Wild Harlequin: Slot Overview
Wild Harlequin from developer Quickspin is a slot full of those famously flirtatious looking harlequin types that appear in the slot world, and yes, they adorn full reel wilds, which are instrumental in forming the game's most exciting moments. As you might also have guessed, Wild Harlequin is a Vegas-y looking slot, with a 1930s slant, simple in some ways but also surprisingly lucrative if you can push those harlequin wilds to their limits.
Harlequin populated slots are pretty numerous, so if you're used to playing them, you might think Wild Harlequin is still in production – mainly due to its music. Instead of some banging dance track, inspiring players to reach for the lasers, it's an elegant jazz club, Minnie the Moocha type tune. This is no bad thing either, putting you on the backfoot, creating a deceptively laid-back attitude at odds with what the rest is capable of. In saying that, when the game is running against you, the music can feel like you're in a mob movie about to get whacked by the Don. It's not till free spins trigger that the band comes to life, kicking the party up a gear with some sweet keyboard soloing. The graphics have been kept to a minimum, with a plain burgundy background in the main game, switching to scrolling card suits on the walls in free spins.
In a plot twist, Wild Harlequin is actually set in the back tent of an independent circus, where the action plays out on a 5-reel, 10-payline game panel. Quickspin states, 'it's all smoke and mirrors in this show,' so while Wild Harlequin might look relatively basic, it's actually a pretty massive game, boasting a highly volatile math model to match. The RTP comes in three levels depending on how you choose to play – 96.27% naturally, rising to 96.5% for the 80x feature buy or 96.76% for the 200x option.
Playable from 10 p/c to £/€100 per spin, wins hit when three to five matching symbols land adjacently from the first reel on the left. Low pays are spades, clubs, diamonds, and hearts, while mid pays are sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds. Mids are worth 3 to 7.5 times the stake for five of a kind, leaving the wild as the sole high pay symbol worth 10x for five of a kind.
Wild Harlequin: Slot Features
The wild is also the gateway symbol to all the game's features, including nudges, and free spins, which come with progressive individual reel multipliers. All Wild Harlequin symbols are stacked 3 rows high, and if they land partially in view, they always nudge to cover the whole reel, substituting any regular pay symbol. When 3 or more Wild Harlequins land at the same time, 10 free spins are awarded.
In free spins, the reels that held the triggering wilds become Magic Reels. Any Wild Harlequin which lands on a Magic Reel increases the associated win multiplier by +1. Every time a Magic Reel reaches a multiplier of 5 (x5, x10, and so on), +2 additional free spins are awarded. Any win, including a Wild Harlequin on a Magic Reel, is multiplied by the reel's multiplier. If more than one Magic Reel multiplier is involved in the win, then each is multiplied by each other. For example, a win including 3 Wild Harlequins on Magic Reels carrying values of x3, x3, and x7, creates a total multiplier of x63.
If buying entry to free spins is permitted where you play, then you'll have two options to choose from. The lower level one costs 80x the bet, which initiates a spin guaranteeing at least 3 Wild Harlequins hit. Option two costs 200x the bet and guarantees at least 4 Wild Harlequins.
Wild Harlequin: Slot Verdict
Wild Harlequin might feel familiar if you've played Harlequin Carnival xNudge from Nolimit City. Both share similar characters as well as features revolving around nudging full reel harlequin wild symbols. Yet the differences are such to make them second cousins rather than a couple of squabbling siblings. Thematically, Nolimit went with a fancy masked Venetian approach in their soirée, while Quickspin's' game is closer to the traditional harlequin/fruit slot sort of deal. As always, having options is a bonus for players, and when you dig into the features, what both slots can do separates them further.
Wild Harlequin is more a game of two halves than its competitor, in part because there is less chance of its base game doing something special. Nolimit's Harlequin Carnival's full reel wilds always came with a multiplier when they nudged, which then led to respins. Wild Harlequin's base game wilds, by comparison, do nothing except nudge and substitute. It means the base game is more predictable, less volatile and usually less exciting. The situation certainly changes when free spins trigger, though, and having the chance to buy them will no doubt be appreciated by many.
On a side note, it was interesting how many times we bought the feature and ended up collecting more coins from the triggering spin than what the bonus game itself produced. Other times, the dream scenario occurred where triggering Wild Harlequins landed on all five reels setting everything up nicely for the free spins to follow. In other words, the free spins game is very volatile and all over the show as a result. Since reel multipliers multiply each other, if you find yourself on Wild Harlequin's generous side, the returns can be outstanding, maxing out at around +1,000x the reference bet during our testing sessions. Speaking of potential, it's not bad, allowing wins of up to 30,000 times the stake in the best of scenarios.
As such, Wild Harlequin is a lot fierier and potentially rewarding than most harlequin slots tend to be. It might come across as loungey, a bit low key a lot of the time, yet give it the right prod, and Wild Harlequin has all the right ingredients to go nutty.
Wild Harlequin is a nod to the classic fruit slots genre that makes chasing big wins a rather entertaining pursuit.