Do you remember the introduction to the James Bond film Spectre, which started with Bond trying to take down a bad guy during Mexico's Day of the Dead parade? It was one of the most spectacular and eye-catching starts to any Bond film and the stunts and glamour of the parade made it one of the movie-moments of the year.
It is unsurprising then that this celebration has become a popular theme for slot games and Realtime Gaming have now thrown their entry into the ring in the form of The Mariachi 5 slot. A 243 Ways to Win, 5-reel slot that has a maximum jackpot of 2,000x your bet per spin up for grabs.
Playable from just 0.30 per spin, but up to 75.00 per spin for higher rollers, this slot is very easy on the eye and ears but how does the rest of the game live up to the stunning visuals? Is this Day of the Dead celebration going to play out of it's skin, or will the Skeletal remains of the Mariachi 5 haunt you in your sleep?
Let's take a closer look and find out.
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It is fair to say that Realtime Gaming have captured the essence of the Dia de Muertos celebrations perfectly with their slot. The backdrop of a village in celebration is very nicely done with confetti and ticker tape blowing around the streets to the sound of Mariachi music. The symbols on the reels are also nicely presented. The animations are very smooth, and the game is another excellent production from Realtime Gaming.
What's on the reels?
There are essentially three sets of symbols on the reels on The Mariachi 5 slot. The lower paying symbols are all based on playing cards and they run from the nine through to the Ace. The 9, 10 and Jack are the lowest paying with wins of between 3 coins to 50 coins, the Queen, King and Ace offer wins from 5 to 60 coins.
The higher value symbols are the eponymous Mariachi 5 and they are all different colors, the Purple and cyan colored are the lower paying two, the green and Blue are the mid-range paying symbols while the Red Mariachi is the highest paying symbol offering wins of up to 750 coins. The Green, Blue and Red Mariachi all also offer wins for just two coins, although these are small in value.
The other symbols in the game are linked to the bonus features, the Wild and the Scatter and we'll learn more about these below.
The Wild symbol is very easy to spot as it is the word Wild. It is stacked on the second and fourth reels and is used as a replacement symbol only in the game and it does not offer pays for Wilds landed across the reels with each other.
All wins landed with a Wild come with a 2x multiplier in the base game.
Free Spins features
Land three or more of the skeleton piñata donkey Scatter symbols and you will trigger the Free Games bonus feature. Here you get to pick from the Mariachi 5, five skeleton musicians each of whom have their own number of Free Spins (ranging from 15 down to 5) and they are paired with multipliers for wins ranging from 2x to 8x the standard win. The more spins you select, the smaller the multiplier you will receive.
Multiplier wins only apply on any wins completed with a Wild symbol in Free Spins and to help you, extra Wild are added to the reels. There's also a chance to re-trigger the bonus game you select by landing there or more Scatters once again during your Free Spins game.
Re-triggers are rare but can happen, I landed one myself trialing the game, but hitting Free Spins can be a real exercise in patience at times. Landing two or more Scatters also triggers a cash pay-out of between 1x and 200x your total bet.
Other bonus features
Other than the bonus features listed above, there are no additional bonuses to play through on The Mariachi 5 slot.
Best feature of the Mariachi 5 slot
The Wild symbol does liven the base game up and can be key to some of the bigger wins in the base game but it is the Free Spins bonus along with the presentation values which are the top features of the slot. The game looks and sounds great, but the substance is in the different Free Spins bonuses which you can play through to see which is potentially the most lucrative for you.
What does the Mariachi 5 slot lack?
The most glaring omission for me on the Mariachi 5 slot is a base game bonus feature that can be triggered at random. Even if this was just a multiplier on wins (which are evident in the Free Spins round) or a simple pick'em game, it would have alleviated the long spells in the base game when not a great deal happens other than spinning the reels time and time again with no real sign of Free Spins putting in an appearance.
Visually and in terms of audio, the Mariachi 5 slot is a great one to play but unfortunately, it is a bit heavy on the looks side of things and not quite so fecund when it comes to the different types of bonuses and features in the game. The Free Spins round is decent with good options but can be a tough one to trigger, the Wild symbol can land some decent base game wins but the game does get repetitive when Free Spins are hard to trigger. Visually this is a feast but I just think it lacks the appeal to be a long-term favorite for most regular slot fans.
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