With its tale of a bitter old skinflint learning to be a generous loving man through his interactions with the spirit world and his past, Charles Dickens’s novella A Christmas Carol has never gone out of style (nor out of print) in nearly 175 years. It has been adapted into hundreds of plays, dozens of films and countless audio recordings, operas and graphic novels. Betsoft Gaming furthers this tradition by adapting this classic literature into a luminous high-definition slot game.
Ebeneezer Scrooge begins the story as a wealthy but angry grump that underpays his staff and refuses to help the less fortunate. But when he receives Christmas Eve visits by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, and then a series of a phantoms (Past, Present and Yet to Come) who force him to face his past and his responsibilities of the present, Scrooge and his cold heart warm up and he evolves into a better person.
Betsoft Gaming utilizes these storytelling elements amongst the A Christmas Carol slot game’s symbols and features to enrich the gameplay experience and keep players engaged with their every spin.
A Christmas Carol’s gorgeous design is crafted on a familiar five-reel by three-row structure. All the spin and betting buttons are large and easy to use. “Spin” sets off individual plays. “Auto Play” lets the player customize his or her automatic spins. The game’s options and paytables are accessible at the top of the screen. The paytable window is well detailed, providing more than enough information to guide a player through the gameplay.
Meanwhile, the background is that of Scrooge’s bedroom on Christmas Eve. He sits in bed, always in motion, watching the reels, the snow falling outside and (sometimes) the player. The room’s lighting shifts precisely as he moves his candle. The detail is impressive.
Bets can be adjusted in two ways. The value or “Coin” can be adjusted between 0.02 and 1.00, meanwhile the Bet Per Line (which acts as a payline multiplier) is adjustable between one and five. The paylines are locked at 25.
While A Christmas Carol is available in free and paid modes for mobile and desktop platforms, it looks and performs much better on a desktop. It runs slower on a mobile device, likely due to the animation’s demands. Many of the buttons are missing or relocated on the mobile screen as well.
Wins occur when three or more consecutive matching symbols align from left to right, starting from the leftmost reel, along a payline. The feature symbols are exempt from this rule, and act as scatters, requiring three or more matching symbols to appear anywhere on the reels.
The game’s symbols begin with the playing card values of 10 through Ace, with the payouts increasing alongside the value of the card. The next set of symbols are related to the story itself. They are, in increasing value: Scrooge’s Bank, gilded presents, gold coins, a Christmas bell and Scrooge.
The game’s wild symbol is represented by a Christmas turkey. It stands in for all symbols other than the features, and produces the highest payouts when three or more appear.
There are three different feature symbols, each representing one of the ghosts that visits Scrooge: Christmas Past, Christmas Future and Christmas Present. When three or more of one ghost symbol shows up on the reels, the specter appears in the background to haunt Scrooge and then the feature game begins.
Three or more Christmas Past ghosts starts the Past Winning Spins, while three or more Christmas Future ghosts initiate the Future Winning Spins. These two feature games function identically. Three ghosts results in three free spins, four ghosts equal six free spins, while five ghosts provide twelve free spins. Every one of these free spins delivers at least one guaranteed win or feature game. Thus, as an added bonus, additional free spins can be won during the free spin games.
Picking up three or more Christmas Present ghost symbols turns all ghost reels into wild symbols for that single spin. This Present Wilds game can also be won during the free spins games, but it doesn’t begin until the Winning Spins feature is complete.
A Christmas Carol slot also comes with a gambling game called Double Up. After any single spin win, a player may click the “Double Up” button to be taken to a new window. Here one bets on a coin flip—heads or tails—to double the payout with a correct guess or lose it all with the wrong choice. Double Up continues until the player either collects the winnings or guesses incorrectly.
Because the regular reels can be as stingy as Scrooge when it comes to win frequency and payout size, the path to decent winnings, or even the survival of one’s financial balance is through the ghost feature games. That being said, getting only three free spins of tiny winnings barely makes a dent in the losses compiled in the regular game.
Thus the game’s real draw is its cinematic design and commitment to its theme. Players familiar with the story will enjoy seeing the characters and animation. Even those few gamers who don’t know the tale will like appreciate the slot’s great look.
Meanwhile, the biggest question that arises is how long will seasoned slot players continue to play the game for its visuals as their losses mount up and big payouts remain absent? As this beauty takes their money, some gamers may abandon A Christmas Carol for an uglier game with better payouts.