Savanna Roar: Slot Overview
In October 2020, it was announced that Yggdrasil had signed up emerging mobile-first game developer Jelly through its insatiable YGS Masters Programme. Nearly a year later, their first slot rolled off their production line. To say the YGS Masters Programme has been a mixed bag is putting it lightly, firing off slots in a vast range of styles, themes, and quality. You get the impression Jelly has aimed for the middle ground with Savanna Roar, a safe game that is in no way ground-breaking, but which also does its best not to put a step wrong.
With YGS, there is simply no telling what to expect next from the patchwork quilt of studios, though in this case, there are a few clues about Savanna Roar from its title. We are indeed back in the heated lands of Africa, the sun rising over a fecund savanna full of wild animals, mountains, acacia trees, and flocks of birds. It's a view experienced players will be well acquainted with, and Jelly has ticked boxes to pull it off to an adequate degree. However, the palate is a little flat, meaning Savanna Roar doesn't have the dazzling colour some African themed slots do, though it does blaze brighter during free spins. The soundtrack is a good one, being an uplifting choral number that is pleasant on your ears.
To satisfy Savanna Roar's target demographic, the math model has been set to medium/high while producing a theoretical return to player value of 96.5%. Potential is quite high, aided by a round of free spins and half a dozen animal-based modifiers. It all takes place on a 5x4, 1024 ways action area, allowing stakes from 25 p/c to £/€100 per spin.
Winning combinations occur at a rate of roughly 1 in 3 spins when 3 or more matching symbols land in adjacent reels from reel number 1. Jelly keeps it simple by filling the grid with 8 regular pay symbols split between Q-A card ranks and four premium beast symbols. These are buffalo, rhinos, leopards, and elephants worth 0.8 to 8x the bet for a five of a kind winning combination. The king of the jungle doesn't miss out in Savanna Roar either, appearing on the wild to substitute for any paying symbol to help complete ways wins.
Savanna Roar: Slot Features
The studio's stated goal was to supply straightforward mechanics, which they've done, though players get quite a few features to liven the game. Here you'll come across four base game modifiers, a respin feature, and a free spins bonus game. The base game modifiers can be triggered randomly on any paid spin:
- Rhino Stampede! – turns random positions into mystery symbols which transform to reveal the same matching type.
- Wild Leopard Spotted! – all leopard symbols in view turn wild.
- Buffalo Charge! – any buffalo symbol in view may spread to adjacent reel positions.
- Untamed Elephant Spotted! – any elephant symbol in view may expand into a 3x3 sized symbol.
When triggered, the respins feature locks reels with bonus symbols in place and awards a respin. If additional bonus symbols land on the spun reels, they are locked as well, and another respin is awarded. Respins continue until no further bonus symbols land, potentially activating free spins.
Landing 6 or more bonus symbols triggers the free spins game. Specifically, landing 6, 7-8, 9-11, or 12-20 bonus symbols award 10, 12, 15, or 25 free spins from the base game or retriggers them if the bonus is currently active. During free spins, a couple more modifiers may appear. One is the Wild Leopard Multiplier that turns leopard symbols wild and gives them multipliers of x1, x2, or x3. Also, landing 5 or fewer bonus symbols triggers the Savage Lion modifier, where the bonus symbols in view turn wild.
Savanna Roar: Slot Verdict
Savanna Roar isn't exactly daring, livin' on the edge game design, but it is a reliable debut from the new studio. Nothing from the theme to the features is particularly imaginative, so don't pick Savanna Roar if you want to see wild creativity while you’re playing a slot. It's understandable in a way since this is Jelly's first release, and they want to make a good impression. Like a first date, you don't want to let all the skeletons out of the closet. Then again, you want some of your personality to shine lest you come across too starchy. Savanna Roar tends towards mediocrity since it was so cautiously designed.
On a positive note, there are quite a lot of features in Savanna Roar, so players in its scope have plenty to enjoy. Again, all are carefully curated effects which have popped up in slots since forever, so there is little in the way of innovation. It is the sheer number of them that do their best to keep up player interest. Triggering free spins with a minimum of 6 scatters might seem a lot, but they appear in stacks of threes on the reels, so not as tall an order as you might think. During testing, they landed in threes, so two reels were usually enough to launch the bonus game. Plus, you get the locking respins feature, lending a helping hand.
That just leaves winning potential, and this is one thing about Savanna Roar which doesn't disappoint. During a billion simulated spins, Jelly managed to get the game stampeding and recorded a win of 10,459 times the stake.
Jelly's aim with Savanna Roar was to produce a slot for players who prefer simplicity over complex games, using a familiar theme and proven mechanics. Job done in this case, as Jelly has nailed its objectives; however, Savanna Roar is so familiar as to be forgettable. Now the cherry's popped, hopefully Jelly can let more of their individual creativity shine next time.
Everything about Savanna Roar has been carefully selected to produce a solid enough, yet seen it all before, debut from Jelly.