Australia is a lucky country since it has two things in abundance: rocky coastlines and slot developers. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is located off the coast of Queensland. Millions of miles of coral reefs teeming with fish and, of course, sharks. Even though it took thousands of years to develop, humanity is now in the process of destroying it completely. Ahhh, development. In any case, the slot Mermaid Reef, created by the Australian/New Zealand studio ReelPlay, is the topic of this review.
Mermaid Reef is a rather basic ReelPlay slot, especially in comparison to their other experiments with Infinity Reels, Megaways, and hybrids thereof. But it’s a first in its own right, so to speak. It would appear that Mermaid Reef is the first slot machine to have both a bonus purchase and a gamble function. A possible pairing for those who want to take risks throughout their sessions.
The game’s fairly groundbreaking mechanics appear out of place in an otherwise conventional experience. The 5-reel, 10-payline grid of Mermaid Reef is, as one might imagine, set beneath the ocean’s surface and populated by aquatic creatures that have a look reminiscent of old animated cartoons. The music is pleasant, albeit not quite energizing. It’s like listening to a Brain Eno piece at 6 in the morning to help you recover from a wild night out.
Bets range from 10 p/c up to $/€150 each spin, so players may enjoy the dual gamble feature/bonus purchase option on any device. If you enjoy reading about large sums of data, you won’t find much hope in the remaining statistics. The rest aren’t terrible, either; for example, the RTP is average at 95.92% and may be increased to 96.06% with the bonus. Since this function naturally activates every 208 turns, it’s not a terrible idea either. The math model culminates in a medium-high volatility, which is a bit steep in light of everything else.
When compared to their usual massive number of reels and paylines, Mermaid Reef is a huge departure. The 10 pay symbols included in the paytable don’t throw any curveballs, either. Only jellyfish, starfish, clownfish, and dolphins make up the other half, with the remainder being 9-A royals. If you get a line of five premiums, you can win 30x to 100x your bet.
Wild mermaid, which is sort of cute in an Ariel kind of manner, is the final sign here before coming up for air. On reels 2–4, it can be seen in its full or partial 13 form. The wild card can be used in lieu of any icon other than the pearl and clam.
Featured in Mermaid Reef Slots are
There are a number of extras and two bonus games to keep players entertained while they’re out at sea. When 3, 4, or 5 pearls appear, you’ll win 10, 15, or 20 free spins, accordingly. All wins during a free spin are multiplied by two, whereas they would only be multiplied by one during a standard spin. Free games can be retriggered as long as pearls are still on the reels. About once every 205 spins, players can hope to receive this bonus.
The Pearl bonus is activated next when you see three of the clam icons in a row. In this round, there are 15 closed clams for the player to select from using the mouse. A single black pearl, a single gold pearl, and the rest white can appear in any bonus round. Now, white pearls show a payout of 1-10 times the wager, black pearls pay out 2-25 times, and gold pearls pay out 50-1000 times the wager. If the player chooses a black pearl, the bonus round is over; otherwise, they will receive the remaining black pearls if they choose all of the white and gold pearls first.
A feature purchase, representing the Pearl Bonus, is included in the base game. Players in some regions can opt to buy it instead of waiting for clam symbols to activate it. 55 times your wager is required to win 3 clams on the following spin.
The gamble is the last possible choice. This is the typical fare that may be collected or gambled on following a victory. If you pick the suit of a face-down card, you earn four times as much as if you estimate the suit, which is still rather lucrative. The maximum number of times you may wager your winnings is 5.
A Slot Win at Mermaid Reef
Mermaid Reef asserts to be the first slot to combine a bonus purchase with a gamble feature, but it hardly seems revolutionary. Some players who want to take risks at every opportunity might be intrigued by Mermaid Reef, but the remainder of the slot keeps it from being a really exciting gambling machine.
It’s hampered by a number of factors. The first is the very simplistic gameplay and limited starting conditions; this is no Infinity Reels, and not much occurs in the initial round of play. The simple mechanics aren’t an issue in and of itself, but when paired with the relaxing music and low rewards, they may put anyone to sleep.
The poor payouts don’t help matters much, with a maximum of 342.5x your bet in the main game and 700x your wager in free spins. The Pearl Bonus is when things start to look up, with potential payouts of 1,295 times the initial wager. Sure, you may spend money to unlock the finest features, but not everyone like paying for more content.
In sum, Mermaid Reef doesn’t quite fit in with ReelPlay’s usual vibe. It came as a surprise to see such a low-key announcement after their previous efforts to expand slot possibilities. Mermaid Reef is OK at best, and only then if you’re into paying for a pick-and-click element.