Shimmering Woods: Slot Overview
Proving they are as comfortable exploring the gentler, mystical side of life as they are hard-hitting topics, Play'n GO immerse players in nature for their slot Shimmering Woods. As we all know, a soft-looking slot is absolutely no indicator of what lurks beneath the surface, and Shimmering Woods is another example of that caveat. Using a mix of dynamic reels and symbols which subdivide like cells, Shimmering Woods' features combine to deliver big, entertaining payouts.
These woods might shimmer, but there is nothing overly striking about them in the day-time at least. Matters improve when night falls for free spins when a mystical glow sets in like the Pandoran bush from the movie Avatar. In the middle of a sunny glade lies a 5-reel, 3-row grid, providing 243 win ways, building into the thousands when splitting symbols, well, split. It's a pretty scene, yet there are few hints this is one of Play'n GO's highest paying slots to date.
While potential is big, volatility isn't quite so much, though, with a rating of 7 out of 10, it's still a fairly capricious beast. As per usual, RTP is variable, so make sure to look out for that - the one to prefer is the one with the 96.2% configuration. Bets are in the usual Play'n GO range of 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin, while allowing players to explore the woods on any device they like.
Having 243 ways means winning combinations are permissible in any row as long as they start from reel one and include at least three matching symbols. Because Splitting Symbols cause win ways to skyrocket, regular win values are held back on their own. First, is a group of woody 10-A card symbols, followed by 4 different higher-value gems. Gems grant payouts of 1 to 3 times the stake when they land in lines of 5. Another gem is used as the wild symbol, landing on all reels. It has the same value as the top diamond premium and can substitute any pay symbol to complete a win.
Shimmering Woods: Slot Features
Play'n GO has tinkered with expanding reel dynamics in the past from Dragon Maiden to 24K Dragon, as well as with splitting symbol features found in Frozen Gems. Few have come close to what Shimmering Woods can achieve though. Expansion mechanics grace all phases of the game, as does a cascade pay system.
The cascade system removes winning combinations when they hit, allowing new symbols to cascade onto the reels to refill empty cells, and possibly forming new wins. This process repeats as long as wins are continually created. While this is going on, a win multiplier is in play. It begins on x1 and increases by 1 after each cascade, then resets at the start of each new spin.
Moving on to where players can get the most out of Shimmering Woods. At the start of each spin, one pay symbol or the wild is highlighted in a box positioned above the reels. Randomly selected, these symbols are called Splitting Symbols and are instrumental in blowing the game up. If the chosen Splitting Symbols hit on the reels, they split into 2, increasing the win ways. At most, players can build a stack of symbols producing 7,776 ways to win.
Landing 3 purple crystal scatters on reels 1, 3, and 5 triggers the free spins round. Before free spins start there is a chance the Shimmer feature splits up to 3 of the scatters, then awarding bonus games, like so:
- 3 scatters – 10 free spins + 1 splitting symbol.
- 4 scatters – 13 free spins + 2 splitting symbol.
- 5 scatters – 16 free spins + 3 splitting symbol.
- 6 scatters – 19 free spins + 4 splitting symbol.
In free spins, the box above the reels is enlarged to hold all pay symbols. The active Splitting Symbols awarded from the Shimmer feature are lit up in this box. Whenever these symbols land, they always split into 2. The win multiplier remains in use during the feature though keep in mind it resets between free spins.
The reason free spins display all symbols in the box is that additional splitting symbols are granted from retriggers. So if 3, 4, 5, or 6 scatters land or appear from another Shimmer feature, an additional 3, 6, 9, or 12 spins are added, plus 1, 2, 3, or 4 extra Splitting Symbols, respectively.
Shimmering Woods: Slot Verdict
Shimmering Woods is another entertaining Play'n GO slot possessing several attributes that make it a highly attractive proposition. For one, Shimmering Woods doesn't pour everything into its bonus round, leaving only desolation for the base. Naturally, interesting things have a better chance of occurring when free spins are active, but main game spins also benefit from cascades, multipliers, and Splitting Symbols. They help tide you over until those three purple crystal scatters land.
Splitting symbols work exceptionally well in Shimmering Woods despite not being completely unique. Similar concepts have cropped up in a number of slots in various forms. They harken back to Nolimit City's xWays mechanic which has been followed by Avatar UX's PopWins range, and tried in ELK's Nitropolis as well. Interestingly, Shimmering Woods doesn't come close to producing anywhere near as many win ways as has been seen in some of those other games, yet it significantly overshadows most when it comes to potential. In fact, its 25,000x potential makes most slots in the Play'n GO catalogue look small in comparison. Play'n GO has been on an upward trajectory when it comes to winning potential, and Shimmering Woods takes another long stride in that direction.
If lady luck's on your side, then Shimmering Woods can produce some stunning reel trickery, leading to potential far above average from this developer. Its looks aren't Play'n GOs absolute best, and the theme might be a bit wishy-washy, but you can't say Shimmering Woods doesn't deliver where it counts.
Players into dynamic reels and symbols wizardry should get a kick out of what Shimmering Woods can do.