Is it John Hunter and the Book of Mystery or John Hunter and the Aztec Treasure? There seems to be some confusion at the HQ of Pragmatic Play as they changed the name of the slot to the latter but sent us the demo link under the first name. Go figure who hasn’t done his or her homework. We will leave it for now under the Aztec Treasure as all marketing materials were released under this name. I guess we will find out on 25th July 2019, the official release date for the slot.
As soon as we read “pay ways” we had a hunch that Pragmatic figured out how to produce a Megaways engine as to date they never signed a licensing agreement with Big Time Gaming. But not only that, they borrowed heavily from all-time classic “Monty” Montezuma by WMS. Connoisseurs of both slots will already know now what to expect in terms of gameplay and features.
John Hunter and the Aztec Treasure is a video slot with five reels and up to 7,776 pay ways. In every round, the game engine spins two to six symbols into view on each reel, leading to a random number of pay ways from 32 to the maximum. Wins are awarded for three to five adjacent matching symbols from left to right only.
Your reel adventure with the fabled explorer on desktop or mobile will start at 0.20 credits and peaks at 100 credits per spin. The game is rather volatile (4/5) with an RTP of 96.50%. You can activate Quick Spin or Turbo Spin to spin the reels at 2x and 6x the default speed respectively.
The Aztec theme has been chased through all sorts of video slots ever since the first one was invented. The funny part is that rarely is there something new to be seen. That doesn’t mean they come with poor graphics, quite the contrary but the theme has just become rather generic and overused.
You have an ancient temple deep in the Meso-American rain forest as background, some mammals and explorer props on the reels and a game window with tribal ornaments. The only difference on this slot is that the base game happens during night time with two torches on either side sparsely illuminating the surroundings. It changes to a sun-filled day scene in the free spins. A native soundtrack rounds off the slot design.
All pay symbols bar the scatter can appear stacked on any spin in the base game and free spins. They start at the low end with the card royals from J through to A, awarding 0.4x to 0.5x your bet for a single five of a kind. They are followed by torches, John Hunter’s hat and whip, parrots, snakes, black jaguars and John Hunter himself. Hit five across the reels to win 0.75x to 4x your stake.
A tribal golden mask is the wild symbol, appearing on reel two, three and four only and substituting for all regular pay symbols. An ancient Aztec sundial acts as the scatter.
Whilst it is possible to hit mega wins in the base game due to the sheer amount of pay ways, the key to find the hidden Aztec treasures is the ancient sundial. Land three, four or five in one spin to trigger the only feature on this variable pay ways slot, the Free Spins round, which can be retriggered indefinitely. A large sundial will appear in the middle of the screen with 12 wedges, each containg a number of free spins. It will spin once and will award the number that stops in view, which is based on how many scatters triggered the feature.
During the feature, a small horizontal reel containing different multipliers appears at the top of the game window. It will spin once for every free spin and award the multiplier stopping in view – x2, x3, x5, x7 or x10.
And there is one more kicker that Pragmatic Play borrowed from other slots such as Montezuma from WMS or Legacy of Egypt from Play’n GO. Landing minimum two scatters will award extra spins, all being played with the multiplier in view on the re-triggering spin. The Aztec sundial will appear again to determine the number of extra spins.
The game will now play first the extra spins and revert back to the normal free spins once they are completed. Obviously, the best option is to have the retrigger happening when a high multiplier lands in view as it will stay the same for all extra spins. They can also be retriggered with more being added at the same multiplier. Should the game return to the normal free spins, you can trigger yet again extra spins with a new multiplier. The round ends when both counters are down to zero.
Well, apart from the confusion about the name, this is actually a pretty good slot creation from Pragmatic Play, maybe one of the best we have seen so far, certainly the most ambitious. Players will have now a real alternative to other Megaways slots or those with the Montezuma free spins mechanic, which will be surely welcomed by those from the regions where some of those providers are restricted.
It plays well and has ample win potential in both the base game and free spins, whereas the majority of big wins will come from the latter. Careful though as the game is volatile and can go on long losing streaks.