Wanted Outlaws Nobleways: Overview
Independent Microgaming partners All41Studios dusts off their in-house developed Nobleways™ game engine for its second outing in Wanted Outlaws. This time, they've dressed it up in spurs and Stetsons for the ever-popular Western slot category. Following All41's track record of borrowing other ideas, you'd be forgiven for expecting a Dead or Alive rehash. It seems the studio has moved on and is forging ahead with more original concepts.
In saying that, Wanted Outlaws Nobleways doesn't offer anything particularly new – starting with the trademarked pay mechanic. Nobleways garnered criticism for not being the most innovative system out there. With Wanted Outlaws it gets even more ambiguous. In Mayan Eagle, Nobleways was the name given to the 15,625 ways to win, whereas Wanted Outlaws provides 3,125 Nobleways. It begs the question, what is Nobleways? For now, it seems little more than a fancy name the studio slaps on any number of win ways they like.
When Western Outlaws loads, players find a 5x5 game area set on the baking hot street of a frontier town. Cartwheels lie strewn about the place, before rows of weather-beaten wooden structures - a familiar scene in Western slots. If you're new to the scene, picture Marty McFly wandering through Hill Valley in Back to the Future 3. A plodding cowboy track completes the picture, again, nothing new but it is homely.
Players saddle up by selecting bets from 10 p/c to £/€100 per spin, across any device. The rest of the stats are a dependable bunch, starting with a solid RTP rating of 96.41%. The base game is devoid of any features, not even a wild shows up there, but a hit frequency of 25.75% helps ease the tedium of waiting for free spins. The wait shouldn't be too long either, since the bonus game theoretically triggers every 139 spins on average. Lastly, hardened gunslingers will appreciate the high volatility, though the potential might not be so cracking as we will see.
Winning on this Nobleways system involves landing three or more identical symbols left to right in any row. One difference is that the Rolling Reels feature has not been included as it was in Mayan Eagle. You get a win, that's it, move on to the next spin.
The paytable is made up of low pay 9-A royals, followed by high pay horseshoes, rope, boots, hat, and pistols. Pistols are best at 20x the stake for five of a kind, and they are the only symbol to pay out for two of a kind. There are also three wanted posters displaying three different baddies. Any combination of at least three of these symbols pays out, but it's during free spins where their real value becomes apparent.
Wanted Outlaws Nobleways: Features
The only feature blowing life through this one horse town is a triggered round of free spins. What you need here are the sheriff badge scatters. They land in any position, so when 3, 4, or 5 are in view, 10, 15, or 20 free spins are awarded.
For one thing, a wild symbol finally enters the game. This is the sheriff himself, landing on reels 2-5, substituting for all symbols to complete winning combinations. Another change during free spins is the wanted posters now have bounty values attached to them.
When wanted posters land at the same time as a wild symbol, the sheriff collects all of their bounties. If more than one wild is present, the bounties are awarded multiple times. The value of the bounties is based on multipliers of the total bet. The masked man awards 2x, 5x, 10x, the lady is worth either 15x, 20x, or 25x, while the mustachioed man is always worth 200x. At the end of the round, the bounty is paid. Hopefully, it's a good amount, because free spins cannot be retriggered.
Wanted Outlaws Nobleways: Verdict
It took a bit of time to warm to Wanted Outlaws. At first, there was nothing to get excited about and little during the base game to latch on to. After a while, a certain charm started to shine through, and the gameplay became quite relaxing, though there are limits to what Wanted Outlaws can offer.
Compared to Mayan Eagle, Wanted Outlaws felt the more pleasant experience. If anything, it shows how hard it is to go wrong with the Western theme. On that note, you can't ignore the fact Wanted Outlaws is pretty generic in many ways. It certainly doesn't add much to the Western genre which wasn't there before. We get the same scenery, sounds, and characters you usually find in this type of game. That doesn't mean Wanted Outlaws is completely unenjoyable though.
The base game is uneventful, there's not a whole lot to it, not even a wild. But the fact you're not waiting around forever for free spins helps. When free spins are active, the poster collection feature is quite fun when the bounties pile up. Yet a bad bonus game does make you question whether leaping back into the base game saddle is worth it.
When it comes to potential Western Outlaws presents another puzzle. Sure, the game comes with a pretty enticing tagline - 2,500 times the stake on a single spin. What fires a bullet through the dream is that during a billion simulated spins the largest wins at the max bet were up to 1,000x. A nice round figure to be sure, but it does dent the enthusiasm.
What's leftover is a nice enough slot if you're after something light and breezy, though not one you’re likely to rush back to after playing it once. Wanted Outlaws is fine for what it is – a relaxing Western jaunt with a bonus game that has possibilities. The main issue is there's nothing that hasn't been done better elsewhere.
For some relaxed Western-lite gaming, Wanted Outlaws Nobleways could be okay. For any sort of edge, novelty, or major thrills it’s unlikely to win a shootout.