Go on a quest for vast treasures on the slot from Bally Technologies in collaboration with Shuffle Master. 88 Fortunes Megaways will take you to ancient China for an encounter with traditional lucky icons, a randomly triggered Picker feature, increased golden symbol pays and a free spins round with unlimited multipliers that can lead to wins of up to an estimated 5,000 times your bet or 250,000 credits, whichever is hit first.
As part of gaming giant Scientific Games, Bally is after Red 7, Barcrest and WMS the fourth group studio to grace us with a Megaways game as part of a licensing deal the parent company signed with Big Time Gaming in 2018. None of the releases has overly impressed us as they were mostly upgraded old games such as Raging Rhino Megaways and Rainbow Riches Megaways. Not totally bad slots but neither something out of this world that has blown players off their feet. So, how does the Bally / Shuffle Master creation fare compared to others? Well, it is indeed also a remake, this time of their 2016 original 88 Fortunes. Hence, we do not expect anything revolutionary but hopefully at least some solid Megaways action.
88 Fortunes Megaways is a video slot with six reels and up to 117,649 ways to win on up to seven rows. To score a win, you will need to land three to six matching symbols on adjacent reels from left to right only. Spin for untold fortunes on desktop or mobile devices from 0.08 to 88 credits per spin. The game has high volatility with an RTP range between 96.06% – 96.27%, based on how many golden symbols are activated.
On every spin in the base game and bonus round, the number of ways from 324 to 117,649 is randomly determined by selecting between two and seven pay symbols for reels one and six as well as two to six pay symbols for reels two to five. Plus, the extra reel at the bottom of the game window with four positions, extending from reel two to five, will spin more symbols into view for every round. The symbols from a winning combination explode to make room for new ones to drop into place, setting off a chain reaction that will continue as long as a new winning combination occurs after a cascade.
A structured, deep red background is all you get as visual background to a Bally-typical game window. The extra reel has been placed at the bottom as on Extra Chilli from BTG while a display on each side of the reels indicates the active golden symbols. A smaller display in the top left corner shows the current number of ways to win. A traditional piece played on a Chinese pipa is the main audio on the slot.
Brace for atrociously low pays unless you are prepared to add extra cost to your default bet amount. The pay symbols start with the card royals from 9 through to A, all paying a flat 0.625x your bet for a single six of a kind. They are followed by traditional Chinese icons – silver ingots, turtles, junks and carved jade pieces. They award the same payout as the royals unless you activate the golden version of the symbols (more to that in a moment). A lucky coin always appears golden in both modes awarding 1.2x your stake when six land across the reels.
A display flanks the game window on each side, showing the details for the ALL UP mechanic Bally has been using often on their slots. It offers for an extra cost to have standard high-value symbols appear golden and award higher wins. You can activate and deactivate one to four symbols – ingots, turtles, junks, jade pieces – on each spin in the base game. The lucky coin always appears as a golden symbol as default at no extra cost.
For each activated symbol an additional amount is charged per spin, e.g. the minimum bet of 0.08 will increase to 0.18, 0.38, 0.68 and 0.88 for two, three, four and five active golden symbols respectively. Pays for a six of a kind golden symbols range from 2.5x to 12.5x your total stake (in our case 0.88 credits).
The Chinese character for good luck and wealth called Fu Bat is the wild symbol, appearing on reels two to five only and substituting for all regular pay symbols. The Fu Bat Wild can also trigger one of the features. A Chinese gong acts as the scatter symbol.
Well, after the disappointment for the low pays and extra cost, it might be good to cheer us up with some hopefully exciting features that have good win potential. To start it all off is the Fu Bat Wild. Every time it lands it will add gold coins to the Coin Pot on top of the game window. The pot might start shaking after coins have been added to trigger the random Picker Feature. The screen will change to a 5×3 grid displaying 15 golden coins, each hiding a number of free spins and multipliers.
You can now make picks until you reveal three matching icons. Should the feature trigger during the free spins round, then you’ll get only the free spins added to your count, basically a retrigger. In true Megaways style, the win multiplier will increase by x1 after each winning cascade.
Hoping for an upwards suspense curve in the Free Spins, we actually discovered that the feature described by Bally as the main event to be less valuable than the randomly triggered Picker Feature and you are about to find out why. First, you need to land minimum four gong scatters on consecutive reels starting from the left, which is odd enough. But what’s worse is that you only get 8, 10, and 12 free spins for four, five and six scatters respectively, all with a starting multiplier of x1. Again, the multiplier will increase by x1 after every winning reaction, no limits.
You can win extra free spins either by landing three to six scatters on consecutive reels on a free spin, giving you 8 to 15 additional free spins or via the Picker Feature that can trigger at any time, although you will only get the free spins without any extra multiplier.
Not sure how to rate this slot. While in the beginning, I was about to give it one point or even less, mainly for the extra cost to have some decent line pays, I grew to like it rather well after triggering the features a few times. That was of course with all five golden symbols active, meaning the minimum bet I could play at was 0.88 credits. That in itself will be a clear “dead on arrival” criteria for the game as most low to medium rollers will find the cost prohibitive.
Pretty clouded is the overall win potential for the slot. Megaways games typically exceed 10,000 times bet and that might just be the case for 88 Fortunes Megaways too. However, Bally restricts wins to 250,000 credits, which at the maximum bet of 88 credits represents a mere 2,841x stake. We went with 5,000 times bet for now and will update it accordingly should we receive any more details.