As far as Megaways slots go, Vikings Unleashed: Megaways, by Blueprint Gaming, doesn’t pull any punches. In almost every way, this slot is a direct clone of Big Time Gaming’s “Extra Chilli,” itself just a slight upgrade of their previous insanely popular game Bonanza.
We know that both of those games must have been huge money-spinners, perhaps even taking away from the profits of other slot manufacturers. The lack of any real effort to differentiate Vikings Unleashed: Megaways from those previous games is a little surprising; unless you are a massive fan of slots based on Nordic mythology, what reason is there to play this game over Extra Chilli?
Vikings Unleashed: Megaways Overview
Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the duration of the Megaways craze, I’ll do my best to provide a brief overview of their operation here. Most Megaways games feature six reels, each with a minimum of two and a maximum of seven “rows” that are randomly determined each time you spin the reels. This configuration is why Megaways slots are usually described as having “up to” 117,649 ways to win.
Symbols that form part of winning combinations will explode or, occasionally, be immediately removed from the layout using a more creative method. If the icons being removed are part of the main play area, they will be replaced by new ones falling in from the top. If a winning way includes a symbol from the top row of four boxes shown above reels two through five, those will be replaced with new icons sliding in from the right instead.
If this all sounds a little bit confusing, I wouldn’t worry – some have speculated that these slots are intended to be pure sensory and mental overload, yet in a way that uses clever tricks and psychology to make them especially fun and addictive. Me? I don’t believe a word of it!
Spinning the Reels for the First Time
I initially confused Vikings Unleashed: Megaways with another Megaways slot with a similar theme, so I was caught a little off-guard for the first few moments, expecting to see a more familiar game. Opening the pay table, however, I soon realized that while the game’s name might be different and the graphics arguably somewhat prettier, it could just as easily HAVE been that other game.
One of the reasons why many of the Megaways slots end up feeling so similar is the apparent lack of flexibility in the underlying math model. Think about it: If you have the possibility of winning on over 100,000x pay ways simultaneously, you can’t exactly be having a lot of big hitters on the paytable.
Nevertheless, the top paying symbol does at least pay $50 on a $1 bet for a full line of six. Sadly, this is at the expense of the rest of the paytable being something of a damp squib – the next symbol down is worth just $7.50 for that same full line.
Thankfully, Megaways slots have another great trick up their sleeve…
Free Spins Feature
Catch four scatters during the main game, and you will be rewarded with twelve free spins. The number of spins increases to 17 or 22 if you are lucky enough to make it five or six scatter symbols, although I have never managed to hit all six on a single spin on any Megaways slot – yet!
You don’t receive a multiplier by default at this stage, but you can choose to use a pie gamble feature if you want to start your bonus round with one. If you are feeling a little crazy, you can even choose to keep on gambling all the way to a maximum of a 10x multiplier and 27 free spins!
Once you are in the free spins feature, the regular scatters are removed from the reels. Despite this, you can still win additional free spins in blocks of five at a time via specific free spin scatters. These appear only in the four boxes along the top of the screen and don’t come along often, so it might be worth trying to grab a few extra spins from the pie gamble. Keep in mind that you will lose your bonus altogether if you lose, though.
The big attraction of the bonus in the Megaways slots is, of course, the “unlimited” multiplier, which continues to increase every time a winning combination is removed from the reels. As a result, this means that you can boost the multiplier by ten or more times on every single free spin.
It’s that single detail of the free spins feature that has, in my opinion, made games such as Vikings Unleashed: Megaways so popular with players. Nextgen’s 300 Shields was another enormously popular title because of the possibility of getting a massive multiplier in its free spins.
And, just like that game, the most heartbreaking thing of all is if you DO manage to build your multiplier up all the way and then don’t manage to hit anything worthwhile when you get there.
Vikings Unleashed: Megaways Bonus Buy Feature
Vikings Unleashed: Megaways finally does something a little unique with its bonus buy feature, which allows you to choose between several numbers of free spins at a range of prices and, therefore, RTP’s.
The difference in RTP is slight, and, at first, the options don’t appear to make much sense – why do ten spins cost three times as much as five? And why do 12 spins seem like an even more flawed deal? It all comes down to that “unlimited” multiplier – the more free spins you get to play, the bigger the chance you have of reaching a higher multiplier.
This additional option is an excellent addition, particularly because the pie gamble allows you to still get the complete 12 free spins for one-quarter of the cost. The added ability to start with a 10x multiplier is ok too, but this is riskier – it’s much easier to accumulate a 10x multiplier from just playing your free spins than it is to win an extra seven free spins.
Vikings Unleashed: Megaways – Our Verdict
Apart from the changes to the bonus buy feature, it’s just another Megaways slot. If you haven’t played one before, this isn’t a bad place to start; if you have, then you’ve pretty much seen it all before. Still a great game, though.
|Slot Released||6th December 2018|
|Category:||Video Slot (Megaways)|
|Special Features:||Bonus Buy, Ascending Multiplier Free Spins, Cascading Reels, Pie Gamble|
|Paylines||Up to 117, 649 Ways|
|RTP (Bonus Buy Feature Only):||96.75% – 5 Free Spins (Cost: 25x Stake)|
96.89% – 8 Free Spins (Cost: 50x Stake)
96.90% – 10 Free Spins (Cost: 75x Stake) 96.91% – 12 Free Spins (Cost: 100x Stake)
|Maximum Win:||50,000x Stake ($250,000 at Max Bet)|