If it was not for the familiar ‘click click’ sounds as the reels stop, I’d find it hard to believe that this was an Aristocrat slot. Walking Dead takes the games by this slots creator to the next level, with break out bonuses, video clips and other features. This slot is based on the hugely popular TV series of the same name, with characters, locations and themes from this all included in the gameplay. You’ll find it at US based live casinos at the moment – though I am sure that Aristocrat has plans to roll this one out around the world. There is even a linked chair for this game, which will move and jump to increase the intensity of the zombie theme.
Another break from the normal Aristocrat slots is a linked progressive jackpot. This starts at $500,000, which puts it squarely into the ‘potentially life-changing money’ category. There are also some smaller jackpot payouts.
A feature of Aristocrat slots which is in just about every game they ever made is absent this time. The familiar playing card symbols are gone. You’ll also not get the chance to gamble on the flip of a card after winning. The fountain of coins for big wins, and a free spins round are included, alongside 2 different bonus wheels.
This is a reel power game, so there are no traditional win-lines. Instead the wins are formed by consecutive symbols on any reel starting at the left hand side. You play 75 credits to get the benefit of the features, at a minimum of 1c and maximum of $4. You need to spin for $3 to be in with a chance of the biggest progressive jackpot prize.
Symbols include the main characters from the TV series, including Rick Grimes and Morgan Jones. These are double or triple size on the reels, which can lead to bigger wins. Smaller wins can be gained from the bus, crow or baseball bat.
One symbol you’ll be happy to see is the word ‘Guts’ which covers an entire reel. The letters then ooze down the screen (complete with sound effects), revealing up to 4 wild symbols. These can significantly add to your winning combinations, and substitute for anything except for the bonus symbol.
With this slot, getting 3 ‘wheel’ bonus symbols is the start of an adventure themed on the TV series involving 2 completely different bonus wheels, plus a possible free spins round.
There are plenty of clips and animations based on the show before you even get to the first bonus wheel. I love the way the horde of zombies walking around in front of the wheel all turn to watch the action when you spin. You start the first wheel moving by clicking the ‘spin’ button in the middle.
This is called the Atlantic City wheel, again a reference to the show. It contains segments which give you jackpots (including the big progressive), credit amounts, free spin games or which send you to the second wheel. If you get a prize amount, you spin again, with up to 7 levels possible and the wins all adding up.
The second wheel, which you get to through the first, is called the CDC wheel – the Center for Disease Control. This is a completely different format, instead of acting like a ‘wheel of fortune’ wheel, it is vertical, so you are see the different prizes scrolling in front of you from top to bottom, with a curved effect at either end. You can get big wins, credit amounts and multipliers on this wheel. If you hit a grenade, it will explode several wins in a row, increasing your payout further.
Free spins takes you to a different screen, where a transparent set of reels appears. There are multiple games including escape from Atlantic City and ‘The Horde’ each with slightly different behavior of wilds and multipliers. An interesting feature here is that the reels expand. The middle 3 can have up to 3 more rows for each spin. This gives a big increase to the number of winning combinations, often resulting in large payouts.
I’m a big fan of these bonuses, which come in frequently enough to make this slot very entertaining.
This TV show is hugely popular, and at the time of writing enjoying its 5th season – with more reportedly in the pipeline. It has been released internationally as well as in the US. Many viewers miss the fact that this series is based on a long-running comic book. This has provided ideas for TV series developer Frank Darabont.
If you have not yet seen the post-apocalyptic world of zombies set in Atlantic City, then I strongly recommend you catch up on the story so far. This started back in 2010, and has been nominated for many prestigious awards including a Golden Globe. The walking dead currently holds the record as the single most watched drama series ever on cable TV.
If you really cannot get enough of the Walking Dead, you will be pleased to hear that a spin-off is in development. This will take a new set of characters, developed by Robert Kirkman, though will use the same world as a backdrop.
I can still hardly believe this is the same Aristocrat which produced all those super-simple games line Imperial House and The Walking Dead. This slot is a huge departure from their normal fair, with only the Sopranos coming close in terms of the action. If this is the shape of things to come, then other makers like IGT and Novomatic will need to up their game. I cannot wait to see this game online.