- Two different bonuses to enjoy
- Bonus buy option in some markets
- Wide variety of stake sizes
- Very low top win of 1,295X stake
- Low variance slot, so expect small, frequent wins
Mermaid Reef is a new video slot from ReelPlay, themed, of course, around mermaids. The slot can be played from between 0.10 and 150 credits per spin and the slot’s RTP varies between 95.92% and 96.06%. Bonuses and features include free spins, a "pick me bonus" and a gamble function.
When you think of underwater and mermaid inspired video slots you probably don’t think of Australia - but that’s the setting of Mermaid Reef, a new video slot from ReelPlay (formally known as Chance Interactive). Mermaid Reef is set around the Great Barrier Reef, and it’s set in the shallows of the water, so enough light penetrates from the surface to light up much of the coral and sea creatures.
The slot itself is built around a 5-reel, 3-row format, and there are 10 fixed paylines; fixed, meaning that you are unable to change or adjust the number of paylines active on each spin. Stake options are fairly generous, and you’ll find yourself able to spin the reels from between 0.10 and 150 credits per spin - but it’s easy to see why, as the game offers a pretty unimpressive maximum win of just 1,295X your stake.
The RTP of Mermaid Reef starts at 95.92%, although it does rise to 96.06% when you opt to use the “Bonus Buy” option. We’ll cover more details of that - and all the other bonuses and features in Mermaid Reef later in this review.
Mermaid Reef’s Symbols And Payouts
Unfortunately, Mermaid Reef’s underwhelming nature continues into the symbols and payouts, and while ReelPlay have done a semi-decent job of making the game’s icons look good, they are, unfortunately, all pretty low-paying. The game’s lower-paying symbols are all royals, including playing card values, including 10, jack, queen, king, and ace. You’ll also find the addition of a ‘9’ which is an even lower paying addition to the game’s roster of symbols.
The rest of the game’s symbols are all animals from below the depths of the sea, and you’ll find a jellyfish, a starfish, a clownfish and a cute collective of dolphins. The premiums do pay a bit better than the lower-paying icons, but they’re still not amazing with the best paying just 100X for lining up a 5-of-a-kind combo.
We should also point out that Mermaid Reef has a wild symbol - and, unsurprisingly, this is represented by the Mermaid herself. She appears in a unique size, as a 1X3 symbol, and she can land fully or partially in view on reels two, three and four. The wild Mermaid substitutes for all other symbols except for the two scatter symbols which includes the Pearl and Clam, both of which play an important role in the game’s bonuses which we’ll cover in the following part of this review.
Mermaid Reef’s Bonus Features
Mermaid Reef has a couple of bonuses we’re going to look at - and while, admittedly, they aren’t particularly breathtaking, they can conjure up some modest wins - but don’t expect to walk away with monster hits like you’d find in more volatile machines. Let’s kick things off with a look at the most commonly-triggered bonus, the Free Spins round.
The free-spins bonus in Mermaid Reef is triggered by landing 3, 4, or 5 of the scatter symbols anywhere in view. Once you do so, you’ll be awarded 10, 15 or 20 free spins respectively. Unfortunately, we were left fairly disappointed with the free spins round, as the only real difference is that a 2X multiplier is applied against all wins. That’s pretty much it!
The Clam scatter symbols appear on the middle three reels only, and if you manage to land all three in view during the base-game you’ll trigger the Pearl Bonus. You are then taken to a brand new game screen where you’ll see 15 Clam symbols on your screen.
Your goal is to pick from these 15 symbols, and once you match three of the same claims you’ll be awarded a cash prize. You get to keep picking from the clams until you match three black pearls (which don’t award great cash values) or until you successfully pick all the white and gold pearls.
ReelPlay has chosen to incorporate a feature buy mechanic into Mermaid Reef, and this allows you to purchase direct entry to the Pearl Bonus. It’s a reasonably-priced feature buy, costing 55X your stake - but bear in mind the potential returns aren’t great, and with a maximum win cap under 2,000X, we can’t imagine why you’d go too crazy buying the feature.
There’s a generic gamble option in Mermaid Reef too, and this can be triggered after any win during the base-game, or after the bonus round has completed. If you want to gamble your win, you’ll see four playing cards on the screen.
To double your win, you’ll need to try and guess the colour of the chosen card while guessing the correct suit will quadruple your win total. You can gamble your wins a total of five times in a row, or until you reach the game’s maximum win cap.
Our Verdict Of Mermaid Reef
While Mermaid Reef may be a ‘first’ for ReelPlay - in terms of offering a feature buy and a gamble feature - we can’t help but feel as though the slot is, on the whole, somewhat of a letdown. There’s nothing particularly notable about the slot, and it’s not providing players with anything they likely haven’t seen over and over in the past.
What’s more, while ReelPlay touts the game as being medium in variance, in reality, we’d say it plays out much more like a low variance slot - and it doesn’t really feel like there’s much in the way of big win-potential on offer.
We’re also quite surprised to see that ReelPlay has opted not to incorporate the Infinity Reels mechanic into the game. It’s proved to be a tremendous success for them in their other titles (and other game studios like Relax Gaming and Boomerang Studios) so we’re surprised they’re not trying to push it out as much as they can.
Another major factor that lets Mermaid Reef down is the low win-potential on offer. According to the game developer themselves, the most you can win in the base-game - on a single spin - is just 342.5X your stake, and during the base-game the maximum win on a single spin is just 700X stake. This is far less than the vast majority of slots out there today, and why ReelPlay decided to cap the slot’s maximum atin at 1,295X is… well, anyone’s guess.
We’ll end this review with the following statement: Mermaid Reef is a letdown from ReelPlay. They’ve got solid momentum in the iGaming world right now, and we hope that in their next release they’re able to claw back some of this momentum - because it’s not present in Mermaid Reef, and it’s almost certainly going to prove to be a letdown for fans of the software provider.
Disclaimer: Mermaid Reef trademark / license is owned by ReelPlay. This site is not endorsed by ReelPlay.
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|Slot Name:||Mermaid Reef|
|Min Bet (all lines covered):||£0.10 (GBP)|
|Max Bet:||£150 (GBP)|
|Features:||Bonus Game, Wild Symbol, Scatter Symbol, Free Spins, High volatility|
|Available in GB?||Yes. ReelPlay have a UKGC license and are allowed to offer their games at UK licensed casinos.|
Mermaid Reef FAQs
Who made Mermaid Reef?
Mermaid Reef is developed and designed by a company called ReelPlay - a developer who used to be known as Chance Interactive. ReelPlay is best-known for creating the “Infinity Reels” mechanic which was created as a viable alternative to Big Time Gaming’s Megaways mechanic. It’s proved successful for the company, and today, they’re regarded as being one of the leading software providers in the iGaming industry.
What’s the RTP of Mermaid Reef?
Mermaid Reef has a varying RTP scale; this means that the RTP changes depending on various options that you take in the game. For example, regular base-game play sees the RTP set at 95.9%. This RTP actually increases to 96.06% when you use the “Feature Buy” option, although of course; the game becomes much more volatile when playing this way, meaning it’s pretty easy to start seeing your balance declining fast!
What’s the maximum win in Mermaid Reef?
Another fairly disappointing element of Mermaid Reef, for us, is the fact that it offers a relatively small maximum win - at least when compared against other slots. The maximum amount of money you’ll be able to win from a single spin - regardless of whether it’s a spin during the base-game or an entire bonus - is just 1,295X your stake. This is way less than we’d expect to see in today’s fast-paced and competitive iGaming industry and especially low from a developer like ReelPlay who are known for creating high variance machines.
What kind of volatility does Mermaid Reef have?
According to ReelPlay, Mermaid Reef is built around a mid-variance math model. This means you can expect fairly frequent wins in the base-game, but be warned; these wins are likely to be worth far less than those you’d get in more volatile games released today.
What are some of the bonuses and features I’ll find in Mermaid Reef?
Mermaid Reef offers a wide variety of bonus features - and there are two main ones you’ll want to be aware of. The first one is the Free Spins bonus round which is triggered by landing 3, 4, or 5 of the scatter symbols anywhere in view. Along with a free-spins bonus you’ll also find the Pearl Bonus, which is activated when you land three of the Pearl symbols anywhere in view during the base-game. When this happens, you’ll get to pick from pearls to win cash prizes worth up to 1,000X your stake.
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