Games Related to Winter Wonders
One of my favorite things about some slot games is their quirkiness. For some people, something unusual or out of place in a slot game may appear to be a bad thing, but I rather like it as I find it somewhat memorable and it helps cement a clear image of that slot game in my mind.
Red Tiger Gaming's Christmas slot Winter Wonders seems at first to be like any other Christmas slot game. It has the usual 5 reels, 15 lines and pretty much is standard in every way apart from one. Among all the Christmas paraphernalia on the reels, is for some reason, a cup of tea.
Now I am sure I am not the only person who doesn't understand why a cup of tea is viewed as Christmassy, or indeed a Winter Wonder. People in the UK drink cups of tea if it is 30c outside and the roads are melting. However, because of its sheer madness, I love this inclusion on the slot and it has made Winter Wonders instantly memorable for me.
In almost all other respects this is your standard Christmas slot, so let's take a closer look at how it shapes up.
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Winter Wonders begins with a rather pleasant animation introducing the game and then the reels load up and they are set against a big mound of snow, with a couple of snowmen at the top of the reels and some bare trees (why are they not covered in snow too? Who knows. Maybe this is ground-seeking snow). The backdrop is rather simplistic if we're being brutally honest and it isn't going to win any design awards or technical gongs for achievement.
All the main controls are under the reels and the five reels dominate the middle of the screen. A nice touch is to have the 15 lines all highlighted by fairy lights either side of the reels and these light up when a win line is triggered. You can use Auto Play as well as the spin button to get the reels spinning and you can wager from one coin to five coins per line. You can select the number of lines, but playing all 15 is the preferred option here.
And now this brings me onto the sound and remember I said that Winter Wonders was quirky? Well, when it comes to sound quirky turns into incredibly annoying with a Christmassy jingle that plays for about 3 seconds just looped over and over again. I think I heard it five times before I reached for the mute button. Then when the reels spin all you are left with is a strange growling sound as the reels spin. I have absolutely no idea who designed the soundtrack to this slot, but I am pretty sure they had got out of bed on the wrong side that morning.
What's on the reels?
We've already touched upon what is on the reels slightly. I'm glad to report that there is no sign of the playing card low symbols on this slot and instead what you have are some Christmassy themed symbols, and of course that elephant in the room of the cup of tea. A bauble, turkey, holly, candles, a Christmas present, a Christmas stocking and the cup of tea are all the lower value symbols offering pays of 4 coins up to 200 coins.
Higher value symbols include the candy canes, the Christmas tree and the silver bells which all offer small pay outs for 2 symbols on a line (of between 3 and 6 coins) up to a maximum pay out of 1,000 coins.
Now you know all the major standard symbols on the reels, can you see why the cup of tea sticks out like a sore thumb? There are two other symbols on the reels, the Wild and the Scatter symbols and these lead into the two main features of the slot.
The Wild symbol is the Santa symbol with the word WILD emblazoned boldly across the front of the slot and when you land a Wild it can be used to replace any of the other standard symbols on the reels to create winning lines or greater value wins. The Wild symbol, when used to finish a winning line, also comes with a very nice 2x multiplier which does add some extra value to those Wild wins.
That is not all though as if you can land between 2 and 5 Wilds on a single line across the reels then you will win a cash prize. They start at 10 coins for 2 Wilds but increase up to the game jackpot of 5,000 coins for landing five Wilds on a paying line.
Free Spins features
The Scatter symbol in the game is the sleigh symbol and you also receive a pay out of between 2x your stake and 100 times your stake when you land between 2 and 5 of the Scatters on the reels on a spin.
Land three or more Scatters however and in addition to your pay out you will also trigger the Free Spins bonus round. In this bonus you are handed 10 Free Spins and during this bonus feature, all your wins come with a 3x multiplier, which can really see you land some bigger value wins, especially if you can land a Wild win too. One pleasing aspect of Free Spins is that while you don't get any other bonus features on the reels, you can at least re-trigger ten more extra spins by landing three or more Scatters on the reels during the bonus round.
Other bonus features
There are no additional bonus features on the Winter Wonders slot.
Best feature of the Winter Wonders slot
I am so tempted to put the cup of tea as the best feature of the Winter Wonders slot as for me it is the most memorable aspect of the game but in truth, the real star of the show of me is the Santa Wild. That's because the Free Spins bonus game doesn't trigger often enough and as such, its effect is limited.
The Santa Wild however, triggers relatively often and with its 2x multiplier can turn some rather modest wins in the base game into something considerably larger and the amount that it triggers does make it the stand out feature of the slot for me.
What does the Winter Wonders slot lack?
The main thing that the Winter Wonders slot lacks for me is a clear and cohesive audio soundtrack to accompany the game. The initial jingle that plays when you load the slot up is simply a very short jingle played on a loop and it starts to drive you mad within a very short space of time. Then when you spin the reels, there's no real sound, just an odd whirring noise and a few bells. It's all singularly unimpressive and about as Christmassy as, well, a cup of tea.
I also feel that the Free Spins game is too hard to trigger and when you do trigger it, it isn't different enough from the base game to make it more notable and worthwhile triggering. I'd have liked to see a bit more of a bonus for the player with the Free Spins game especially seeing as it is not easy to hit when playing the slot.
I hate to say this but Winter Wonders does look like a slot that was thrown together on a Friday afternoon by the youth apprentice at Red Tiger Gaming. Some of the choices made for the slot are odd particularly concerning the sound and also the cup of tea on the reels. How is that meant to evoke the feeling of Christmas?
However, it is not only those items. The pay table is arranged in the most pointless and ridiculous way ever with symbols not arranged in order of value wins and just dotted around the screen. It may be a small point but it does smack of a little carelessness when putting the slot together and as a result the whole thing feels somewhat rushed.
That's a shame as at times, this slot can be somewhat generous with its pay outs but played at higher values it can be a more medium variance game and as such, you need solid bankroll management to enjoy the best of it.
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