The first thing that struck me about the name Winalot was that I thought I had heard this name before and it took me a second or two to realize that the inspiration for this slot might be the Microgaming progressive jackpot slot King Cashalot. Although it should be noted, King Winalot is not a progressive jackpot slot.
King Winalot is a 25 selectable lines slot with 5x3 reels and a jackpot of 500 coins in the base game and the question is, whether King Winalot does enough in his own right to rule over a kingdom that is going to be appealing to slots players from all over the country?
So is this a prince of slots, or are we looking at a jester? Let's take a closer look and find out.
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The presentation of the King Winalot slot is nicely done, the sound is very majestic and regal and the little cartoon introduction which sees the castle and the drawbridge coming down allowing you to enter, is also very neatly done.
The symbols on the reels are done in a very caricature way and it actually does fit in nicely with the way the slot feels. It is colorful, cheerful and hits the right note with players. The animations are smooth and while there isn't anything that is going to blow you away with how the game looks and plays, there is still enough to make you want to play a few spins at the very least.
What's on the reels?
There are not actually that many symbols on the King Winalot reels. They start with the lowest value symbols, and my word they are low value, in the four playing card symbols, heart, diamond, spade and club and for once, these symbols do fit in very nicely with the theme of the slot. Win values though are small, as low as one coin, which means with 25 lines in play, you are not going to win very much at all on three symbol wins.
There are three higher value symbols, the jester, the princess and the rather grouchy looking queen, who is the highest paying symbol with a jackpot of 500 coins for five across a pay line, which is considerably more than any other symbol can offer.
Alongside those symbols are a Wild symbol,a bonus symbol and a Scatter symbol all of which are linked in with the main bonus features of the slot.
King Winalot is the Wild symbol in this game and he appears on all five reels and on each reel the Wild symbol can be stacked up to three symbols high, so it can completely cover the reel. This is an important symbol in the base game and Free Spins as it is often through landing this symbol at least once, and more often repeatedly across the reels, that some of the bigger value wins in the game can be landed.
Free Spins features
There is a Free Spins bonus game that is accessed when you land three or more of the Princes Scatter symbol, he's the rather long-faced chap with a goatee and crown placed at a jaunty angle on his head. Three Scatters earns you seven free spins, while four will give you 11 free spins but land all five and you get the maximum 21 free spins.
One positive is that you can re-trigger Free Spins in the game but there is a real issue with the bonus and that is some of the returns can be very small indeed, sometimes barely more than your standard bet. The reels also seem to be the same as used in the base game with no extra incentive for players in the Free Spins round, which is a little disappointing. There should have been at least some multipliers in play in the Free Spins round to improve the value of some of the lower value wins.
Other bonus features
The other main bonus feature on the slot is the King's Chest Pick'Em Bonus round, which is triggered when you land three or more of the Bonus Lock and Key symbols on the reels on any given spin.
This is a simple selection game where you unlock the different treasure chests to win a cash prize. It's a simple enough game but you can win some decent amounts of cash in the bonus, or you can pick up just a small amount in an echo of how the base game generally plays.
Best feature of the King Winalot slot
There are a couple of decent bonus features on the King Winalot slot. The Free Spins round is good and is not that difficult to trigger and the bonus game is also decent enough and offers you the chance of some sizeable wins (although on each, the payouts can be volatile), but it is the Stacked Wild King Winalot symbol that wins the day for me as without it, the base game would be pretty much unplayable as it is usually through landing this symbol in combination with others that you will land the bigger value wins.
What does the King Winalot slot lack?
I don't feel the King Winalot slot lacks anything at all in terms of actual game play, content or bonuses, but where it does fall down is on the value of wins. In particular, the low value wins are so low as to make them almost punitive. Wagering, say $2.50 per spin, a $0.10 return on that bet cannot be said to be a win as it is 1/25th of your total bet. That is staggeringly poor value and unfortunately, this issue permeates throughout the slot as a result because as a player, you do feel like you are being taken advantage of a little.
In many ways, King Winalot is a decent slot. The game looks and sounds fine, it has a trio of very good bonuses that trigger relatively frequently (when compared with other slots) and you can win up to 500 coins in the base game as standard. All well and good then, well no as the slot is stymied by ridiculously low value wins in the base game that offer a return of less than a tenth of your bet and it is these wins which predominate the game-play. That takes a huge amount of sheen off what would otherwise be a playable and enjoyable slot. This is not the first Rival Gaming slot to have this issue and I am willing to bet, it won't be the last either.
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