Secret of Dead: Slot Overview
Put 'Shai' into a search engine, and two things top the page one results. One is a 90s R&B group whose song 'If I Ever Fall in Love' reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The other is a reference to Ancient Egypt. Going off the latter source, Shai refers to the concept of fate, or the God of Fate, in Ancient Egyptian belief and has been used by developer Play'n GO, in another one of their long line of 'book of' slots. Titled Secret of Dead, it mixes elements of predecessor slots Scroll of Dead, and Legacy of Dead.
Secret of Dead has a very recognisable look right from the get-go, bringing to mind a number of previous games that stretch right back to the original Book of Dead. There's no Rich Wilde in this one, though, nor his daughter Cat. It's pretty much all classic symbology of the ancient past. However, feels of familiarity are interrupted by the fact Secret of Dead uses six reels instead of the customary five found in these games. Scroll of Dead had six, but the sixth reel was locked in the base game, only throwing off its shackles when the bonus game triggered. Here, it is free at all stages of play. That's one of the relatively minor variations in a game which looks and feels very familiar, attractive, but familiar.
Fairly volatile (8/10), it uses 6 reels and 3 rows in combination with 1-10 adjustable paylines. Wins hit when three or more matching symbols land left to right from the first reel onwards – gone are the two symbol premium wins. While searching for ancient treasure, be on the lookout for RTP, as it is customisable from 96.2% in the best-case scenario to sub-90 at worst, depending on the market. Any device may be used to uncover the secret, where stakes vary from only 1 p/c up to £/€100.
The symbols used are also very similar to Scroll of Dead, where we find 10-A card royals worth up to 25x your stake for six of a kind. These are followed by cobras, scarab beetles, cats, and presumably a representation of Shai, where 6 premiums on a line will get you 100 to 500 times your stake.
Secret of Dead: Slot Features
If you've played a 'book of' game before, you'll be well acquainted with the core concepts used in Secret of Dead. Instead of a book symbol, though, the one to look out for is the Ankh. Ankhs are both wild and scatter, so they substitute any other symbol in the game and landing at least 3 of them at once triggers the bonus round.
Specifically, when 3, 4, 5, or 6 Ankhs are in view, players collect a payout of 1x, 10x, 50x, or 250x the bet, plus 8, 10, 12, or 15 free spins, respectively. Before free spins start, one of the pay symbols is randomly chosen to be the special expanding symbol. When chosen symbols land in free spins, they expand to cover all positions on their reel if they can form a win. Expanded symbols pay all active paylines from any positions – they do not have to be adjacent to create winning lines.
Should 3 or more scatter symbols land during the bonus round, two things happen. One, +5 additional free spins are awarded, and another pay symbol is randomly selected to be an expander as well.
Lastly, Secret of Dead may arrive with an optional gamble feature where players can try to multiply their prize. When selected, players can double their prize by guessing the correct colour of a face-down card or quadruple it by guessing the right suit. Players can gamble up to 5 times or up to the value of 2,500 coins.
Secret of Dead: Slot Verdict
Play'n GO certainly goes in for 'book of' games, and Secret of Dead keeps the range ticking along. This one leans to the slightly less innovative side, seeing as its two deviations from the usual book blueprint are the sixth reel and the extra special symbol in free spins – both of which Play'n GO has used in the past. Perhaps this is the first time the studio has brought both elements together in one spot, though it's tough to keep up with them all. Play'n GO's book slots do tend to be highly professional productions that are hard to fault, other than their tendency to be a bit samey at times.
A similar criticism could be aimed at Secret of Dead as it doesn't offer a whole heck of a lot that isn't available in previous incarnations. The changes are largely technical and sort of balance each other out. For example, players get the active sixth reel at all times here, whereas you have to trigger free spins in Scroll of Dead to activate it. However, six symbol combinations are worth less in Secret of Dead, so full screen expanded symbol wins are less impressive. However, now you can win more free spins depending on how many scatters trigger the feature and generally larger scatter prizes. As such, it's tough to unpick all of these things and say what is more beneficial from a technical perspective. Perhaps choosing based on gut reactions is just as effective. Secret of Dead does offer greater potential than its forerunners, though, which might seal the deal. This time around, max win tops out at 10,000x the bet (when using all ten paylines), double the usual 'book' amount.
At the rate Play'n GO is churning these games out, there won't be many secrets left in Ancient Egypt to uncover. We jest, of course, and as we said, Secret of Dead is tough to fault, being a slick, well presented 'book' alternative which packs enough tweaks to get a few Ra fans interested.
Secret of Dead’s minor changes to the usual ‘book of’ run of things makes it intriguing rather than unmissable for fans of this style.