Surprise, surprise! We have the second game studio jumping on the Megaways bandwagon with their own take on dynamic reel layouts. While Red Rake Gaming made the effort to create for Tiger and Dragons a giant game window that has always one million ways with a random number of positions being blanked out by blockers on every spin, Play’n GO went for the near-clone approach.
Just a few weeks ago we witnessed the Starblast debacle that saw Play’n GO being forced to rebrand and redesign the slot as NetEnt took legal action due the blatant similarities to the name and mechanics of their hit slot Starburst. The slot was then re-released under the name of Crystal Sun. You would think that Play’n GO learned their lesson and would not repeat the same again. But they actually went the opposite way and created with Perfect Gems an even more brazen near-clone of an existing hit slot. Big Time Gaming (BTG) and Bonanza have been the target this time and it will be interesting to see how the case will develop.
Either way, Megaways are now Payways on the Perfect Gems slot and you can benefit from up to 21,609 of them on any given spin in the base game and bonus round. While also using a horizontal reel like the Megaways engine, Play’n GO has developed a different mechanic to determine the number of ways for each spin. Different are also the win multipliers which will increase progressively on any spin instead of just in the free spins. Altogether, you can win up to 5,000 times your bet which is the usual win cap for Play’n GO slots.
Perfect Gems is a cascading video slot with six reels, three to seven rows and up to 21,609 payways. Wins are awarded for three to six adjacent symbols from left to right only. Playable on desktop, mobile and tablet, you can turn the reels for 0.20 to 100 credits per spin. Going by the usual numbers on Play’n GO slots, the RTP of this highly volatile game (10/10) is set at 96.50%. or 94.50%, based on what an operator chooses. Check the help files to find out what version you will be playing.
A medieval workroom of a diamond setter or gem creator serves as the backdrop to an extravagant game window with pay symbols designed in an artistic Rococo style typical of that era. For whatever reason, the background changes to a dark night setting during the bonus round. No matter how well Play’n GO is trying to conceal the similarities to Bonanza and other Megaways slots, the horizontal reel with four symbol positions will always give it away.
Brace for more Bonanza similarities in the pay symbol set. They start unsurprisingly with the card royals from 9 through to A at the low end, paying 0.8x to 1.5x your bet for a single six of a kind. Obviously, gems are the high-value symbols on the slot. In ascending order you will see red, green, yellow and blue gem arrangements in a variety of shapes. Hit six across the reels to win 2x to 25x your stake.
An intricate golden tile with an artistic “W” acts as the wild symbol, appearing in the horizontal reel only. The apparent Perfect Gem is the scatter symbol, which might alleviate the potential conflict with BTG as you don’t need to spell out GOLD or any other word to trigger the free spins.
Play’n GO had to get creative to have on a spin a random number of three to seven symbols on a reel. Obviously, the could not use a mechanic that is too similar to the Megaways engine. To achieve the feat, they fixed the first and sixth reel with three reel positions. They are followed by reels two, three, four and five with also three reel positions as default. However, the horizontal reel on top will add a fourth symbol to each of the centre reels. Altogether, you will have as default a 3-4-4-4-4-3 format with 2,304 ways to win.
And here comes the not so insignificant trick how Play’n GO is trying to differentiate their engine. Should a symbol on the horizontal reel match a symbol on the reel below then the symbol on the main reel will split into two, creating more payways (awkward name, to be honest).
At the start of a spin sequence, symbols drop on to the reels while the horizontal reel spins the additional symbols into view. First, the game will perform any possible symbol splits before evaluating any potential wins. The winning combos will be removed and new symbols tumble into place, followed by the next difference to the Megaways engine. A progressive win multiplier increases by x1 after each cascade in the base game and free spins, and that with no limits.
Any new matching symbols in the horizontal reels and on the reel directly below it will again see the symbol on the main reel split. However, each reel position can split only once in a spin sequence. This can lead at the maximum to a 3-7-7-7-7-3 format with 21,609 payways. A spin sequence ends when no new wins occur after a tumble and all symbols as well as the win multiplier are reset to the default.
Ready for the “perfect” bonus round? Then hit three, four, five or six scatters to trigger 9, 15, 21 and 27 free spins respectively. Any scatter landing during the feature will add +2 free spins, no limits. Plus any multiplier from the triggering spin will be transferred to the bonus round. It will keep increasing by x1 with each winning tumble and will not reset at the end of a free spin. This mechanic is exactly copied from Bonanza and other Megaways slot, although that might not be the main concern of Big Time Gaming as we suspect the dynamic reels will be at the centre of a potential dispute.
Well, how shall we judge this attempt at dynamic reels by Play’n GO? While it does it visually in a different way it is still a random selection of reel positions for every spin. BTG is surely going to take a detailed look at the game and act if they find any possible infringement of their patented Megaways engine. Other than looking forward to how the events will unfold, you can actually enjoy spinning the reels on the Perfect Gems slot as it is entertaining to play and has ample win potential.