Tome of Madness (Play'n GO): Review
Play'n GO poster boy and widely travelled veteran adventurer, Rich Wilde, embarks on yet another expedition in search of gold and glory in this H.P Lovecraft inspired game titled Tome of Madness. If you're not familiar with this handsome Indiana Jones lookalike, he's made several appearances in various Play'n GO creations such as Aztec Idols and Pearls of India, but is undoubtedly best known as the "explorer guy" from iconic slot Book of Dead. Sporting a suit vest and red tie combo, Mr Wilde is looking slicker than ever as you will see!
Unlike Wilde's other adventures, we're not taken to a historical place this time. Instead, we travel into the mind of legendary American writer H.P Lovecraft and his fictional universe Cthulhu Mythos, a place ruled by the mighty, and equally feared, godlike creature Cthulhu. Tome of Madness is a cascading slot played on a 5 by 5 grid where winning combinations are formed by landing 4 or more matching symbols horizontally or vertically in a connected cluster, something that can lead to consecutive wins from each spin as winning symbols are removed and replaced by new ones. The main attraction here is the Portal Effects feature which adds Special Wilds while also offering you a chance to trigger additional features. You can play Tome of Madness on desktop computers, mobile devices and tablets from 10 cents to 100€ per spin.
Set inside a dark forgotten hall, you'll see Mr Wilde confidently standing to the right, holding the ancient Book of Madness. Symbols on the reels include lower-value green, blue, red, and purple stones with alien writings on them. More rewarding are the Cthulhu skulls, rings, daggers and octopus pendants, the latter being the most valuable giving you 100 times your stake for a cluster of 10+ symbols. Keep an eye on the Portal Meter to the left of the grid as every win cascade contributes to charging the meter.
There are 3 different wilds on offer here to help you on your way. First you have the book which acts as the standard wild symbol. Then you have a x2 multiplier wild represented by Rich Wilde himself. Finally, the alien-like octopus creature is the Mega Wild which can only appear in the bonus round.
Tome of Madness (Play'n GO): Features
During gameplay, you'll see special positions appear randomly known as Eye Marks. If you land winning combinations on these tiles, 2 Special Wilds will be added on your next losing cascade.
Similar to most other grid games developed by Play'n GO the excitement builds up as you gradually fill the meter, something that will trigger modifier extras as well as various features. A losing spin/cascade, however, will revert the meter back to zero. The Portal Meter awards extras and features accordingly:
- 7 symbols: 2 Special Wilds are awarded and added to the grid.
- 14 symbols: 2 Special Wilds are awarded and added to the grid. If a winning combination is created with any Special Wild at this stage, the Abyss Portal Effect feature is activated.
- 27 symbols: 2 Special Wilds are awarded and added to the grid. If a winning combination is created with any Special Wild at this stage, the Void Portal Effect feature is activated.
- 42 symbols: Reaching this stage will trigger the Other World Free Round feature.
In the Abyss Portal Effect feature, a column or row will be removed from the winning Special Wild symbol with cleared symbols adding to the Portal Meter. If the Void Portal Effect feature is triggered, the Void will choose 1 regular symbol at random and clear all instances of that symbol from the grid.
Filling the meter with 42 symbols triggers the Other Wold Free Round where you're awarded 1 free round with 3 random Portal Effects. Now, over-charging the Portal Meter will give you an additional Portal Effect for every 3 winning symbols collected (but no more than 7 Portal Effects). During the feature, a Portal Effect is activated when no wins are created following a cascade - these are:
- Special Wilds: 4 Special Wilds are awarded and added to the grid.
- Abyss: 4 Special Wilds are awarded and added to the grid. If a winning combination is created with any Special Wild, the Abyss Portal Effect feature is activated.
- Void: 4 Special Wilds are awarded and added to the grid. If a winning combination is created with any Special Wild, the Void Portal Effect feature is activated.
In similar style to Reactoonz (Play'n GO) and its Gargantoon feature, you can benefit from a Mega Wild here as well. During the bonus round, 11 or 12 Eye Mark positions appear in view. If you manage to open all eyes, which is achieved by forming wins on all eye positions, the Mega Wild Cthulhu symbol is added to the grid. It will then move down with each cascade before falling out of view, helping you create bigger wins.
Tome of Madness (Play'n GO): Verdict
As is the case with most of these cascading grid slots from Play'n GO, trying to explain them in writing is far more confusing than actually playing them hands on. As you can probably tell, Tome of Madness is largely built on the Reactoonz template with some elements of other grid slots thrown in as well. Basically, the concept is the same - fill the meter by landing consecutive wins to trigger features and bonuses. In spite of the game being as volatile as Play'n GO slots come, the developers have decided to go with a rather low max win of 2000 times your stake, which we find a bit odd.
As most will likely agree, Play'n GO are incredibly skilled at creating grid slots. Visually, Tome of Madness is of the same high quality as we've become used to and the gameplay is as engaging and thrilling as ever. Moreover, with Rich Wilde being such an iconic character in the world of online slots, brand awareness will undoubtedly have a positive impact. As such, Tome of Madness is a game that will ride on the success of both Mr Wilde and Play'n GO's strong reputation as expert creators of grid slots. It's not their best effort in the category mind you, but it will probably be enough to keep most fans of Play'n GO happy.
Tome of Madness draws you in with pleasing visuals and engaging gameplay, but weak payouts can lessen your fun.