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We reviewed the Merlin’s Millions slot relatively recently and to be honest we weren’t particularly blown away. Poor play value was one of the main criticisms we had of the game. Well, NextGen Gaming has added a second slot in this series with Merlin’s Magic Respins. No time like the present to cast our eye over what this slot has to offer.
Of course Merlin is one of the most famous characters from King Arthur’s Court and it seems he is up to his supernatural tricks again in this slot by conjuring up additional Wilds on the reels during the Free Spins bonus round. So, how does Merlin’s Magic Respins compare to both the other Merlin slot and other slots in general? Let us take a closer look and find out.
Overview: Merlin’s Magic Respins
Like the Merlin Millions slot, Merlin’s Magic Respins is a 5×4 reel slot with 50 paylines in play on each spin. You can’t select the number of paylines but you can adjust the size of the bet using the up and down buttons to alter the coin size. You can play from $0.02 up to $4.00 per payline. This means that you can get the reels spinning for a minimum bet of $1.00 up to a maximum bet of $200, which is considerably more than the other Merlin slot.
The backdrop for the slot seems to be Merlin’s laboratory. Once again, Merlin is standing to the left of the reels holding his magical staff. Don’t spin the reels quickly enough and he’ll tap the screen to see if you are still awake. The sound effects are sparse and only kick in once you hit the Spin button, but there are a number of nice touches in the backdrop to the slot to enjoy.
Who will the Merlin’s Magic Respins slot appeal to?
This is a slot game that fans of the fantasy genre will certainly enjoy. If you enjoyed playing Merlin’s Millions too, then you will certainly get plenty of fun out of this slot. It is very similar in many ways. There are a number of features you can enjoy, some better than others. If you like slots that offer more than just free spins and a base game, then Merlin’s Magic Respins is going to be one slot that you’ll want to try.
This is also a slot for players that like to gamble more to unlock additional features of the slot. The SuperBet feature allows you to do this, although this does increase the cost of a spin (and therefore negatively affects the play value) quite considerably. The biggest win in the base game is 500 coins which isn’t huge but the ability to trigger multiple wins can increase the size of a total win on any single spin.
Gameplay: Merlin’s Magic Respins
Like in the Merlin’s Millions slot, the first thing you need to think about with Merlin’s Magic Respins is the size of your bet. Not just because you want to bet at a level you can sustain to enjoy a decent session at the reels, but also because of the SuperBet feature. This feature works off the size of your initial bet to decide how much you will need to pay extra to trigger the additional features.
Super Bet feature
With the SuperBet feature, you can increase the number of respins you trigger on the Wild Respins feature from 1x up to 5x. This means that when you trigger Wild Respins by landing a full stack of Merlin wilds on any reel, you’ll earn up to five respins, rather than just the one. Furthermore, the higher the level you select on SuperBet, the bigger the prizes available to you to win.
However, activating the SuperBet feature is very costly. For a single spin without SuperBet enabled, for stakes of $0.02 per spin, that will cost you $1.00. Enable SuperBet Level 1 and that increases to $2.00 and it is then a further $1.00 for every other level you want to play. Select Level 5 and your $1.00 bet becomes $7.00. That is a 700% increase in wager to trigger the feature.
As such, you need to think carefully and decide if you want to play the SuperBet feature at all. If you do, you’ll need to opt for a specific level, as the size of the base game wins remains the same and that really affects the play value of the slot.
The reels are adorned with the usual playing card low symbols and a mix of higher value symbols, all to do with Merlin and his wizardry. There are four higher value symbols offering payouts of up to 500 coins per payline, although the majority of wins are considerably smaller than this.
The Merlin symbol is the in-game wild. It will be stacked across the middle reels during the base game, and on all reels during Wild Respins. Land five Wild Merlins on a payline and you win 1,000 coins.
If you are using the SuperBet feature, then you can access the Wild Respins feature. So, when you land Merlin stacked on a reel, that reel is held and the other reels are respun the stated number of times (how many free spins you get depends on the SuperBet level you are playing). Land another Merlin Wild stacked on another reel in free spins and you get additional spins and this stack is also held.
You can earn Free Spins without using the SuperBet feature by landing three or more of the Cauldron scatter symbols across the reels. This awards you 7 free spins. During these free spins Merlin will use his staff to enchant symbols on the reels to turn them into Wilds to the point where entire stacks of symbols can turn completely Wild.
Special features: Merlin’s Magic Respins
Wager up to 7x your stake to activate up to five levels of SuperBet. This allows you access to the Wild Free Spins feature, as well as increasing the value of certain wins during the feature, and seeing Merlin stacked on all reels, not just the middle three.
Wild Free Spins
With SuperBet activated, land Merlin stacked on any reel and you trigger the Wild Free Spins feature. These spins have between 1 and 5 free spins with the Wild symbol held in place. Trigger an additional stacked Wild reel and you will receive more free spins and that reel will also be held in place for the duration of the bonus round.
Free Spins bonus
Land three of the Cauldron scatter symbols in the base game, with or without SuperBet activated, and you land 7 free spins. During free spins, Merlin will enchant symbols on the reels turning them Wild to help create additional wins.
The presentation on Merlin’s Magic Respins is very nicely done. There are some neat touches in the backdrop and lovely animations triggered when you achieve a big win or activate one of the bonuses. Add jaunty music, a touch of humor and some nice sound effects, and the game looks and sounds excellent.
The base game itself—by that I mean without SuperBet activated—is a very enjoyable slot in its own right and perhaps more importantly, offers significantly better value per spin than it does with the bonus feature activated.
The Stacked Wilds feature really does help give the game some additional excitement as many of the bigger wins in the base game comes from landing this feature. Of course, during SuperBet too, this feature is key to unlocking the bigger wins available in the game.
While the SuperBet feature does make the slot more exciting, it comes at a massive cost. $7 per spin compared to $1 per spin is a huge markup for a feature which is only activated on a tiny fraction of spins. In terms of value for money, SuperBet simply isn’t worth it for me.
Free Spins hard to hit
The Free Spins bonus in the base game is hard to hit and can take time and patience to land.
Indeed, it is much easier to hit free spins using SuperBet. This fact makes me think that the game has been designed to funnel players toward using this more expensive feature, and I’m not sure I like that.
Win value with SuperBet activated
Activate SuperBet and take the 700% rise in stake price and for the majority of wins, the prizes you win remain the same. You therefore have plenty of times when you wager $7 or similar on a spin, but win back $0.10. That is shocking play value for the player.
Graphics & soundtrack 4/5
Originality & creativity 3/5
The SuperBet feature, Wild Respins Feature, and the use of the Stacked Merlin Wilds all give this game plenty of originality, although that does come at a cost when you activate the SuperBet option.
Play value 2/5
If you play this at the highest SuperBet Level, then even with the additional bonuses and higher value wins, this would score a Play Value of 0. However, the base game itself is more rewarding and is actually good value to play, hence I’ve compromised here on a 2. But activate Superbet and that score drops markedly.
Jackpot potential 1/5
There is a jackpot of 1,000 coins in the base game available and in free spins, which isn’t likely to set the pulses racing of any of the big jackpot-hunting slot players. Add to that very small wins throughout the base game in many cases not even coming close to your wager and there’s nothing for big prize hunters to chase here.
Repeat play 2/5
If I play this game without SuperBet activated, then I’d be more inclined to come back and try again. However, I feel the way the slot is set up, to get the best from it you need to play SuperBet. The cost of that just makes it so prohibitive that coming back for another few spins is something I would think long and hard about.
Total score: 12/25
This is very similar to the Merlin’s Millions slot in that this has some intriguing features and the potential to be an excellent slot. Unfortunately the value offered by the key feature is so poor that it makes it very difficult to enjoy and as a player you feel a little short-changed.