There’s new competition for the title of best Megaways bonus round. The Megaways update to an established slot by SG Digital and marquee maker WMS is a pleasant surprise. While the original Montezuma may not be ancient, it certainly benefited from the makeover and the extra care that was taken with it. WMS Megaways slots have been wildly inconsistent throughout the past few releases. While Raging Rhino Megaways was entertaining at times, it also had its share of problems, and Battleship Direct Hit is best left unsaid. Montezuma Megaways appears to have improved upon many of the issues that were raised about the aforementioned games.
The visual appeal is largely unchanged, which is good considering that this is an improvement. Symbols are the same, and the hot South American feel is present with a few tweaks. All in all, it’s a perfect fit for the original’s audience. That is, until you spin the reels and the Megaways gameplay engine goes into action. There are 6 reels in the primary play area, and each can hold between 2 and 7 icons. There’s a row of four symbols up top called the Montezuma Wheel. With all cylinders firing, there are 117,649 possible outcomes. Megaways Cascading Reels is a feature exclusive to Montezuma Megaways. In this game, when a winning combination occurs, the winning symbols explode off the reels and fresh symbols fall in to replace them. This means that one spin could start a series of wins.
As is normally the case with these cascading win systems, individual symbols typically possess fairly minimal value. The paytable has both low and high value groups, and combinations ranging from 3 of a kind to 6 of a kind are possible. The four aces are the low cards, while the snake, mask, plumed hat, hawk, empress, and emperor are the high cards. The emperor was named Montezuma, and the empress’s name was Chichimecacihuatzin. For six of a kind, he is worth 25 times the bet. Not bad, however the other paytable highs only award between 0.25x and 1x the wager for a full house of six symbols. The return to player (RTP) ranges from 95.92% without the Buy Pass feature to 96.17% with it activated. The game has a solid bonus round that really shines during the medium to high volatility it offers.
Functions of the Montezuma Megaways
Helping string combos together is the Temple Wild symbol. This special symbol appears exclusively on the Montezuma Reel and can be used in place of any standard pay sign. The Montezuma Respin Wheel feature activates at random after a losing spin. During the main game and the free spins, the top horizontal 1×4 reel can receive a slight shove to increase the player’s chances of winning.
The Aztec Calendar scatter is all you need except these two. Free games begin after 3 or more scatters have landed. The number of bonus spins is undetermined, just like in the original game. Instead, the segments of a wheel rotate. Whatever number it lands on is the number of free spins which is normally 12 – 30. During free spins, the gameplay is identical to the main game with two key modifications. The first is a multiplier for unlimited wins that grows by one with each cascade. Additionally, scatter symbols persist, but they do not result in additional free spins being awarded. In this case, the wheel is spun again, and the multiplier is increased by the number that appears. The more scatters that activate the wheel, the bigger the bonus multiplier which can be up to +100.
Those scatters are desirable at any point in the bonus game, but especially on the last free spin. When that happens, the wheel starts turning once more. The multiplier it lands on this time is used to the sum of money won during the free spins bonus round, which can significantly alter the outcome.
There is a guaranteed bonus in addition to the free spins. If the round’s total winnings don’t amount to at least 30 times the stake, the player receives 30 times the stake instead. Certainly not a target toward which to strive, but a nice touch nonetheless.
The Montezuma Megaways may feature a Buy Pass option, depending on the laws in your country. The price tag of 85x the stake is reasonable in comparison to other recently announced products. If you activate this feature, you will receive at least three scatters on the next spin.
Judgment on the Montezuma Megaways
Compared to the classic Montezuma slot and other WMS Megaways games, Montezuma Megaways is light years ahead. WMS deserves praise for listening to player feedback and developing a game that is far smoother and more fluid than Raging Rhino Megaways. The end result is a substantially updated version of the original game that nonetheless retains vestiges of its physical slot machine roots.
Speaking of potential, Montezuma is capable of returning up to 12,500 times the stake. While not a record for Megaways, it’s still quite good and significantly higher than Battleship’s ridiculous 2,500x limit.
Future video segments will showcase wins from the infinite Megaways Multiplier during free spins. Those who can use the bonus Buy Pass to get there quickly may be tempted to do so. Those who can’t access these kinds of purchasing options have yet additional reason to resent their government for treating them unfairly. In any case, WMS has done a fantastic job with the reproduction of the classic slot Montezuma Megaways, using the popular engine from Big Time Gaming. They have maintained enough of the original while dragging it through a modernising process to make a highly pleasant slot that can be as profitable as it is amusing.