Reel King Megaways: Overview
Nearly all iconic slots are bound to receive the Megaways treatment it seems. The darling of the UK slot scene, Reel King, has now received one too. Spend more than five minutes playing online slots, and you are bound to run into the series in some shape or form. Players can thank, or blame, Barcrest/Novomatic for the birth of the series all those years ago in what seems like an Edwardian era of gaming. It proved a hit, since spawning a bunch of follow-ups.
Red Tiger had a crack at modernisation in Reel King Mega (they came so close there, just missing the "ways") which lit up fans, but little else. It took Inspired Gaming to go all way in a two-pronged attack. First, an acquisition of Novomatic’s Gaming Technology outfit, the second, ramming on the licensed Megaways engine from Big Time Gaming. The result is quite the hybrid you’d expect it to be. The classic elements are there, but so are a large number of new features shaking up the gameplay. Overkill or overdue? You’ll know the answer very shortly.
Driving the action is, of course, the Megaways apparatus. For Reel King Megaways, that means 6 rows with 2 to 7 symbols on each. Every spin turns up a different number of symbols, resulting in win ways as ‘low’ as 324 or as high as 117,649. Keeping track of combinations is relatively easy though since three or more matching symbols left to right in any row form a winner (from the leftmost reel).
Visually, Inspired Gaming has done a good job of reproducing the spirit of the older series. A rather plain blue wall sits quietly in the distance while the symbols sit on all white tiles, conjuring up the gaming days of yore. Yet, cast your eyes to the left to the multi-sectioned meter, and you know the King’s got a trick or two up his sleeve. One detail they got wrong, however, is the aspect ratio of the Megaways logo. Not a big issue, but yeah.
There isn’t much audio happening during the base game, apart from a hypnotic ditty each time the reels spin. Other than that, it’s pretty peaceful. It all changes when the features are triggered though. Then you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right into an upper-class ball, with some of the jolliest Back inspired harpsichord action you are likely to hear on a slot.
Playable from 20 p/c to £/€20 per spin, and with a solid 96.23% RTP, Reel King Megaways is not particularity volatile by default, but with the gambling options on offer, it can be extremely volatile if you want it to be. Brutally so actually.
The pay symbols are those familiar cherries, plums, watermelons, 9-A royals, and bags of coins. Coin bags are best since only 2 are required to pay a reward, while 6 of them are worth 50 times the stake. Up above the main reel area is a horizontal 4 position reel. Here is where the jester hat wilds may land, substituting for any other pay symbol when they do.
Reel King Megaways: Features
Reel King Megaways’ features are a mix of old and new, including Cascades, Lit Reels, the Reel King Feature, and Free Spins. Cascades are your standard Megaways mechanic. Every combo triggers a cascade which removes the winning symbols from the reels. New ones fall into the spaces for more chances to win. The cascade feature continues to run as long as winners keep falling.
A staple Reel King feature is the Lit Reels. During the base game, 0 to 6 reels may be lit yellow, accompanied by a familiar ‘Ding!’ sound. One extra reel is lit yellow for each subsequent cascade. If all reels turn yellow, players advance to the Reel King feature. Score another cascade to open up the Super King feature. Or, one or more cascade after that to trigger the Mega King feature.
Each Reel King feature offers a different Free Spins trail and number of Reel Kings, like so:
- Reel King – 8 to 12 free spins + 1 to 2 Reel Kings.
- Super King – 8 to 20 free spins + 2 to 3 Reel Kings.
- Reel King – 8 to 25 free spins + 3 to 6 Reel Kings.
Reel Kings appear over the reels, spinning their own one-line mini slot. Players can win 1x, 2x, 5x, or 10x for mixed, blue, yellow, or red ‘Seven’ symbols. If reels in the mini-slot are yellow, the player moves along the Free Spin Trail. When a Reel King lands a losing combination and has less than 3 lit reels, he is removed from the game. The feature ends when all Reel Kings have been removed. If players end the round on a Free Spins trail position displaying a number, that amount of Free Spins are awarded.
Before Free Spins begin, players have the chance to collect or gamble their free spins. A wheel spins, and if it lands on a green segment, players win the indicated amount of free spins. If it lands on red, free spins decrease, possibly lost. Up to 25 Free Spins in total can be won from the Gamble option.
Free Spins benefit from a win multiplier starting at x1, increasing by +1 with each cascade. There is no limit to how high the multiplier can go, and it does not reset. Cascades also light the reels red, one at a time, starting from the leftmost reel. Reels remain red until the sixth reel is lit. When this happens, the Reel King appears on the reels to increase Free Spins by 1-3, and the win multiplier by 0-3x.
Reel King Megaways: Verdict
Quite cleverly, Inspired Gaming has found a way to delicately tread the middle ground with Reel King Megaways. On the other hand, it’s still Reel King through and through, from the Spartan (yet crisp) visuals to the local pub sound effects.
Small touches help add charm as well, such as the pile of coins at the bottom of the screen, creating a physical arcade vibe. Not to mention, the myriad ways the original has been brought back to life such as the lit reels. The icing are the features, which are intuitively integrated with the Reel King/royal theme.
Unless you are completely sick to death of the King, it’s not a bad Megaways slot. The Reel King series is a bona fide classic some may have felt overdue for a bit of Megaways magic. On the other hand, there may be purists baulking at the prospect of their favourite Humpty Dumpty character being violated by such modern nonsense.
In some ways, the polarising effect of Reel King Megaways mirrors the range of Reel King slots themselves. For some players, Reel King is it, a classic game that will never die. Other players would be keen for a slot voodoo ritual to bring about the franchise’s demise.
At the end of the day, Reel King Megaways is a pretty enjoyable slot and a well made, modern-day edition of one of the most iconic land-based machines ever made. If ever anything was going to push Reel King out of its retro niche into a broader mainstream audience, it is the Megaways engine.
The iconic Reel King series receives a Megaways upgrade while retaining much of its old school spirit in a game that comes out alright.