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The original Da Vinci Diamonds was a popular slot, one of the first to offer the “tumbling reels” feature.
Buoyed by this success, IGT went back to the drawing board and came up with a new version, Da Vinci Diamonds Dual Play.
The question is, was the time spent producing this bumper-sized slot game actually worth it, or was this one of those Da Vinci sketches that he consigned to the waste bin?
Let’s take a closer look at this game and see if it is a masterpiece or a mess.
Overview: Da Vinci Diamonds Dual Play
Given the popularity of the original, it is perhaps not surprising IGT revisited the Da Vinci Diamonds slot for the basis of a new game.
This new “dual play” version is pretty much two 5×3 reel slots playing together across 40 paylines, plus with an additional Extra Paylines Bonus symbol that offers the chance to increase the number of paylines from 40 to 60 on six re-triggerable free spins.
Once again, the popular tumbling reels feature is in play. In this game, Tumble Thru means symbols from the top can tumble down into the bottom reels during play.
During standard play, the top and bottom reels are separate and wins can only occur within each 5×3 reel; however, if you earn the extra 20 paylines, then wins can occur across both reels.
Who will Da Vinci Diamonds Dual Play slot appeal to?
Slot fans who loved the original Da Vinci Diamonds will certainly find that this newer, bulkier version offers them a very different slot experience than the original. It has some new features, yet the classic look of the original slot is maintained.
There is no doubt that this dual play version will attract those New Jersey online slots players who want to depart from the standard 5×3 game. The dual play function essentially means you have two 5×3 reel slots working on each spin with a total of 40 paylines in operation.
Certainly, these features will attract players who like novel approaches to slots.
Gameplay: Da Vinci Diamonds Dual Play
If you are familiar with the Da Vinci Diamonds slot, then you will feel right at home with the Da Vinci Diamonds Dual Play option. Essentially what you have here are two Da Vinci Diamonds slots on top of each other in a 5×6 reel matrix.
However, during the base game, the two slots tend to operate individually, apart from when the Tumble Thru feature kicks in and symbols cascade from the top slot into the bottom.
In terms of paylines, each slot is treated as a separate entity in the base game, and this is where the “dual play” notion comes into it.
The base game itself is pretty standard and is very much the same as the original. The symbols used in the updated slot are the same (a mix of precious gems and Da Vinci paintings are the high and low symbols).
There is the big Da Vinci Diamonds symbol as the highest paying symbol in the game, plus the very useful wild symbol.
The main difference is the scatter. In this game, it is the Extra Paylines Bonus symbol, and when you land three or more of these across a winning payline you trigger six free spins.
But that is not all. During free spins an additional 20 paylines are also put into play. These paylines cover lines that encompass both the reels, so you can have paylines using symbols from the bottom row of the top reel and the top row of the bottom reel.
And of course, these extra paylines mean that you have a greater chance of landing a win during free spins.
In addition, while the six free spins initially seem a little miserly, you can re-trigger up to 200 free spins by landing the three Extra Payline Bonus symbols on the reels during free spins.
Again, this feature is nothing different than what was available in the original game, although on this newer version free spins have been capped at 200, rather than 300, spins.
The tumbling reels feature (including the Tumble Thru bonus) and the free spins are what you need to get lucky on the slot. Da Vinci Diamonds Dual Play is actually tighter with decent wins than its predecessor by not allowing base game wins between the two sets of reels and limiting the free spins at 100 fewer than the original slot.
That said, there’s still lots to enjoy and when you hit free spins, you can turn a relatively small win into a much bigger one if you can re-trigger them once or twice.
Special features: Da Vinci Diamonds Dual Play
The wild symbol is a crucial factor in the base game. This can replace any higher or lower paying symbol (but not the Extra Payline Bonus) to create winning paylines.
Extra Payline Bonus
Land three of these symbols on a winning payline, either on a spin or through the Tumbling Reels feature, and you trigger the free spins game and an additional 20 paylines for the duration of the free spins.
You can re-trigger free spins by landing the same three symbols on another payline (including the 20 extra) during free spins.
Tumbling reels, including Tumble Thru
One of the most popular aspects of the original slot was the Tumbling Reels feature and it is back again in the Dual Play version. This time, the Tumble Thru feature allows symbols from the top slot to tumble through into the bottom when a payline is triggered on the reel underneath.
Although this is essentially just one slot game replicated and then stuck on top of another, it is still an innovative design and the extra paylines on the free spins are a thoughtful touch.
Regular small wins
One pleasing aspect is that you don’t have to wait too long to hit a win during the base game. It isn’t overly difficult to hit winning paylines, which can in turn trigger additional wins thanks to the tumbling reels and Tumble Thru features.
Potential for big free spin wins
The really big wins in this slot are much more likely to occur during the free spins round, and the potential for these wins is increased markedly if you can re-trigger free spins a decent number of times.
It does not always happen, but the potential is there.
The original Da Vinci Diamonds game didn’t have any multipliers and they haven’t been added to this newer version. Even just as a base game addition on wild wins they would have made a big difference to the play value of the slot.
Difficult to trigger free spins
It is extremely laborious to hit free spins and often requires a player to play a huge number of spins before triggering.
This is an oversight. It can put a lot of people off when players don’t feel a slot is being “fair” about how easy it is to trigger the main feature of the game.
Base game wins too small, too often
Although you can win in the base game relatively frequently, the amounts you win are generally small, and they often do not cover the initial bet you make.
As such, you can see your bank balance start to dwindle rather rapidly as you play the slot, even if it feels like you are winning regularly.
Graphics and soundtrack 2.5/5
The original got a three, but I have lopped off half a mark for no real additions to the slot. It’s simply been ported over and stuck one game on top of the other.
A few little upgrades to the soundtrack or graphics would have been nice.
Originality and creativity 4/5
The original received a three, but I’ve added an extra mark for the innovative setup of the slot and the Tumble Thru option, plus the 20 extra paylines in free spins. Other than that, this is very much the same as the original Da Vinci Slot.
You are just effectively playing two versions of the original at once.
Play value 2.5/5
Regular base game wins are fine, but too many of them are smaller wins. The Tumbling Reels option can come to the rescue here and give you some decent base game wins.
However, I’ve knocked off half a mark here from the original for the fact that the number of re-triggerable free spins is 100 less.
Jackpot potential 2.5/5
It’s the same 5,000-coin jackpot available in the original.
That is a decent prize, especially when played at a higher stake level, but for smaller stakes players given the length of time it takes to hit free spins sometimes.
This can limit the motivation to play.
Repeat play 3/5
I’m not sure this newer “doubled up” version of the game works quite as well as the original. It’s twice the cost to play in terms of coins and the limited interaction between the reels doesn’t make it an appealing choice.
That said, it’s still fun to play; it’s just that the slot could have done considerably more.
Total score 14.5/25
There’s nothing inherently bad with the Dual Slot version of Da Vinci Diamonds. But the team at IGT hasn’t quite done enough with this version of the slot to distinguish it from the original.
The changes made haven’t all been for the better. Hence this scores half a mark under the original (if you’re looking for that review, it can be found here).