The Wild Machine Slot: Overview
Slots from prolific developer Pragmatic Play have been a lucky dip of late. There is no way of predicting what they will come up with next, nor what the quality will be. On a happy note, The Wild Machine does enough to put it on the positive end of the scale. What tips that scale are pleasing aesthetics, a high potential, and a math model that while whimsical, often behaves in a user friendly way. Make no bones though, Pragmatic Play like to make highly volatile slots, and this is another one with sessions that can easily go either way.
The Wild Machine is located in a diabolical lab, run by a scientist who looks suitably eccentric for the role. Picture if you will, Doc Brown from Back to the Future, except this time the lightning struck him instead of the clock tower. The grid setup is also a little eccentric and alternates between a 5x5 and a 1-3-5-7-5-3-1 arrangement that mixes up the gameplay. Interestingly, both configurations use the same number of paylines – 40, though the expanded version pulls in more wilds, which we will look at.
To fire up the machine, users select bet levels from 1-10 and coin values from 0.01 – 0.50. Playing with these configurations means total stakes of 20 p/c up to £/€100 per spin. Look to land combinations of at least 3 of a kind for a payout, and when expanded rows are in play 7 symbol combos are possible.
The symbols available include low pay card suits – hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades, and mid pay keys, compasses, and bags. The framed symbols are premiums and include a potion bottle, a big think leather-bound book, and the Doc himself who is the most valuable. Five of him pay 25 times the stake, or if you get lucky with a line of seven, that will score you a whopping 175 times the stake. Across the paytable, getting seven of a kind is worth 6 times what five of a kind is worth. True to its name, there are plenty of wild symbols to help things along. Combinations of the standard 1x1 wild are worth as much as the Doc symbol, and wilds also substitutes for any other pay symbol.
When the game loads it informs players with a 5/5 on the lightning bolt meter of its highly volatile nature. In spite of this, it doesn't appear to share quite the punishing math model of some other Pragmatic slots, but The Wild Machine can definitely run hot or cold depending on its whims. It’s not a holdout though, a generous default RTP of 96.52% and solid potential ensures that it is capable of decent payouts when it is warming up.
The Wild Machine Slot: Features
The Wild Machine is not the most busy of all slots in terms of features, but there is still a whole lot going on due to all the moving parts. The two main features to look out for are random wild spins, and the bonus wheel which needs to be triggered.
Random wild spins can happen at any time during the base game and occur when the Doc pulls a lever. When that happens, the 5x5 grid transforms into the 1-3-5-7-3-1 configuration with reels 1, 4, and 7 completely wild. This lasts for one spin and resets in preparation for the next.
During the base game, scatters can appear on reels 2, 3, and 4. When 3 land, they trigger the Wonder Wheel feature. This wheel is split into 30 slices with batches of 5 cash prize segments separated by segments of free spins. If the wheel stops on a cash prize, it can keeping moving and collect up to five prizes with one spin. If it lands on Free Spins, then the Free Spins Feature is triggered. The wheel cannot award cash prizes and free spins on the same spin.
If free spins are triggered, then players can opt to play one of the following two bonuses:
- Gold Foundry Free Spins – this round comes with 8 free spins and uses the 5x5 format. On every spin, between 2 and 5 reels are randomly selected to become completely wild.
- Diamond Forge Free Spins – this round has 5 free spins and uses the 1-3-5-7-5-3-1 format. During this round reels 1, 4, and 7 are always wild, and any new wild symbol that lands remains sticky for the duration of the feature.
There is no information on whether or not one bonus is more volatile than the other, but the maximum potential is likely the same. Worth noting is that free spins cannot be retriggered in either of the two bonus games.
The Wild Machine Slot: Verdict
The Wild Machine is a slot that ticks several of the right boxes. It's well designed and has a nice flow that makes it quite playable. What helps is that scatters are numerous and trigger the Wonder Wheel quite frequently. When the game runs hot, free spins rain down like candy in a lolly scramble. When it’s cold, the pointer only ever stops on the prize money. Either outcome helps keep enthusiasm, not to mention bankrolls, buoyant, extending the game’s shelf life.
The Wild Machine isn’t one of those volatile Pragmatic slots that batter you into submission with endless waves of dead spins before deigning you worthy of a feature. Free spins are rarer than instant cash prizes, as you might expect, but still, you know you are going to win something with the Wonder Wheel which is always a nice feeling.
So when free spins do tick over the question is which one to go for? The Diamond Forge comes with fewer spins but seemed to work out best. The key is to land a few lucky wilds in useful positions early and watch the repeat winners stack up with each consecutive spin. In saying that, the Gold Foundry could work well when several wild reels turn up in the right place too. How well? At full potential players spin for wins of up to 7,000 times the stake. A respectable sum to be sure. Overall, The Wild Machine has a lively pace that does a decent job of keeping the game moving and the player engaged.