Posted in Game Reviews, New Games February 12, 2019
Third Tomb Raider Slot by Microgaming
There’s one common thing that is happening in the gaming community — certain fanbases expect nothing special from their favourite companies, yet they always feel slightly disappointed. The main cause of this phenomenon is the fact that some of the largest companies are creating games exclusive to mobile phones.
Diablo 4 certainly was the most unpleasant announcement in 2018, or possibly in the last decade. The franchise did lose a bit of popularity, and although Blizzard never promised anything, hardcore fans expected the fourth game to be released, not even thinking about a mobile version. You can only imagine how everyone felt after playing the first three games and what expansions they could have had. Although Blizzard has a fair point that mobile gaming is a great space to enter, this time from a business standpoint, the company is not doing any good for their old fans. This is neither the first nor the last type of change we have seen in the gaming industry.
At this point, you might be wondering what is Diablo 4, and all of this has to do with the announcement Microgaming had to make last week. Well, the purpose of the announcement was to emphasise how big of a deal this slot actually is. While everyone is chasing money and doing what the market tells them to, Microgaming actually decided to do something special for their fans.
You might not recognise Square Enix, but you are definitely familiar with Eidos. Square Enix bought Eidos in 2009, releasing Tomb Raider Games and owning all the licences. This is why Microgaming needed to strike another deal with them in order to make the third game in the series. Releasing the game a year ago might have been a better idea, as the latest movie with a budget of approximately $100 million was released back then, earning over $275 million in only a few months! On the other hand, one simply cannot disregard Microgaming’s business plan and strategy due to their reputation and everything they have done over the past 25 years.
The First Tomb Raider Game
Microgaming released the first Tomb Raider slot at the end of October 2004. It’s crazy to think that this was almost 15 years ago since the graphics of this game look as if it came out only a couple of years ago. It has 5 reels, 3 rows, and 15 optional paylines, and the minimum amount needed to spin the reels at least once is 0.05. Since 37.5 coins is the maximum betting value, high-gamblers can gamble it in one roll if they want to, with all betting size variables maxed out.
The RTP of 95.22% was low for the standards back then, and it still is pretty low by the standards of today. Even if there were multiple incredibly entertaining features, it wouldn’t be worth risking. However, this shouldn’t stop you from playing the game. It didn’t stop millions of people from playing it over the past 15 years, and if you are a true Tomb Raider fan, you wouldn’t mind even a lower number, as the game tells a complete story and portrays the main character in the best possible way.
The Wild symbol helps you connect the standard ones, while three Lara Croft symbols award ten Free spins. This is why the RTP shouldn’t be the only parameter you look at when choosing a game to play — all wins during the Free spins feature are tripled, except the bonus game prizes. The bonus game is activated with three or more bonus Idol symbols. It is up to you to select any of the twelve available Idols on the screen. Each one hides a prize, and the more Idols you get at the activation round, the more you can turn and reveal the prizes.
Was the 2nd Release Better?
The most important change we saw in comparison to the 2nd release was the implementation of the paytable. The first game had a paytable of a sort, but it had to be opened in a separate window and had plain text with only a small number of pictures. Four years passed until Microgaming decided to continue the series and the integrated paytable they introduced in the third version of this slot was quite refreshing. Players could easily open the paytable and check the possible prizes. The most rewarding symbol of the slot was Lara in action that gave 2,000x for five of a kind.
Another major change was the 50% increase in paylines, and although Microgaming kept them optional, the coin value was decreased down to 0.20. All in all, players ended up with a wider betting span where the minimum was 0.01, and the maximum 60.00 coins. Besides the paytable and new features, this was the best change Microgaming made compared to the first game.
When it comes to bonus features, Microgaming nailed it. Players were surprised by two completely new features and enhanced Free spins (rolling reels included). During the Free spins, you can activate a multiplier as high as 5x. Super Mode is the feature that defines the term ‘random’ in slot machine gambling; it is activated randomly, awards 5 spins and places random Wilds across the reels. The Global Adventure Bonus is a bit more complex, which is why the thorough explanation on how it works takes two entire pages in the paytable.
Third Game Expectations
Eleven years have passed, and we are yet to see how the fans of the Tomb Rider slot react to the official game announcement which will occur in February at London’s ICE. We highly doubt that Microgaming ran out of ideas and decided to continue a 15-year old franchise out of nowhere. They know exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it at this particular time.
Seeing their most recent games and knowing how advanced the 3D graphics are nowadays, the expectations are extremely high. No one wants to see the replica of the 2008 release with outdated animations and similar features. All Microgaming has to do is give their best to get the RTP as close as they can to 96% (hopefully above the average), come up with rewarding and great looking features, and make beautiful animations.
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