Reel Keeper: Overview
From independent studio R7 we get Reel Keeper, a 5-reel, 10-payline dragon-filled, classically styled slot powered by Red Tiger that may, or may not, be found as part of Red Tiger's progressive jackpot network. Quite a few slots bulk up the range now, though this is the first to feature dragons in a non-Asian setting.
Each slot in the range is tied to three jackpots, yet it may be possible to come across Reel Keeper as a standalone game. Fortunately, as a standalone, it's not a bad option, serving up decent (albeit shy) features along with a high powered math model. The good news for many players will be the potential which is a bit higher than you might expect from an R7 slot.
The moment the game loads it feels like a familiar R7/Red Tiger production thanks to those gold-framed reels, the sounds coming from the speakers, and the well-drawn symbols making it’s almost Asian themed, but not quite. The rather plain mountainous background scenery may be simple, but actually goes well with the superbly designed, and highly detailed, game area without taking any of the focus away from it.
Getting down to the business of spinning requires setting a bet. Hit the stake button to do so where you can have a go from as low as 10 p/c or as high as £/€100 per spin. As far as RTP is concerned, you may be served different versions depending on where you play.
Whilst the standalone version comes shipped with a default setting of 95.71%, the jackpot version may be as low as 93.78%, which includes the base game as well as the jackpot contributions. Looking at some of the other stats, Red Tiger rates the hit frequency at 2/5, while on the other end of the scale is volatility which is rated at 5/5. In other words, brace for potentially bumpy rides.
Landing a win means lining up matching symbols on one or more of the 10 fixed paylines. Low pays are standard, forgettable, 10-A royals that need at least three of a kind to create a winning combination. High pays need only two of a kind to payout and are made up of a dragon tooth, a chalice, a crown, and a dragon as the most valuable symbol on the paytable.
Combinations of five of a kind are quite juicy, ranging from 16.5x to 60x for the premiums. R7 has kept things simple as possible, so that's it for the base game rules. We are talking about dragons here though, so things do heat up thanks to the features on offer.
Reel Keeper: Features
Although there's a jackpot version available, the standard features can be pretty effective on their own. Keep an eye out for the flying dragon sweep across the reels - Dragon Wilds are fully stacked 'super symbols' which may be triggered randomly and added to the rightmost reel when a dragon flies over the screen. When the Dragon Wild is in play, it moves one reel to the left on each spin until dropping off the first reel.
Something else to look out for is the golden egg symbol which appears on reels 1, 3, and 5. When 3 scatters are in view, players are awarded 10 Dragon Spins. During Dragon Spins, the dragon becomes more active with a higher chance of activating Dragon Wilds.
Better yet, when a Dragon Wild reaches the leftmost reel, it is locked in place rather than dropping off the slot. In this way, it is possible to stack all five reels in Dragon Wilds. If that happens, a full screen is worth 1,000 times the stake.
For those who like to lay it on the line, after any win of at least 10p, the Gamble feature* can be activated (*may or may not be available). The gamble wheel is split into green or red sections, offering true odds, always playing 100% randomly with a 94% RTP. Players can increase the prize, shortening the odds, or hit play. If the needle on the reel lands on green, players win the gamble. If it lands on red, the prize is forfeit.
Reel Keeper: Verdict
Reel Keeper is a good old fashioned slot that might suit hardened gamblers looking for decent rewards to accompany some highly volatile gaming. The graphics are fine enough, but Reel Keeper tends to the no-frills, all or nothing style of gambling. It's not exactly unmissable, yet it's quite enjoyable.
So is it worth playing the non-jackpot Reel Keeper version? Actually, it has its uses, though it can be a tough egg to crack. The free spins frequency was unavailable, but as an indication, the bonus game triggered for the first time after around 500 or so spins and the RTP was significantly lower. The good news is the feature seems to be relatively generous once you do trigger it (not guaranteed of course). Dragon Wilds ended up locked on reels one and two, leading to an overall positive result.
Another positive is that all of the premiums pay on two of a kinds, which helps. Just be prepared for some third-degree burns from those dragons if you don't trigger the bonus game though. That's the gameplay side of things. When it comes to non-jackpot payouts, the news is fairly rosy. Wins of up to 6,073 times the stake make potential higher than usual from R7.
For some dragon-filled gaming, Reel Keeper can be quite enjoyable if you're ok with the stripped down gameplay and low hit frequency. It's certainly not for everyone, but hardcore gamers in particular may fall head over heals. Throw in the potential for Hourly, Daily, or Big Drop wins where offered, and it's no wonder that Red Tiger’s Jackpot range is a popular choice for many.
Reel Keeper proves that there is still life left in the 10-payline genre.