Side City Studios teams up with NextGen to release POLTERHEIST. Have we ever seen a good slot come out of one of these collaborations yet?
Ghost Break-In & Haunted Wilds features included
Medium to high variance
Polterheist is the result of a collaboration between a small Canadian studio called Side City. They're not freshmen, however, and have a few games listed here and there - Venice Magic and Fortunes of the Dead to name a couple of them. The excitement level of seeing a new NextGen slot dropped considerably upon learning it's the result of a collaboration. In fact, we can't figure out why established, and respected game developers insist on working with smaller studios, a trend that seemed to have been started by Microgaming and failed every single time. Is Polterheist the slot to prove us wrong? Let's find out.
Polterheist is a 5-reel, 4-row video slot with 100 fixed pay lines and a 96.6% RTP, which is a bit higher than the more common 95%-ish RTP we otherwise often see in NextGen slots. Playable on all devices between €0.50 and €50, this western themed slot with a ghost twist benefits from two random main game features as well as a free spins game with the potential for unlimited free spins.
Visually, it's quite childish looking which is likely to be a bit of a turn off to some players. Nonetheless, it's a fairly well-designed slot that is played along to a classic western score that goes well with the game. The playability is fine tuned, although the speed of the gameplay could have been increased a bit.
Polterheist Symbols & Features
A, K, Q, J, and 10 represent the low-value symbols while the premiums are made out of blue, red, green, purple, and golden ghosts, known as the Hauntin' gang. The Golden Sheriff ghost is the most valuable symbol and gives you 10 times the stake for 5 across a full pay line. None of the symbols appears stacked on the reels which means the payouts in normal mode are low. The Wild symbols come in the form of a wanted poster, and only appears on the three middle reels.
There are two main game features included in the game to make up for the monotonous gameplay. These are both randomly triggered, which means they can activate before any spin. The Haunted Wild feature will add a random number of wilds to the three middle reels, while the Ghost Break-In feature adds stacks of one randomly chosen ghost to the reels, with all other ghosts turning into that particular ghost as well.
Polterheist Free Spins
The free spins game is what it's all about in Polterheist and where the tedious wait for the free spins to drop can pay off. To trigger it, players need to land the Golden Safe Scatter symbol on reels 1, 2, and 3 which awards 8 free spins. The free spins game is played out on the same reel set as in the main game, but players will now benefit from a random multiplier being added before each spin, meaning each win is subject to a multiplier of 2x, 3x, or 5x.
Furthermore, both the Haunted Wilds and Ghost Break-In features are included and actually appear more frequently here, with the latter allowing the potential for a full screen of the top paying symbol. Should this drop along with a 5x multiplier, you can cheer along to a win of 5000 times the stake. There's also room for endless of spins (at least in theory) as 1, 2, or 3 scatter symbols landing on the reels will add another 1, 5, 0r 8 free spins respectively.
Polterheist (NextGen Gaming)
In theory, Polterheist has potential for endless free spins, but since we haven’t seen a fact sheet we must assume that the game is capped. It’s unreasonable to think that the free spins would go on forever, or that players would be able to land 4-5 full screens with the max multiplier and walk away with 25,000x wins. If we’d be talking about Big Time Gaming, or any other provider with proven wins of that magnitude, then sure, but in this particular case we’re going to hold back a bit on the sugar. The max cap could very well be 2000x for all we know.
The two random features did little to help carry the game which felt slow and tedious to us. Sure, there’s potential for a 1000x win outside of the bonus, which is not terrible for any main game, but it still doesn’t make up for the horrendous gameplay. Polterheist is far from the worst collaboration we’ve seen, in fact, it’s one of the better, but it doesn’t reach all the way, unfortunately.