Start the festivities with the new Holly Jolly Penguins slot
I must admit, I don't quite know how penguins have crow-barred themselves into the Christmas story but I have seen plenty of evidence that they have in recent years. Penguins of course live at the South Pole, whereas Father Christmas and his Elves all reside at the North Pole, so the legend goes.
Not that this seems to have stopped this motley crew of penguins enjoying their Christmas festivities in the Holly Jolly Penguins slot and if Microgaming have produced a corking game to play, then we'll forgive them their lack of geography and nature knowledge and suspend disbelief for the duration of our sessions on the game.
So how do these Holly Jolly Penguins shape up? Let's take a closer look and find out.
- Game: Holly Jolly Penguins
- Developer: Microgaming
- Reels: 5
- Pay Lines: 45 (non-selectable)
- Minimum Bet: $0.50
- Maximum Bet: $500
- Jackpot: 1,500 coins
- Free Spins Bonus: Yes
- Other Bonuses: No
- Progressive: No
- Volatility: Low to Medium
It's a rather festive scene that is behind the reels as you join Lorenzo, Rudy, Tania, Sven, Ole, Larry, Darryl, Quincy and Quadi at the North Pole for some penguin downtime and a little festive fun. These penguins are celebrating the festive season in a variety of unusual ways and that is the theme of this rather charming slot.
Set against the backdrop of a snowy-banked lake, festooned with Christmas trees and presents, this is a 5x3 reel slot which has 45 lines in play on each spin. The graphics on the slot are cartoon styled and a little cheesy, but it is accompanied with a Christmassy sounding tune that seems to be a miss-match of several different Christmas songs.
It's all rather jolly and nice to see a Christmas slot without Father Christmas grinning out at you too.
What is on the reels?
The reels are in the middle of the screen imposed over the penguin's pond and they consist of playing card symbols as the lower paying symbols. These are low paying offerings though with pay outs ranging from a tenth to 1.8x your stake. So, in truth, even if you land lots of these wins, you are not going to be making any money.
Five of the penguin symbols are the higher value options. These offer wins of between one fifth of your wager to 4.5x your wager. Again these are not particularly huge wins and you can see that in order to maximise your earning potential on the Holly Jolly Penguins slot, you are going to need to activate the key bonus features of the game. We will explore these in the section below.
There are two different Wild symbols on the reels, both of them different penguin characters, and each of them can substitute for all symbols apart from the other Wild and the Scatter. Each of the Wilds is stacked on the reels and can produce some big value wins by allowing you to win across multiple pay lines on a single spin, especially when you land more than one of these stacks on a spin.
You can also earn from 1/5 to 20x your total bet by landing between two and five of the same Wild symbol across the reels. If you land a mix of Wilds across the reels, then the size of your win is half that of a win comprising of just one Wild symbol.
The Wild symbols play a key role in allowing you some of the better value wins in the base game and it is through these that the bigger value wins in the base game are generally landed.
Free Spins features
The main Free Spins feature of the Holly Jolly Penguins slot is triggered when you land three or more of the Sledding Penguins Scatter symbol across the reels, but in sequence across the reels, you cannot land Scatters in any position on the reels like in some other games.
In addition to launching your Free Spins, you also receive a cash prize, which increases in value markedly with every additional Scatter that you land as part of the win. You can land between 3 and 7 Scatters to trigger a cash prize of between 1x and 3x your total stake. Scatters can be stacked on the reels.
Depending on how many Scatters you land, you can win between 5 and 20 Free Spins. However, if you manage to land one of the Penguin Wilds on the second or third reel on the triggering spin, these act as a multiplier for your Free Spins, offering a 2x multiplier to the number of spins earned. Land Wilds on both reels and trigger with 5 or more Scatters and you get 20 x 2 x 2, which is the maximum 80 Free Spins.
Furthermore, you can win an additional 5, 10 or 20 Free Spins by landing three or more Scatters across the reels during the bonus round. There is no limit on how many additional Free Spins you can trigger in the feature.
Best feature of the Holly Jolly Penguins slot
I rather like the cartoon presentation of this new Microgaming slot and allied to that is a simple but fun game that is easy to understand. Of all the features of the slot I think the Scatter is the key one to get the best out of the game. Regular three Scatter wins will at least offer you your stake money back on a spin and this does trigger nice and frequently.
The Free Spins bonus takes longer to trigger but it can be very worthwhile especially if you can land a higher than average number of Free Spins. The number of spins you land is crucial as the greater the number, especially if you can re-trigger the bonus too, then the far greater chance you have of landing a much higher value prize.
When you look at the small size of some of the wins on the Holly Jolly Penguins slot, you do think that you are in for a torrid time on the game, but the fact that there are two Wild symbols stacked on the reels, plus those key Scatter pay outs when they land three or more on the reels, actually makes this a more lower to medium variance game. You do get a nice mix of higher and lower value wins but occasionally the game can play a little tight and the Free Spins bonus can be a little difficult to trigger at times. That said, when you do land it, some sizeable wins are possible. All in all, Holly Jolly Penguins is a rather nice take on a Christmas slot and well worth a closer look.
You can play this fantastic new slot at any of our Mega Moolah casinos.
Byline: This article was published by Henry.
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