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If you’ve seen the latest James Bond film Spectre, then you will know that the start of the film begins in Mexico at a Day of the Dead celebration. Of course, James is accompanied by a gorgeous lady and then performs his usual brand of unfeasible feats to capture the bad guy. All while he causes all kinds of chaos for the poor people who were there to enjoy the celebration.
Well fortunately, the chances of 007 bursting through your window and disrupting you having a few spins on the Day of the Dead slot from IGT is very small. This is a good thing, as this striking-looking slot manages to combine plenty of innovative features with a genuinely intriguing theme. The result is one of the most visually appealing slots I’ve played in a while.
Overview: Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead was developed by IGT and is one of their Multiway Xtra slots. What this means is that given that the slot has 720 ways to win, if you hit the same symbol in adjacent columns in any position, starting left to right or right to left, then you will win. The value of your win is multiplied by the coin value you’ve selected per payline.
The upshot of this is that you have more ways to win on every spin across the five reels than you have in other slots. However, the reels are not set out in a standard 5×3 block. Instead the reels are 3-4-5-4-3 rows high respectively. This gives the slot an unusual look. It also increases the importance of landing symbols on the smallest size reels (one and five).
Who will the Day of the Dead slot appeal to?
I think initially people may be drawn to the Day of the Dead slot thinking that it’s perhaps a zombie-themed slot, along the lines of the Lost Vegas game. However, I don’t think that sector will be disappointed. The slot’s abundant features and its unique theme are as attractive, if not more so, as any zombie-themed game.
I think the fact that with Multiways Xtra you can win both ways across the slot will certainly help attract people to the slot. That and the fact that you’re interested to the end of every spin (as you can win right to left too) makes this a really interesting slot to play. It does keep your interest for far longer than a standard 5×3 reel slot.
Gameplay: Day of the Dead
The first thing that is immediately apparent on the slot is the layout. It’s a 5-reel slot but on each reel you have 3-4-5-4-3 symbols. This gives the slot a vaguely diamond shape. The slot also has 720 ways to win on every spin, but players don’t have to cover every possible win. Instead 50 coins is the default bet. You can change the value of the coin using the buttons to increase or decrease the overall bet size.
You can bet as little as $0.50 per spin up to a maximum of $500 if you’re a higher roller. If you do play at the higher levels then the size of the wins you can achieve are also scaled up.
Rather than a somber feeling, the Day of the Dead slot has a very carnival, uplifting feel. This is enhanced by a perky soundtrack that livens up the game considerably. Once you’ve set your wager size, it’s time to hit the Spin button to get started.
On the reels you’ll see a mix of lower value symbols and a small number of higher paying symbols. The lower value symbols are some flowers, fruit, an urn, a smoking bowl, and what looks like a gold shield, although I cannot be sure that this is the case.
The higher value symbols pay up to 1,000 coins per payline. These include two Day of the Dead skeletons dancing, a Day of the Dead skeleton band performing, and the Day of the Dead logo. However, it’s notable that there’s a big difference in payout between landing five of every symbol compared to landing four or three.
There are other symbols on the reels which can help players to bigger wins. The Scatter symbol is easy to identify. It’s labeled as such and it offers players an immediate payout of 2x, 10x and 50x their total bet if they land three, four or five scatters anywhere across the reels.
Furthermore, there is a Wild symbol. This consists of some rather garishly colored coffins. The Wild can substitute for any of the low or higher value symbols to help create a winning payline. However, the Wild symbol does only appear on reels 2, 3 and 4 during the game.
The final symbol is the Bonus symbol. This awards a player 8 free spins when it’s landed in any position on five consecutive reels. If there’s more than one combination of Bonus symbol lines on the reels on any spin, then the sum of spins earned is awarded. (So if you hit two Bonus symbols on reel 2 and 1 on each of the other reels, for example, you would earn 16 free spins.) You can win a maximum of 96 free spins this way.
During free spins you can retrigger additional free spins by landing five more bonus features on the reel, up to a maximum of 240 free spins. You’ll know when your free spins starts as the slot uses different reels for the free spins bonus.
Special features: Day of the Dead
This is an excellent feature on several slots by IGT. It sees the unusual layout enhanced by the fact that you can win both ways across the slot. This means you can win left to right and right to left. The upshot of this is that you’re more involved in the slot as you can win on every spin until the last reel is revealed.
The Bonus symbol is the key to unlocking the free spins round. It’s your best chance of winning big money on the slot. You can win from 8 to 96 free spins on the slot depending on how many of the bonus symbols you land. However, you need at least five across the reels to trigger the bonus.
The Wild symbol is easy to spot given its label. This simply substitutes for any of the low or high value symbols to help create a winning payline. Unfortunately, no multiplier is attributed to wins achieved with a Wild.
There’s no doubt that the Day of the Dead theme works, even if you get the occasional zombie slayer straggler loading up the slot by mistake. The game is a celebratory game, rather than a sinister one. It does put a player in a happier frame of mind, which is odd considering the theme of the carnival is celebrating the lives of those who have passed.
The Multiway wins really does give the base game the added oomph it needs to take this beyond the average slot. The 720 paylines are great. But the fact that you can win both ways across the reels is what lifts this slot well above the average. It definitely keeps players focused on the game for longer.
Mix of different wins
One of the nice aspects of the slot is that, as a medium variance game, you do get a nice mix of wins. Base game wins are usually quite low. Many don’t even cover your initial bet, but these are interspersed with some much higher wins which do tend to balance things out quite nicely.
Scatter payouts disappointing
I was a tad disappointed with the payouts on offer for the Scatter symbol along with the fact that hitting one doesn’t realize any other additional feature, such as a bonus game. I felt these wins were rather tight-fisted considering how hard it is to hit three scatters, let alone four or five.
Most base game wins are small
The biggest issue with the Day of the Dead slot is that the vast majority of base game wins involve 3 or 4 symbols. These just don’t pay well and often you’ll find that your winning line doesn’t cover your initial bet.
Hard to trigger Free Spins
Free Spins can be extremely difficult to trigger at times. As such it’s important to budget well and ensure you give yourself enough time and spins to give yourself every opportunity to trigger this bonus feature, as it is the best value bonus in the game by a long way.
Graphics & soundtrack 4/5
The graphics and presentation on the slot are excellent, although they do look a little cluttered at times. There’s no doubt that they capture the feel of the Day of the Dead celebrations very accurately.
Originality & creativity 4/5
I love the Multiway Xtra feature and, as this is only available on a few slots, it is a real treat to come across. Add to this an innovative way to award free spins and a few other nice touches and an unusual theme and it all adds up into a unique slot experience.
Play value 3/5
I toyed with the idea of giving this slot a 2 for play value, but after a prolonged session, I think 3 is a more accurate mark. Although to be fair, you do have to play it a while, over multiple sessions, to start to see any benefit. In the short term, you can incur bigger losses.
Jackpot potential 2/5
The jackpot on this slot isn’t huge at 10,000 coins but you could hit that on multiple paylines if you get lucky with Wilds, although that is unlikely. While 10,000 coins is nice, it isn’t the biggest jackpot available.
Repeat play 4/5
Even without a huge jackpot to chase, there’s still plenty in this game to ensure you keep coming back for more.
Total score: 17/25
Day of the Dead is a well-designed and realized slot that is packed with some great features and a couple that aren’t quite so great. Play value is very volatile and the jackpot isn’t huge, but with that Multiway Xtra feature, you will certainly be playing this one time and time again.