Welcome to the debut of Niagara Falls, the first slot released on the YGS Masters platform from Yggdrasil Gaming. Launched in 2018, the program allows selected partner studios to host their games on the platform and thus making them available wherever you can find the usual catalogue of Yggdrasil slots as they are promoted under the Yggdrasil name.
Being connected to a mainstream game provider represents especially for smaller studios or complete newcomers a chance to gain in exposure and popularity without the need of having their one gaming server. To date, the best-known partner program is Microgaming’s Quickfire platform. Admittedly, it has seen some atrocious releases making their way into casino lobbies, but there were also a few gems that were actually worth playing. Question is now, will Yggdrasil and its partners fare any better?
The honour to be the first on the YGS Masters platform falls to Northern Lights Gaming, a fairly new studio founded by industry veterans with offices in Sweden and the UK. The Niagara Falls slot comes with a 1930s retro design, bet sizes of up to a bold 400 credits and a flurry of features that can lead to wins of up to 1,010 times your stake on a single spin.
Niagara Falls is a video slot with five reels, three rows and 20 fixed pay lines. Wins are awarded for three to five matching symbols on a line from left to right only. Your journey to the 1930s era on mobile, desktop or tablet starts at 0.20 credits and peaks at 400 credits per spin. The RTP for this low variance game is set at 96.20%.
Don’t really know how to describe the design as it is a mixture of 1930s vintage style and what could resemble waterfalls. The connection to the early slot machines from that era is however clearly visible with the pay symbols being designed in the typical style and the reels looking almost like the good old fashioned strips that were used before video slots game along.
On top of the game window sits a coin slot where you will throw the bonus coin in to find out whether you will win a reel modifier or free spins as displayed at the bottom of the reels. The gold coins in the hold will come into use in the Cash Fall bonus game. The main audio is a swinging piano piece that could be heard throughout the gambling establishments in the 1930s. Northern Lights also incorporated some of the mechanical noises that could be heard on the old-style slot machines.
Resembling the 1930s designs, you will find cherries, oranges and plums at the low end of the paytable, awarding wins from 1x to 2x your bet. They are followed by bells, bars, blue 7s, red 7s and the Niagara Falls slot logo. Pays for a 5OAK range now from 2.5x to 10x your stake.
There is also a wild symbol, performing the usual substitution duties and paying as well 10x your bet for a single five of a kind. A gold coin can appear on reel five on any spin to potentially award a reel modifier or an alternative way to trigger the free spins. The scatters are a wooden barrel crossed with the word “Bonus”.
A golden bonus coin landing on reel five will see the screen darken and pins appearing that resembles an early pinball machine. The coin will be thrown into the slot on top of the game window and will fall down guided only by the pins, leaving a trail in its wake.
At the bottom of each reel is a mini-slot which can spin a range of bonuses into view in every game round. See the coin fall into a slot displaying a bonus to win the respective feature or walk away emptyhanded if it falls into a blank slot.
The screen darkening on any spin in the base game will announce the next bonus feature. The said pins appear again while the reel strips step back. A random number of gold coins will be released from the hold on the top. They will fall down and into one of the five slots at the bottom. The slots are either marked with a cash value or empty. Any falling into cash slots will award the amount while for those falling into an empty slot you’ll get nothing.
A Super Coin can appear and if it falls into a marked slot it will double all wins following it. It will award 1x bet if it falls into an empty slot. Expect to see anything from 3x to 50x your bet from this feature.
You can trigger the bonus round either via the coin drop feature or by landing scatters on reels one, three and five in one spin. You’ll get five free spins which cannot be retriggered. At the start of a free spin, the five mini-slots at the bottom can now spin a wild symbol with a lock into view. The reel will then turn into a sticky wild reel for the remaining free spins.
Hitting all five one the first free spin will give you five times a full screen of wilds, each paying 200x your bet, equaling the maximum of 1,000x your bet for this slot. It can be slightly higher if you scored a win on the triggering spin.
And the ice is broken. The first ever slot on the YGS Masters platform is out and Niagara Falls is not all bad. Although, it has such a low variance that it seems sheer impossible to lose a balance or actually win something substantial. The features trigger a tad too often, leading in most cases to wins below 10x your stake, not really something that will get slotting folks overly excited.
We played the Niagara slot for a few hours in our test runs and lost on average 6x our bet per hour, that is hardcore low variance. Only time will tell if Yggdrasil will fare better than Microgaming, although in our opinion, the first release doesn’t look too promising.