Under the Sea! Under the Sea! Darling it's better, down where it's wetter, take it from me! Ah the happy song of Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid is one of the most iconic moments of modern cartoon cinema and there's no doubt that whether it is from Disney films, or perhaps the latest David Attenborough naturalist TV show, the big wide oceans of the world hold a fascination for many.
For me personally, of the millions of creatures that call this watery expanse their home, dolphins are my personal favorite. They are highly intelligent, fun loving and social creatures and have been known to perform extraordinary feats of empathy. Recently, one visitor to a sea park dropped their phone into a dolphin enclosure, only for one of the dolphins to swim to the bottom of the pool, retrieve it and give it back to them!
So, what's not to love about these fabulous creatures, especially when they are all put together in a fantastic slot from WGS Technology called Dolphin Reef. A simple 5-reel slot with a 5,000x jackpot prize and a chance to wager up to 10.00 per line across each of the 25 selectable pay lines.
WGS Technology have made the somewhat brave decision to offer this game without a free spins bonus round, but with a slightly different re-spin bonus instead. So, does this make this aquatic themed game sink or swim? Let's take a closer look to find out.
Where can I play the Dolphin Reef slot?
If you are looking for a great place to try out the new Dolphin Reef slot, or indeed any of the forthcoming releases from WGS Technology, then the place to head for a great value starter bonus is the excellent Red Stag Casino.
As a new customer, you can qualify for the sites new and updated new player bonus which will see you earn up to $2,500 in bonuses across all of your first few deposits on site. A bonus which, if you deposit your cash in a structured way, is relatively easy to make the most out of to ensure you get the best possible bonus you can.
In addition to this, you will also receive up to 500 Free Spins when you sign up too, giving you ample opportunity to sample the wide range of games available on the site, including brand new releases as well as an extensive range of games from the WGS Technology back catalogue of slots.
The presentation of the Dolphin Reef slot is somewhat simplistic. The backdrop, as you would expect, is a watery background but there are not an awful lot off features to look at in the backdrop, so you do tend to focus entirely on the reels. The sound is somewhat simplistic though and in truth it is a little cheesy, especially when the main bonus feature of the slot is in play.
The reels are animated in a simple fashion and they look like general slot reels that you would play in a real game, but in truth this is a slot that looks a lot older than it actually is and I am not sure this retro-styling was entirely intentional.
What's on the reels?
There are a total of ten standard symbols on the reels in the Dolphin Reef base game, plus the two other symbols that are the keys to main bonus features of the slot, the Wild and the Scatter symbols. The lower paying symbols in the game are the playing card symbols and there are six of these with the 9 and 10 being the lowest paying symbols followed by the Queen and Jack and lastly the Ace and King.
Higher value symbols include the seahorse and the starfish, the turtle and the highest paying standard symbol is the clown fish which offers up to 5,000 coins when landed five across a pay line, which if played at the maximum of $10.00 per line, offers a $50,000 top jackpot prize in the base game alone.
The other two symbols are the Scatter, which is the treasure chest and the Dolphin Wild both of which we will explore in more detail below.
The Dolphin Wild symbols only appear on the second and fourth reels and when they land singly, they simply act as a Wild symbol which can substitute for all the lower value symbols and help land better value wins.
However, when you land two Dolphin Symbols on the same spin, then the Re-Spin bonus feature is triggered after any pay outs from the original spin have been paid.
For the Re-Spin feature, the second and fourth reels will turn into pools of water and this means that both reels are entirely Wild. You then receive five re-spins of the first, third and fifth reels with the two full reel Wilds held in place for all five spins. As a nice touch, you will see dolphins leap from one of the Wild reels into the other with each spin.
With two reels completely Wild for your re-spins, it is possible to land some very sizeable prizes and in your re-spin mode, the Wild reels will also substitute as a Treasure Chest scatter (counting as one scatter), should you land one or more on the reels during your re-spins.
Once your re-spins have been played, then the game reverts back to the base game.
Free Spins features
There is no Free Spins feature on the Dolphin Reef slot. Instead, there is a bonus re-spins feature as we explored in the section above.
Other bonus features
The only other bonus feature on the Dolphin Reef slot is the Treasure Chest Scatter symbol. This can appear anywhere across the reels, and when you land three or more anywhere on the reels then you trigger a pay out.
Three treasure chests see a 3x wager awarded, four will see a 10x wager while landing all five across the reels will see a 100x your total bet win awarded. There are no other additional bonuses triggered from the Scatter simply a cash pay out, which is a little disappointing.
Best feature of the Dolphin Reef slot
Obviously the re-spins bonus feature is the best aspect of the Dolphin Reef slot. It offers a chance at some sizeable three, four and five symbol wins as well as making it easier to hit Scatter wins too. It is nicely animated and although five re-spins does not sound like a huge amount, it is still enough often to land a decent sized win.
What does the Dolphin Reef slot lack?
I think the main issue with the Dolphin Reef slot is a lack of Free Spins options. The re-spins bonus is decent enough, don't get me wrong, but I think it would have been better served as a subsidiary bonus playing alongside a standard Free Spins bonus triggered by landing three or more Scatters. The Scatter symbol wins feel like a last-minute add on to the game and don't really contribute a great deal to the slot and that is a real shame as you do feel like a whole part of the slot is missing as a result of this.
To be truthful, the Dolphin Reef slot feels like a game that would have been a huge hit, if it had been released about 10-15 years ago. Back then it's innovative re-spins bonus would have been a real talking point and its lack of Free Spins not really an issue, but modern slots have moved on a great deal since then and while this is still a fun, and potentially lucrative, slot to play, it's lack of key bonus features and simplistic game play are perhaps a little too simplistic for a modern slot gamer who is more expectant of these bonuses and features.
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