Go on a quest to find long-forgotten treasures of the Mesoamerican civilization on the slot from NetEnt. Rise of Maya will take you back in time to find a hidden temple of the Mayan people with four different wilds, a random Scatter Nudge, a Bonus Bet with respins and a free spins round that can lead to wins of up to 2,500 times your bet in a single round.
Rise of Maya is a video slot with five reels, three rows and 10 fixed pay lines. Wins are awarded for two to five matching symbols on a line from left to right only. Venture into the Mesoamerican rainforest on desktop or mobile from 0.10 to 75 credits per spin. The game has medium volatility with a default RTP of 96.12%. Using the Bonus Bet will raise the stake sizes to 0.20 to 150 credits and the RTP to 96.42%.
The translucent reels are set inside a Mayan temple, flanked by two eternal flames and backed against a wall with a giant golden mask, which will open in the free spins to unveil the staircase to the hidden treasure chamber. Colourful masks populate the reels together with a golden serpent that will have a significant role in the gameplay.
The pay symbols start at the low end with the card royals from 10 through to A in Mayan style, awarding 3x to 7.5x your bet for a single five of a kind. They are followed by five differently coloured Mayan masks at the high level. Hit five on a line to win 15x to 250x your stake.
A golden icon with a red background and a rolled-up red-eyed serpent that is marked with the word itself acts as the wild symbol, substituting for all symbols including the scatter, which is the same golden mask but without the red background and marking.
Mayan-themed or for a matter of fact also Aztec-themed slots are usually intense affairs with plenty of action and features on the reels. Netent tried to match that to the largest part with a range of wilds and a free spins round with hot reels. Plus, they allow players to activate a Bonus Bet at a cost to improve the chances of triggering the main feature.
But let’s start with Serpent Wilds. There is a standard single wild, two expanding Serpent Wilds and last but not least a Serpent Stack. The latter can appear in the Free Spins only. No need to explain the single wild as it performs the usual substitution duties. Thee two expanding Serpent Wilds will expand either up or down and may cover the entire reel. In turn, the Serpent Stacks will always expand to cover the entire reel when they land on a hot reel (more to that in a moment).
Hitting any combination of three Serpent Wilds and scatters anywhere on the reels in one spin will trigger 15 Free Spins, which can be retriggered. All reels where a Serpent Wild landed on the triggering spin will turn into hot reels. Any Serpent Wilds appearing on a hot reel will expand to cover the entire reel. This is the moment where you can hit the maximum win in a single spin. A full screen of expanded Serpent Stacks will pay a cool 2,500x your bet.
It’s not over yet as NetEnt incorporated a few extras into the gameplay that can have quite an impact. First is the Scatter Nudge which can trigger on a losing spin in the base game and free spins to nudge Serpent Wilds or scatters into view.
The other extra is the Bonus Bet: Second Chance Scatter option which you can activate or deactivate on any spin in the main game. It will double the cost per spin, e.g. from 1 to 2 credits, and in return will increase the chance to land additional Serpent Wilds or scatters, potentially triggering the Free Spins more often and that with more hot reels. According to the game sheet, the free spins trigger on average 1:125 spins in default mode and 1:46 spins with the Bonus Bet. Certainly, something to consider if the balance allows it.
And there is one more advantage when activating the Bonus Bet. The Second Chance Scatter Respin will trigger on any spin the base game where only two Serpent Wilds or scatters land on the initial spin. The reels without them will spin one more time for another chance to land the missing third Serpent Wild or scatter.
Not sure whether I like this slot or how to rate it. We had only the game sheet for this review, hence, we couldn’t give it a proper test run to get a better feeling how it all performs over a few thousand spins. On the surface, it looks like an interesting game although the visuals are somewhat below the usual NetEnt standard.
It hinges to a large part on the Serpent Wilds and hot reels in the free spins to score sizeable wins that go over the normal line pays. Having all five reels as hot reels will surely make a big difference but knowing slots maths that case will be as rare as snow in the desert. Well, maybe a bit more often as the game sheet reveals a 1:20.7 million chance to hit an overall win of 3.333x bet in the free spins round.