Sherlock Bones: Slot Overview
Sherlock Bones from developer Electric Elephant puts the infamous detective through a therianthropic press, turning him into a doggie with a magnifying glass and a bone fixation. Accompanying the detecto-pup in this Relax Gaming powered adventure is his trusted pal Watson (also in dog form), as they chase arch-nemesis Moriarty (a cat) though London. Chasing is an apt word too since the key Rolling Respins feature involves walking Sherlock Bones wild symbols, which expand themselves, as well as reels, ways, and potential wins when triggered.
Moody skies greet players when Sherlock Bones hits the screen. A 5-reel, 3-row grid hovers in mid-air above the tiled rooves and chimneys of late Victorian/early Edwardian London. It's a grim scene, and you can well imagine all manner of villains cruising the poorly lit streets getting up to no good. Activating the Rolling Respins feature triggers a downpour, so some might jokingly say Sherlock Bones has fairly encapsulated the English climate. Bones' soundtrack provides some relief, being a mysterious Holmes' inspired jingle that suits the canine/ feline hijinks on the reels.
Playable on any device, Sherlock Bones lets players pick stakes from 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin. On the technical side of things, volatility has been rated by the London based studio at 3 out of 5, putting it into medium territory, while RTP is solid at 96.21%. Sherlock Bones can be separated into two distinct modes – base game and respins. The base game can really meander, despite benefiting from stacked symbols and 243 ways to win, while respins are where every part of the game gets the chance to blast off, including thrills. Respins don't often trigger, though, since each one is guaranteed to pay something.
Wins begin on the first reel, paying left to right for three or more matching symbols. Seven regular pay symbols are on hand to land wins, consisting of Kings, Aces, pipes, magnifying glasses, paw prints, Watson as a dog in a bowler hat, and Moriarty - a cat with a monocle. These latter two are the premiums, worth payments of 6 -10 times your stake for five of a kind. Symbols can land stacked so full-screen wins are possible, mounting in value during the feature, when extra rows may be added.
Sherlock Bones: Slot Features
Sherlock Bones' headliner is its trademarked Rolling Respins feature. How it works is when the Sherlock Bones wild symbol lands, it unlocks a special row beneath the main reels. This bonus reel spins horizontally, displaying only empty spaces or bones. If a bone lands beneath a wild symbol, the wild turns sticky, expands downwards and Rolling Respins are triggered. Wilds replace any other symbol, appearing only on reels 2, 3, 4, or 5.
During the feature, players are awarded respins until they receive a win. After each win, all sticky wilds walk one reel to the left and a new row is added to the top of the grid. Up to 4 rows may be added, increasing ways to win up to 16,807. Wilds also grow by one position when they walk. If new wilds appear, they unlock the bonus reel and turn sticky if a bone symbol lands beneath them. Rolling Respins end when all walking wilds have tottered off the reels.
Sherlock Bones: Slot Verdict
Sherlock Bones comes across as an okay slot for dog or cat lovers to have few giggles with while playing. Rolling Respins can be a load of fun, but several other elements in the game feel underdone. The main problem is that with just one feature to look forward to, there's not much else happening most of the time. The animals are endearing, yet the combination of dreary weather, dull-looking reels, and pedestrian gaming mean Sherlock Bones suffers from extended patches of unexciting gaming.
Part of the reason is Rolling Respins take their sweet time to trigger. This makes sense as they are essentially win spins, with expanding reels, ways and stacked symbols so can be profitable. Since Electric Elephant has gone to the bother of trademarking Rolling Respins, players are likely to see them again at some point. That wouldn't be a bad thing because the feature feels a little unfulfilled in Sherlock Bones. It's hard to put your finger on it, but something’s missing. Perhaps Sherlock Bones would have benefited from an additional feature, or a lesser modifier to remedy the lack of variety. As it is, most of the time, you're sitting through a stack of regular humdrum spins, hoping for Rolling Respins to drop and help win your money back.
The theme treatment comes across a bit confused at times too. It is nice Electric Elephant went with animals rather than humans for a change, yet they seem wildly out of place. The atmospheric background, music, and clanking cogs do a great job of invoking an almost Steampunk-like mood, but it’s one at odds with the three cheerful animals. Another problem is the characters don't quite have enough personality to make Sherlock Bones a really zany game in the way something like Piggy Riches or The Dog House did. Lastly, dogs and cats are ground animals, while the background imagery suggests something airborne like pigeons. Okay, that's a nit-pick but the contrast creates a discord that a dog's eye view of London's mean streets might have avoided.
All up, the personified animals do make Sherlock Bones a light-hearted game, which should entertain certain players. Perhaps we've been spoilt with Holmes themed slots recently from the highly atmospheric Moriarty Megaways to the massive jackpots found in Sherlock & Moriarty Wowpot. Sherlock Bones lacks the firepower to compete with the likes of those two. However, it has a charm, and the Rolling Respins feature has the potential to be effective should it be used in future Electric Elephant games.
While an okay game, it feels like Electric Elephant could have squeezed more out of Sherlock Bones.