Wheel of Wishes (Alchemy Gaming): Overview
We all know Microgaming is no stranger to the progressive jackpot world. Their ultra-popular Mega Moolah has paid out more in winnings than just about any other slot. It is getting on in years, and someone must have thought it's time for a new game to join their progressive jackpot network. Enter Wheel of Wishes from partner studio Alchemy Gaming. This new developer keeps their cards close to their chest. Apart from being self-proclaimed ‘gaming alchemists’ little information can be gleaned about them from their site. So far, no meet the team section or even address. It is early days though so perhaps more info will be eked out later. Being a brand new studio, Wheel of Wishes is their first and only slot so far. Talk about going large right off the starting block. So has it got what it takes to attract players to the jackpot network?
The title Wheel of Wishes is the name of a feature in the game and gives few clues as to what the game is about. To clarify, it has a desert setting with swirling sands and towering columns of rock. It’s not Egyptian, though it is set in the desert with symbols that have an Arabian Nights flair. One of the key concerns when taking on a progressive jackpot is what bet level to go for. As is usually the case with jackpot slots, the game is upfront about the fact that larger stakes have a greater chance of triggering the Jackpot Bonus. So factoring that in, stakes begin at 20 c/p per spin and can be increased to £/€20. Both stakes and chances can be increased further by the Power Mode feature we will detail below.
Once stakes are set, players hit spin to bring the 5 reel, 3 row game to life. Criss-crossing the reels are 10 paylines where three or more matching symbols cause a payout. Low pay symbols are four colourful card suits as well as a random pink circle tossed in for fun. Better are the premiums which are comprised of a purple amulet, blue potions, a green and gold book, and a chest overflowing with treasure. Topping the table is the mythical genie lamp with returns 10 times the stake for five of a kind. The wild is better, and offers 50 times the stake for a full line, as well as substituting for any symbol except the scatter.
When it comes to figures, there is only one that most people are concerned with – the jackpot! But, let’s take a look at the stats driving the game machine. Firstly, RTP is on the low side but not unusually so for this type of slot. In standard mode, it sits at 93.34%, or 92.24% when Power Mode is active. Both cases include the Progressive Jackpot contributions. Volatility is not just low, but officially ‘very low’ according to the developer. This means patience is required to get anywhere, particularly since there are so few features on board.
Wheel of Wishes (Alchemy Gaming): Features
Alright, let’s start this section off with the headline attraction. Here are Wheel of Wishes’ four Progressive Jackpots and their seed values:
- Mini starts at €10.
- Minor starts at €100.
- Major starts at €50,000.
- Wowpot! starts at €2,000,000.
There are two ways of winning the jackpots. The standard way is by landing two or more scatters anywhere on the reels to trigger a Power Spin (the scatter also pays out 5x, 50x, or 500x the stake when 3, 4, or 5 land respectively). During Power Spins, giant 3x3 symbols take over the middle 3 reels. This includes the new Bonus Wheel symbol. If a full Bonus Wheel lands in view then it awards a spin of the Wheel of Wishes Jackpot Bonus. Like Mega Moolah, the wheel is divided into segments, the smaller the jackpot, the more segments it has. There is one segment for the Wowpot.
The second way of winning the jackpot is to activate Power Mode. With this mode engaged, every spin is a Power Spin which drastically increases the chance of landing a full Bonus Wheel symbol. Obviously, there is a cost involved to do so, and in this case, it is a hefty 10 times the stake on every spin.
Wheel of Wishes (Alchemy Gaming): Verdict
Picking a gambling strategy is not usually as tough as it is with Wheel of Wishes. Confusing the situation is the Power Mode and the increased chances you get with bigger bets. Power Mode makes a significant impact on the chance of triggering full Bonus Wheels, but you can see why the RTP with it is less. When it is activated, the jackpot wheel gets spun more; however, it usually falls on the Mini Jackpot. If you are betting large, especially at max level, then up to 200 credits a pop for a €10 return doesn’t add up. At that rate bankrolls evaporate quicker than drops of moisture in the desert. Of course, it could lead to nabbing over €2 million, and therein lies the allure and risk of progressive jackpots which need to be weighed up. In the case of Wheel of Wishes, when you crunch the numbers, it can feel a little cynical.
Another concern is that if you leave the jackpots out, the rest of the game isn’t that much fun. There are no free spins here like you get with Mega Moolah for instance. When it comes to potential, aside from the jackpot, the best result is landing a full screen of premium symbols. This means single spin wins of 500 times the stake from stacked wilds. Or, far more likely is a screen of lesser symbols. Even the next one down is the lamp which is worth a mere 100 times your bet for a full screen. Combine these possibilities with the game’s very low volatility, and the result is a rather dull base game indeed.
It’s hard to recommend the Wheel of Wishes slot to anyone but the truly desperate jackpot hunter.