The news that Microgaming had purchased a Megaways license from Big Time Gaming was met with a sense of inevitability. The original slot machine maker had stubbornly resisted BTG’s gaming engine, while many of its rivals had given in to its allure. It’s been said that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, and so Microgaming and All41 Studios have released their Megaways slot machine, Shamrock Holmes Megaways, on the Microgaming platform.
There’s no explanation for why Microgaming chose All41, but I’m sure everyone on that list will have their turn to shine eventually. No matter, Shamrock Holmes When you fire up Megaways for the first time, you shouldn’t expect much of a surprise. The 6-reel game area with the horizontal reel along the top is standard for Megaways slots. It’s also common for creators’ earliest implementations of a mechanic to be relatively safe, like Bonanza-style games.
The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, yet it is not too saccharine like some Irish-themed slot machines. Instead, it emphasizes the magical element of Gaelic tradition. However, a catchy soundtrack keeps you from getting lost while spinning, and the game’s presentation is pleasant and not too cliched on the whole. It’s unclear what our hero, Shamrock Holmes, is trying to uncover, however. Pixie-napping? Let’s accept it as true.
Shamrock Holmes Megaways may be played on any device, and players can place wagers between 20 pence and $/€20 every spin. To back up the Shamrock action, All41 has built a robust mathematical model. The game features a high maximum payout, medium to high volatility, and a good return to player percentage of 96.44%. With a hit frequency of 35.34 percent, dry spells of spins are rare.
To win, you need to line up at least three identical symbols in a row, starting with the first reel. The highest premium, Shamrock Holmes, is the only one that pays out when two of him appear side by side. With six of a type, he pays 50 times the wager, followed by pixies (2x the wager), three-leafed clovers (3x the wager), and flowers (5x the wager). Most of the payouts come from the wood-backed 9-A royals, which are the lowest-paying symbols.
The sparkling rainbow letter ‘W’ serves as the wild and appears exclusively on the bonus reel. It appears during the main game or a bonus round and stands in for any other symbol, with the exception of the scatter and the respin trigger symbol.
Holmes, Shamrock Advantages of Megaways Slots
Megaways works its magic because the exact number of symbols shifts with each spin, resulting in an unpredictable number of win ways. Magic Forest Respins, a Respin feature developed by All41, capitalizes on this element of surprise to create some of the most tense moments in the game.
When used, Magic Forest Respins are a lot of fun. A respin with a set number of Megaways is awarded when the following combination of scatters and symbols appears in the main game:
To unlock 10,000 Megaways, you’ll need three scatters plus the pixie icon on the bonus reel.
You’ll need three scatters and the Shamrock Holmes on the extra reel to unlock all 32,400 Megaways.
To activate all 117,649 Megaways, you’ll need three scatters, plus Shamrock Holmes and the fairy on the bonus reel.
Microgaming’s patented Rolling Reels feature plays a pivotal role by replacing winning symbols with completely random ones. Rolling Reels is a feature that activates at any time and keeps going until no more winning combos can be made.
The limitless win multiplier during free spins is where Shamrock Holmes really shines. Landing 4 scatters anywhere on the reels triggers 10 free games, and if there are more than 4 scatters in view, 2 extra free games are awarded for each additional scatter. The multiplier for free spin wins begins at x2, and increases by 1 with each consecutive winning combination. If you get three scatters on the bonus reel, you’ll get three additional free games; four scatters will get you four more free games.
Slot Evaluation: Shamrock, Holmes, and the Megaways
Two of the biggest names in slot creation, Microgaming and NetEnt, now own Megaways licenses. It’s interesting to observe the war’s preliminary stages played out via partner studio proxies. While Red Tiger made the initial move by replicating the slots classic Gonzo’s Quest, All41 took a more subdued approach. Still, with such a voluminous history of masterpieces under his belt, the gambling world is undoubtedly waiting with bated breath for the next move.
It’s neither shocking nor unfair to say that All41 Studios has taken it easy on the first Megaways slot. When experimenting with Megaways for the first time, many programmers proceed with caution. Free spins with an infinite multiplier are the main feature, so there’s nothing really original about it. However, you won’t find any serious flaws. Shamrock Holmes is as smooth-running as any model in the All41 lineup.
They tease with Magic Forest Respins. Although the idea isn’t very novel, they do provide an exciting moment whenever they appear and are a nice consolation for players who only manage to land three scatters instead of the four required to unlock the bonus round. Other from this, Shamrock Holmes doesn’t really accomplish anything that stands out as must-see. However, it is a trustworthy and well-designed Megaways slot, with the subject maybe appealing more to UK gamblers.
The numbers are great, too; the RTP is higher than many slots we’ve seen recently, for example. As for potential, it’s substantial at 28,000 times the wager. You shouldn’t hold your breath for a max win any time soon. This isn’t as exciting as some other volatile slot machines, but it’s still fun. Like Bonanza, your chances of scoring a 500x+ win are far lower than them staying at or around your initial balance for half a day.
There aren’t any major plot twists, and this probably won’t last very long. What we’re witnessing has, after all, been done countless times before. Still, All41 Studios has made significant strides forward with their Shamrock Holmes Megaways slot machine.