On the surface, the story of a count who spent his life in prison does not sound like great material for a slot. When you play, you’ll find an excellent novelty game based on this dark topic. The story first appeared in a novel by Alexandre Dumas, published in 1844. There are two settings for this game. The first is a stone dungeon, the second is the Chateau on a Mediterranean Island – where the prison was based.
This is not a slot in the traditional sense at all. There are no reels, and no matching symbols to line up. The game involves a bouncing ball, and several different special symbols it is trying to hit. For me it has slot like qualities in the anticipation and chances of sudden big wins. There are also free game bonuses and a separate vividly illustrated picks game.
Before you hit the play button, your only decision is how much to bet for. This starts at just 2c per game – and goes up as high as your bankroll will allow. There is an auto play on offer too.
The setup is a square containing different patterns of small tiles. There are walls (solid ones, soft ones and damaged ones), prize symbols and special symbols. When you play a glowing ball appears, and bounces around from a random starting point and trajectory. This will break through walls, hitting the winning symbols – which trigger your prizes.
Most times you play the ball will bounce around, eventually running out of steam and dying with a fizzle sound. Other times, the ball will break through at a strategic point, triggering multiple 5x or bigger wins. The pattern will change every 15 or so plays, which does help to keep things fresh.
A pile of gold coins is the base win, this is worth 0.5 of your spin amount. These coins will cascade down the screen with an effective tinkling sound when you hit them. Next comes a jeweled ring, which is worth 5x your play amount. These are more likely to be hidden behind soft walls that need to be struck twice before letting the ball through.
The highest paying symbols are a green treasure chest, which is worth 25x your play amount, and a blue gem which is worth 100x. These will be more difficult to hit, needing the ball to break through at difficult angles, or destroy more than one wall. It is possible to hit several symbols in a single game – and most games have at least one of the highest paying blue gems.
To make the game play more interesting, there are some extra symbols with different (though not always favorable) qualities. The most common one is a round bomb. This will explode the symbols next to it – awarding wins and breaking down the soft or damaged walls – though not the metal ones.
There is a ball mask, which awards an extra game without the walls you have already broken refreshing. A heart will add 3 bounces (you can hit more than one to keep the game going even longer). A skull and crossbones symbol is not welcome. If the ball hits this, that game ends right away.
Finally, there are symbols to trigger the bonus games. A gold key triggers the break out picks game, and a book bound in chains the free spins game.
The key picks game is very simple – though looks amazing. This takes you to a dark dungeon scene, where you will see 2 large wooden doors. You pick one, which opens revealing treasure or nothing. Those doors then move out, giving you 2 more to pick from – and so on. At the end of this game, you’ll be given a choice of whether you play in the dungeon, or on the Island. The games are the same, though the background graphics and ambient sounds very different. If you trigger this same bonus from the Island view, you’ll see ornate doors of the Chateau instead.
Free games are at the same play amount you triggered with. The game layout does change for these. You can get more spins by hitting the special book symbols to extend your game by up to 3 rounds. A message, which looks like it has been written on a scroll, confirms your total win at the end.
Overall the designs for both the dungeon and the island are excellent. Above the reels the logo is gold on wooden planks, and has keys showing the prison concept. The symbols are small, giving plenty of room for the bouncing ball. There are some good animations and sound effects from these.
Things go to a new level for the picks game, where the dark doors have an eerie quality to them.
After some initial skepticism, I really started to enjoy the Monte Cristo slot. This is a novel game, and not a slot in the traditional sense at all. There are plenty of chances for big wins, with 100x possible on any play from the blue gem symbol. An extra game with the missing walls, free spins, a picks game, 2 settings and plenty of variations in the symbol layouts all add to the enjoyment.