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Betsoft has designed a disarmingly lovely slot game in Mega Gems. One can get so immersed in the game’s visual and auditory mood that you don’t notice your balance vanishing.
Mega Gems takes the Bejeweled series’ theme of precious stones, makes it prettier and washes it all in calming ambient music. The slot comes with two features, as well as wins that pay out from the left and right. Underneath the bright colors and crisp effects lies gameplay that even new players can pick up quickly. This slot is available in free and paid modes on mobile devices, though it looks best on desktop platforms.
Mega Gems is a five-reel three-row slot with ten paylines. Behind the reels is an animated blue electric field. Beneath the slots are well-defined gameplay buttons.
The bet can be customized using three of these buttons. The coin value can be set between 0.02 and 1.00 using “Choose Coin”. “Select Lines” lets the player choose up to 10 paylines. “Bet Per Line” multiplies the total bet and any resulting winnings, maxing out at ten.
“Spin” starts individual plays. Automatic spins can be set between five and 100 using the “Auto Play” button on the far right. “Max Bet Spin” triggers a single spin with the bet per line raised to 10.
An “Options” button leads to the sound and Turbo Play controls. “View Pays” takes the player to one concise page of paytables and game information.
Wins occur when three or more consecutive matching symbols line up on a payline, starting from either the first or fifth reels, thus paying from the left or right.
These regular symbols are all colorful gems. They are, in increasing value: yellow, red, light blue, orange, purple, green and dark blue.
The slot also has a multicolored prism representing the wild symbol. A jackpot symbol serves as the……jackpot symbol.
The multicolored wild symbol occurs only on reels two, three and four. When it appears on a played payline, it expands to cover all three rows. Substituting for all regular symbols, it collects any existing payout, then starts a free spin with the wild reel locked in place. Not only can this result in a second win, but if more wilds appear, then additional free spins are allowed with those wild reels locked.
Reels two, three and four also hold the three-row jackpot symbol. The slot’s progressive jackpot, displayed above the reels, increases with every spin. For this payout to occur the max bet needs to have been played. The jackpot symbols must appear in all three middle reels, and on all three rows of each.
Every gem is gorgeous and the animation is flawless. Big wins trigger encouraging, floating neon signs like “Nice!” and “Great!”. The music and sound effects merge perfectly with the visuals.
While this is all very charming, the payouts are not. The symbols are stacked on every reel so, though they may result in occasional good wins, the vast majority of time they block the player from winning anything. Thus the wild symbol becomes a must. While playing Mega Games for this review, non-wild wins occurred less than 7% of the time, over more than 400 spins. And most of those “wins” paid less than the bet itself.
Meanwhile, the progressive jackpot is set low considering how difficult it is to obtain. Three of the jackpot symbols need to appear in the exact right place to win the payout, but over my 400+ spins two symbols appeared just once. This progressive starts at almost the same value as one’s balance, a balance that will be emptied many times before earning a single jackpot.
Between the low payouts, scarce payouts and unimpressive jackpot payout, Mega Gems is not mega valuable. It needs its luminous look to keep players spinning. Otherwise, new slot players will wonder where their money went, and experienced gamers may leave the game for something less shiny and more lucrative.