There are certain themes that I tend to come across a great deal when reviewing slot games. Norse mythology is one, Mexican and Oriental themes are other popular ones, and Ancient Egypt gets plenty of love as well.
There is something very enticing about a long lost civilization that were so advanced that even today, we cannot comprehend some of the technology they used to build their magnificent temples and edifices. The whole Pyramids, pharaohs, Cleopatra and hieroglyphics theme lends itself very easily to a slot game and there is no doubting that these games appeal greatly to slot players.
Now, the slots I have reviewed about ancient Egypt in the past have been somewhat hit and miss. Some games have been brilliant, others have been so-so and some have been downright poor. So what are Pragmatic Play going to bring to the table with one of their most recent releases?
Let's take a closer look and find out.
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The first thing to note here is that you can tell that this is an Ancient Egypt slot as soon as you load it up as the music could not be more "Egyptified" if you tried. At first it is a rather pleasant tune, with a somewhat sinister and mysterious undertone, but unfortunately the loop it plays on is rather short (just a few seconds), so as good as it is, it does tend to get a bit repetitive rather quickly.
There isn't really a huge backdrop to this slot, so what you have instead are five golden inlaid reels with the main controls at the bottom of the screen. There are just 10 lines in play on each spin, these are not selectable, but you can wager from as little as 0.01 per coin, which gives you a nice low minimum bet of 0.10, but you can ramp that up to 50.00 if you so wish, meaning that low to medium rollers are probably better suited to this game.
Other than that, that is about it in terms of presentation, although the cut screens are nice when you trigger some of the bonus features in the slot (which we will learn a bit more about later). Auto-play is available for those of you who want to spin while perhaps going about other business.
What's on the reels?
When it comes to symbols on the reels I am always surprised to see that in a slot about ancient Egypt, many games still use the playing card low symbols. While I can understand this from a point of view of them being easy to recognize, with a heritage and rich and varied as Egypt's, not to mention the myriad of hieroglyphics you could use, I always think this is a bit of a cop out and somewhat lazy.
Wins with these lower value symbols range from 0.5x to 15x your total bet when you land three or more of the same symbol on one of the ten lines.
There are three mid-value symbols and these are the Eye of Horus, the Ankh and the god Anubis. These symbols all pay out small wins for two symbols on a line as well as the usual wins for three, four and five symbols. Here you can win up to 200x your standard bet if you land five of the Anubis symbols on a line, while the Ankh and Eye of Horus pay out up to 50x your bet.
The Cleopatra symbol is the highest value symbol on the reels and it returns you your stake if landed twice on a line. This is the biggest available prize on the slot and pays out 500x your bet if you land five across the reels.
There is just one more symbol on the reel and that is the golden scarab beetle symbol and in this slot, it serves a dual purpose, acting as both the Scatter and Wild symbol.
If you land a Golden Scarab Beetle symbol on the reels as a Wild then it can be used to replace any of the standard symbols on the reels to trigger a cash prize. However, if you land three or more of these symbols anywhere on the reels then you will trigger an additional cash prize.
That is 1x your total bet for three symbols, 10x your bet for four and the maximum 50x your total bet if you land five.
If you land three or more of the Golden Scarab Beetle symbols in the game then you will also trigger the special bonus game which contains the Free Spins bonus feature.
Free Spins features
When the bonus feature in the Ancient Egypt slot is triggered, you will see an animation of a large treasure chest and into it will go the three different prizes available for you. First up is a small cash prize (which is simply your stake money back), secondly there is a larger cash prize which can be between 10x and 500x your stake. Finally, there is also a Free Spins bonus game. These are hidden inside three chests and you then have to select a chest to reveal which of the prizes you have won.
If you land the Free Spins bonus game then you receive 10 Free Spins and before your bonus spins start, one of the symbols in the game is selected as your special expanding symbol for that round. After each free spin, any symbol of this type you land will expand to cover the entire reel and can trigger additional wins. Furthermore, this symbol does not have to be on a line to win as it can trigger wins in the same way as the Scatter, anywhere across the reels.
You can also re-trigger the Free Spins bonus game by landing three more Scatters during the feature, which will give you a maximum 20 Free Spins to play through.
Other bonus features
Other than the cash awards triggered by the bonus game as listed above, there are no additional bonus features in the Ancient Egypt slot.
Best feature of the Ancient Egypt slot
For me the best feature of this slot I without doubt the bonus feature. I do like the fact that the golden scarab symbol acts as both the Wild and the Scatter as it gives you a double chance to use this feature on a spin, but it is when the main bonus feature of the game is unlocked that things get more interesting.
Now I admit here, that landing the 1x your stake prize is really disappointing. I think that is a real cop-out here from Pragmatic Play, but the flip side of that is that you can earn some very big wins when you land the other two bonuses, plus you do trigger this bonus more frequently than you do similar bonuses on other slots which again makes it better value than some games.
What does the Ancient Egypt slot lack?
The one issue I have with the Ancient Egypt slot isn't that it is a volatile game, nor. That sometimes when you trigger the bonus you only end up winning 1x your stake, I think that is fair enough as you trigger the bonus relatively frequently and the other bonuses can pay out some big wins. However I think using playing card lows as the lower value symbols is a bit of a cop out and a little lazy and I would have liked to have seen some other random feature to award you a couple of lower value wins in the base game.
Pragmatic Play have done a good job with the Ancient Egypt slot. It looks and plays very nicely indeed and the musical accompaniment is good (if a little repetitive, but played on Auto-play it is much better). The bonus is simple but effective, even if the 1x bonus win is a bit of a kick in the teeth. The chances to win big on this slot are there but it is a higher volatile game than most and as such, you need to manage your bankroll sensibly to get the most out of it.
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