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What are the secrets of the forest, you ask? Well, to be truthful, I’m not sure that playing this slot will furnish you with answers.
Most of what the game puts forth are three nymphs.
What you have here then is a forest-themed slot with unusual features, including 99 paylines (a rare thing on a 5×3 reel slot), tumbling reels, a wild symbol, and a free games bonus feature.
So does this all add up to a hotshot slot, or can IGT not see the woods for the trees? Let’s find out.
Overview: Secrets of the Forest
Secrets of the Forest is a 5×3 reel slot that has up to 99 selectable paylines.
You can play one, 10, 25, 50, or 99 paylines per spin. You can also select from a variety of coin sizes to ensure you place the right size of bet for your bankroll.
The playing card symbols act as the low symbols in the game, and the three forest nymphs and the Secrets of the Forest logo are the higher value symbols. The latter of these offers a maximum payout of 5,000 times your line bet for five on a payline.
The slot also features a wild symbol and a Free Games scatter.
Who will the Secrets of the Forest slot appeal to?
Given its standard look and the fact that it has 99 paylines, I think this slot will appeal more to higher stakes players than lower. If slot theory states that all paylines should be played to maximize your chances of a win, playing 99 paylines means the cheapest spin is $0.99.
Therefore, I think those seeking the bigger prizes on this slot will likely be the higher stakes players.
However, it is possible to play with fewer paylines and smaller stakes and chase some of the bigger wins in the base game and free spins; it just doesn’t seem quite as good of a value.
Where to play Secrets of the Forest online in NJ
Slot makers sure seem to like the idea of a secret, but where to find this game if you’re a New Jersey player is no secret at all.
Gameplay: Secrets of the Forest
At this point I have to be honest: I’ve seldom played a slot quite so infuriating as Secrets of the Forest, and what’s most annoying is that the mistakes are so easily avoidable.
First off, let’s get down to the positives.
There’s a fantastic jackpot of 5,000x your payline bet available to be won in the base game. You can play one, 10, 25, 50 or 99 paylines per spin and select from a wide amount of coin sizes to vary the size of your bet.
The symbols, especially the high value symbols, are beautifully realized, animated well, and fit the theme of the slot superbly.
Another positive is the tumbling reels feature, which can see you trigger additional wins from a single spin as symbols drop down from above to replace those that have disappeared from a winning payline.
Finally, in terms of wins, although this is a higher variance slot, the wins are pretty fair to the player with smaller wins balanced with bigger wins.
I have experienced periods without a win and then played the game and hit several big wins in a relatively short space of time. That’s standard for a high variance game and would not put players off.
Now, onto the big gameplay problems.
First up, players are required to click the spin button endlessly. Click to start, click if you hit a winning payline to trigger tumbling reels, click again if you win on tumbling reels, and so on.
When you are used to slots automating this and running quickly, it is so frustrating to have to click at every turn.
Then, to make matters worse, in the autoplay mode, you need to click every time you land a win to trigger tumbling reels, thus rendering the autoplay feature almost entirely redundant.
It can also be too difficult to hit free spins, and it is maddening to land three free spins symbols across the reels, only to discover they are not on a winning payline (which are not clearly marked) and so you don’t trigger the five free spins bonus.
Special features: Secrets of the Forest
The tumbling reels feature sees winning paylines disappear, then replaced with new symbols dropping in from above.
This can include new symbols on the top of each reel, and this can in turn trigger additional wins from the same spin.
Land three or more of the free spins bonus symbol on a winning payline (not across the reels) and you trigger five free spins.
Free spins cannot be re-triggered from within the bonus round.
The wild symbol is very easy to identify. It is labeled “wild” and it substitutes for all the higher and lower value symbols on the slot to create winning paylines as well as offering big wins if landed on a payline with other wilds.
The three higher-paying forest nymph symbols are beautifully illustrated. When landed on a payline, the symbols animate very nicely indeed.
Along with the backdrop, this is the perfect setting for a forest-themed game.
Nice mix of wins
Given that this is a medium to higher variance game, wins are variable, but I’ve found them to be a solid mix of lower value wins interspersed with some very sizable wins.
That said, hitting free spins can prove tricky and time-consuming.
The tumbling reels feature is always a positive bonus as it can lead to multiple wins from the same spin. This too isn’t without its glitches; there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing a third scatter land on the reel during tumbling reels, only for it not to trigger one of the 99 paylines and not get you free spins.
Without doubt, the most frustrating aspect of the slot is the constant need to click the spin button, even when the autoplay feature is engaged.
I have never played a slot that plays so slowly, even with constant player involvement. This not only slows down the gameplay to a crawl, but also becomes utterly infuriating after a while.
The sound when the reels are spinning is quite basic and has been used time and time again on a number of slots.
Things improve when you hit winning paylines or other features, but the sound is a bit of a disappointment compared to the graphics.
Free spins via tumbling reels
When I played through this slot, I hit a winning payline with two free spins symbols on the reels. When they disappeared, a third free spin symbol dropped into view, but free spins did not trigger.
Without being able to see which of the 99 lines are in play, this is extremely annoying.
Graphics and soundtrack: 2.5/5
The quality of the graphics and animations on the higher symbols are lovely to look at, as is the backdrop for the reels.
Unfortunately the sounds, especially in the base game, are entirely generic and totally at odds with the graphics.
Originality and creativity: 5/5
What you essentially have here is a 5×3 reel slot with a free spins bonus round, a wild, and tumbling reels. That adds a little excitement, as does the 99 paylines.
But not being able to see what the paylines are as you play hurts this particular New Jersey online slot game.
Play value: 3/5
Secrets of the Forest isn’t designed to be a low variance game so it plays a little tougher than some, but I’ve found it to be a fair slot.
Smaller wins are punctuated with some very nice wins both in the base game and during free spins. As such, this isn’t as heavy on the wallet as some medium variance slots.
Jackpot potential: 5/5
There’s an excellent 5000x your line wager available as the top prize for landing five of the Secrets of the Forest symbols on a payline.
That is a good-sized win, especially if you are betting larger amounts. However, covering 99 paylines does make this a more expensive game to play for higher rollers.
Repeat play: 2/5
Unfortunately, the slow gameplay and the constant requirement to click, even on autoplay, are the most notable things about the game. They will vex players after just a few spins.
That’s a shame as the Secrets of the Forest slot has decent depth to it and deserves a bit more attention. Its clunky user interface just does it no favors at all.
Total score: 17.5/25
Secrets of the Forest is a real mixed bag. There are some positive points about this slot, but they are undone by horrendous clicking requirements and some infuriating oversights and glitches that can make a player feel irritated and a little cheated.
That’s a shame as beneath all that, there’s a pretty decent slot to enjoy.
Are you into slot games with a furtive theme? If so, don’t miss our review of the Secrets of the Phoenix online slot.