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[toc]Recently, there’s been a real move away from the stylized magic shows of David Copperfield toward the kind of “street magic” popularized by David Blaine and Dynamo.
However, the new Fantasini Master of Mystery slot from NetEnt harkens back to those old magic shows. With a jackpot of up to 270,000 coins available in the base game, this is a slot that offers punters the chance to play across a vast range of prices. Who knows, maybe Fantasini could conjure up a big win just for you.
Overview: Fantasini Master of Mystery
The slot is a 5×3 reel game that has done away with paylines and instead features 243 ways to win on every spin. Spins start at just $0.25 per spin up to a maximum wager of $25. The jackpot is a massive 270,000 coins.
The slot has playing card symbols as the lower value symbols and a number of magician-themed symbols as the higher value ones. The other big feature is the Linked Reel feature that sees between two and five reels link together and producing the same result on a spin. Link all five reels on a single spin for some of the biggest base game wins.
Who will the Fantasini Master of Mystery slot appeal to?
Any slot player with a love of magic will find plenty to enjoy here. Fans of the Linked Reels feature will jump at the opportunity to enjoy this somewhat overlooked feature once again.
The fact that you can wager such a varying amount makes the slot suitable for all bankroll levels. Higher rollers are likely to be enticed by the jackpot, which promises a large amount at $25 per spin. However, the lack of any other bonus or pick ’em feature will likely put a few people off.
Gameplay: Fantasini Master of Mystery
When you load up Fantasini Master of Mystery, it is apparent that NetEnt has taken the David Copperfield approach to portraying the slot, with dark backgrounds and dramatic music as your accompaniment.
You can decide on your bet size by increasing the level size to shrink or grow on each spin. Of course, all wins are scaled, so the more you wager, the more value you will get in each coin win.
The symbols on the reel are a selection of lower value symbols (the playing card lows, which for once do not look out of place on a slot) and the higher value symbols — a crystal ball, some cards with a dagger through them, a locked box, some handcuffs, and Fantasini’s glamorous assistant.
The magician himself is also present on Reels Two, Three, Four, and Five, and he is the in-game wild. He can be used to substitute for all other high and low value symbols to create winning paylines.
There is no scatter symbol or free spins round to enjoy. Instead, you’ll find the Linked Reels feature, which is one of the less frequently used bonuses in slot games nowadays.
The Linked Reels feature is in operation on every spin. On each spin, two adjacent reels are randomly selected to be linked. That means they will both produce the same combination of symbols on the reel at the end of that spin.
However, Linked Reels can also spread across the reels covering up to two, three, four, or best of all, all five reels. When that last one happens, it can result in some large base game wins, especially when the symbols landed include the higher paying symbols. Most spins will see just two reels linked. (It seems to be the third, fourth, or fifth reels that are most commonly linked.)
Special features: Fantasini Master of Mystery
On all of the reels, both high and low symbols are stacked, which can help create multiple winning paylines when landed with similar symbols and the magician wild symbol. When linked, this can produce blocks of six, nine, 12, or even 15 of the same symbol across the reels, resulting in some big wins.
The Linked Reels feature is without a doubt the biggest attraction here. At least two, but up to five, reels can be linked. This means they will display the same symbols in the same order at the end of the spin.
The magician symbol, Fantasini himself, is the wild, and he can be found on Reels Two through Five. This symbol can replace other high and low symbols to help create winning paylines.
While the presentation is solid if unspectacular, the music is dramatic and tends to keep you focused on the action. Add into this some clever sound effects, and the slot has a pleasing soundtrack.
The top possible jackpot of 270,000 coins can translate into some very large wins, especially if you elect to play for the higher value coins on each spin.
The Linked Reels feature gives every spin a little added excitement, and it does feel like you have triggered a feature bonus on every spin. That is a positive, as are the big wins possible when you land four or five linked reels on a single spin.
Fantasini may be a magician of some repute, but he couldn’t conjure up any multipliers to help increase the many low-value wins you’ll come across in the base game.
No free spins
The lack of a free spins round is perhaps the biggest omission here. When you realize that the Linked Reels symbol is the only feature, the slot becomes a tad repetitive. There’s not much else to play for.
Small base game wins
The biggest disappointment, as with other NetEnt games, is the small size of base game wins. Occasionally, you can hit a much bigger win, but even four or five of a kind across the reels tends to pay out a similar amount than your initial bet. That’s not great value for money.
Graphics and soundtrack: 3/5
There’s nothing bad about the graphics, but there’s nothing spectacular about them either. They do the job, and, for once, the playing card low symbols fit nicely with the theme. The soundtrack is very good and builds the tension.
Originality and creativity: 2/5
I’m giving this slot two marks for the Linked Reels feature, as it is nice to see one of the less-used features in action. The fact that this is the only bonus, leaving you with a bog standard 243-ways to win slot, does mean this slot doesn’t score as well as it should in terms of creativity. This was an opportunity missed by NetEnt to produce an innovative slot on an unusual theme.
Play value: 1/5
I’d love to be able to report that this game rewards players fairly, but unfortunately this is another NetEnt product that stiffs players with very small wins compared to bet size. Larger wins can and do happen, but they will rarely recoup what you have spent.
Jackpot potential: 3/5
The 270,000-coin jackpot is certainly one of the most attractive features in the game, and the 1080x your bet base game win is also worth a look. However, to be honest, most wins are nowhere near these amounts.
Repeat play: 2/5
Although the Linked Reels feature will keep you entertained and the music will hold your attention, its poor returns and medium-to-high variance won’t see players coming back too often.
Total score: 11/25
This was a real opportunity missed for NetEnt. When I loaded up the slot and saw the Linked Reels in operation, it looked like a fantastic slot. But a lack of depth and no other bonus features doesn’t make it one of NetEnt’s best.