Reef Raider: Slot Overview
It's funny, well, not ha-ha funny, but interesting that at some stage in the future, there is a chance players will choose Reef Raider for old time sake and not have a clue what a reef actually is. Such is the rate these gardens of the seas are vanishing. Some say it took millions of years for nature to form the Great Barrier Reef, for example, yet humans have managed to almost erase it from the sea in a century or so.
That intro might have been a bit doom n' gloom, so thankfully, we have NetEnt's slot Reef Raider to lighten up the room. This is one happy slot, full of cute sprites, brightly colourful coral, and an all-around feel-good vibe. Hitting the spin button drops 49 symbols onto a 7-column, 7-row grid, with the aim of landing clusters of matching symbols. If you've played NetEnt's Finn games, you'll be familiar with the setup. The game is located in the bottom of the sea, not too deep, where the sun filters in to create mesmerising patterns on the sandy bottom, while coral and coins litter the outer borders. The finishing touch is a basic reggae track that bounces innocuously in the background, adding a final layer to the laid back attitude.
Reef Raider may be played on any device you prefer, offering stakes from 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin. NetEnt has matched the game's character by setting volatility to medium, rounding out the edges to a degree. Potential is one thing that does not let the game down at 8,500x; more likely won during free spins, which due to the way they are triggered, can take their sweet time to finally pop up.
Regular wins hit when clusters of 5 or more matching symbols land adjacently to each other in either horizontal or vertical directions. Eight pay symbols have been used, divided into low or medium win categories. Lows are all colourful shells from the sea, while the mid values are four gems worth 25 to 150 times the stake for clusters 25-49 symbols in size. Wilds appear in a couple of ways to help form clusters, covered next, though one more symbol for here is the multiplier icon, landing in values of x2, x3, x5, or x50. Any multiplier horizontally or vertically adjacent to a winning cluster multiplies its value.
Reef Raider: Slot Features
Central to Reef Raiders is its avalanche feature, kicking in when winning clusters land. This leads to wild symbols, four modifiers, and eventually free spins. Every winning cluster is removed from the grid by the avalanche feature. Not only does it allow remaining symbols to drop into the gaps, thereby potentially making more clusters, but a wild symbol is also left behind in one of the positions as well. Wilds substitute for any pay symbol and are removed from the grid as part of avalanches.
Consecutive avalanches trigger Reef Raider's remaining modifiers and features when enough of them occur. Progress is tracked by the Treasure Trail, which runs around the grid, and every 3 charges trigger a feature in a set order:
- Anchor Drop – 1 to 3 types of low win symbols are randomly chosen, and all instance of them are removed from the grid.
- Random Wilds – 4 to 8 Wild Coin symbols are placed on the board in random positions.
- Mystery Chest – 2 to 16 medium win symbols on the grid are replaced by mystery symbols. Mystery symbols all transform into the same matching pay symbol type.
- Cannon Blast – a symbol on the play area is randomly chosen, then all pay symbols on the same row and column are removed.
If you manage to charge 15 or more Treasure Trail meter bars in the main game, 9 free spins are activated. Every extra 3 charged bars awards +2 additional free spins. In free spins, 15 charged bars awards +1 additional free spin, plus 1 more for every 3 bars beyond that.
On entering free spins, a Mystery Overlay feature is activated, which is a pattern beneath the symbols in the centre of the grid. Mystery chest symbols appear on these at the start of every free spin. These symbols all reveal a winning cluster made up of the same low or mid paying symbol. Random mystery symbols can also appear at the start of each free spin. If new mystery symbols are adjacent to the initial cluster of mystery symbols, these additional positions join the cluster pattern until the feature ends.
Reef Raider: Slot Verdict
Reef Raider is a nod to earlier NetEnt slots like Finn and the Swirly Spin, or the Golden Tavern version, being relatively low volatile, adorable grid slots, using alternative ways of forming wins. They also rely on repeat cluster wins to trigger modifiers or free spins, and to be honest, 15 consecutive avalanches might feel like a tall order to begin with. Other games that use a similar system rarely require players to land so many in a row. It can be quite intimidating after a while when it seems like Random Wilds is about as far along the Treasure Trail as you are going to get.
It does mean quite a lot of consecutive wins do hit, since the game has plenty of room to manoeuvre before activating free spins. However, the process didn't take as long as feared, and bonuses triggered every few hundred spins or so. Once there, the Mystery Pattern guarantees a win on each free spin, yet bonus wins didn't tend to be great. As such, the thought of having to hit 15 consecutive wins all over again became a daunting one. The good news is players into Reef Raider can take heart knowing payouts can potentially remunerate hard work as the game is capable of wins of up to 8,500x the bet.
Reef Raider is a charming game to play, that isn't as emotionally draining as big bullying grid slots can be, but still has plenty of rewards when it's firing on all four cylinders.
Reef Raider is a charming game to play, that isn’t as emotionally draining as big bullying grid slots can be, but still has plenty of rewards when it’s firing on all four cylinders.