise piece up to 50x the bet for the red one. There is an egg too, presumably a Phoenix egg, though it looks like something Faberge would craft. This is the wild symbol, appearing on reels 2 to 4, to substitute for all symbols except the bonus.
Phoenix Forge: Slot Features
You'll come across three features when playing Phoenix Forge - tumbles, hot spot multipliers, and free spins. The tumble feature triggers after every win. Winning combinations are paid out; then, the winning symbols disappear off the grid. New or existing symbols tumble down to take their spots, and this pay system continues in the same fashion until no new wins land.
After every tumble, the position of every winning symbol that exploded is highlighted with a frame displaying an x1 multiplier. Every time a new winning combination forms with symbols sitting in highlighted spots, after the tumble, the multiplier increases by +1. The value of every winning combination is multiplied by the sum of all multipliers it contains. When no more wins hit, frames and multipliers are cleared for the next paid spin.
Land 3, 4, or 5 of the Phoenix scatter symbols to collect a cash prize of 2x, 5x, or 20x the total bet plus 10, 15, or 20 free spins. Hitting 3 scatters during the feature adds +5 more free spins. During free spins, multipliers in all positions are sticky until the end of the round, increasing at every tumble, and do not reset between spins.
Phoenix Forge: Slot Verdict
Phoenix Forge isn't a game eyeing up world domination, yet it can do clever things with what it has in its arsenal. In many regards a simple game, Phoenix Forge's features occasionally fire together to build satisfying results. It all starts with a regular line win and builds from there, teeing up hot spot multipliers, which are in turn fed by tumbling symbols. The action only gets properly going in free spins when hot spots do not reset, but the fact they are accessible during the base game makes waiting for scatters to trigger them less of a chore than it might have been.
As for the 1 in 3.73 hit rate, there does seem to be a lot of dead spins to counterbalance the tumble/multiplier combo. Not quite enough to be completely off-putting, and the sporadic big tumble win helps to balance the account to a degree. It's hard to shake off the Dragon's Fire comparison if you've played that game, and of the two, Phoenix Forge is the lesser game in many regards. One of these is potential, where the best Phoenix Forge can muster is the still respectable total of 5,000 times the bet – half of what Red Tiger's game is capable of.
Phoenix Forge is a pretty fun game with a central feature that might surprise if it gets a chance to shine - a big 'if' because free spins can be fiendishly hard to trigger at times even though the hit frequency isn't all that terrible.
Phoenix Forge might look pretty basic, and to be fair, it is, yet its positive elements outweigh the negatives. The game can be utterly brutal when a batch of low/no value spins blow through, and it's certainly not out to make friends. Get the tumbles working in conjunction with hot spots, though, and you might not feel like a reborn Phoenix, but it's not half bad either.
Phoenix Forge is a modestly simple game that can nevertheless chain its features together to create some exciting moments.