The festive season is approaching, but not all is well on the North Pole. The reindeer is up to no good on the Santa vs Rudolph slot from NetEnt. He’s hidden Santa’s hat right before they were due to embark on their journey to deliver gifts across the world. You can help Santa on this hilarious reel ride with wild substitutions, Walking Wilds with Respins, Free Spins and two extra bonus features that can lead to wins of up to 1,000 times your bet on a single spin.
Santa vs Rudolf is a video slot with five reels, three rows and 20 fixed pay lines. Wins are awarded both ways for three to five symbols on a line from left to right and from right to left. You can help Santa get his hat back on desktop or mobile from 0.20 to 100 credits per spin. The game has medium volatility with an RTP of 96.35%.
Loading the game will take you straight to Santa’s cabin in his winter wonderland. Rudolf, leaning on the porch, is taunting him as he has pinched Santa’s hat and without they cannot start their Christmas Eve journey around the world. They will come head to head on the reels as walking wilds to trigger the free spins when they clash. A quirky banjo soundtrack keeps things lively and emphasizes the humorous story line.
The pay symbols start at the low end with candied card royals from 10 through to A, awarding 3x to 5x your bet for a single five of a kind. They are followed by Santa Clause wishlists, eindeers in snow globes, Rudolf’s collar, Santa’s sack filled with presents and Santa’s sleigh. Hit five on a line to win 7.5x to 25x your stake. Worth noting is the fact that a five of a kind will be paid both ways too, e.g. a five-of-a-kind As will yield two times 5x stake, once from left to right and once from right to left, equaling 10x your stake.
Santa and Rudolph are the walking wild symbols, appearing in the base game on reels one and five only while in the free spins they can land on any reel. Both wilds perform the usual substitution duties. There are no scatters on this slot.
Following the NetEnt tradition, Santa vs Rudolph is the Christmas version of an existing slot, in this case, The Invisible Man which was released in 2014. Using the same principle, Secret of the Stones was blessed with Secrets of Christmas as a festive twin, Flowers turned into Flowers Christmas Edition and in December 2018 Egg-O-Matic became Jingle Spins, to name just a few of the games that NetEnt basically cloned over the years.
Fans of The Invisible Man will know what to expect but just in case you never played the slot, here’s a rundown of the various features. Santa and Rudolph are Walking Wilds in the base game and free spins. Santa will land on reel five only during the base game while Rudolph appears exclusively on reel one.
Both will trigger the Respin feature when they appear in a game round, moving by one reel along the same row they landed on after each respin. Santa will move from right to left and Rudolph from left to right. Multiple walking wilds can be on the reels in the same respin sequence. The respins are free and will end one spin after the last wild has dropped off the screen. Wins are accumulated and paid before the start of the next game round.
If they appeared on the same row, they will clash when they meet and trigger 10 Free Spins., which cannot be retriggered as such but +4 free spins are awarded should they clash during the feature, no limits. Santa and Rudolph can land on any reel now, triggering as well respins and moving in their direction one reel at a time.
Two meters – one for Santa Wilds and one for Rudolph Wilds – will appear on top of the game window, each with 8 digits. Every time any of the two wilds lands on a free spin, it will be added to the respective meter. The first fully charged meter will then award an extra bonus feature that will be played once the free spins have concluded. Failing to fill a meter, will see the round ending after the last free spin.
Seeing another cloned Christmas version of an existing NetEnt slot had us instantly eye-rolling. But then fond memories of playing The Invisible Man came forward, leading us to give NetEnt a pass for this year. The humorous storyline with a smirking Rudolf works really well too in this case. We just hope that one year the Swedish studio will make the effort to bring us a real festive surprise with a completely new slot instead of taking constantly the lazy road.