Holly Jolly Penguins FROM Games Global
Nothing like the holiday season to really get you in the mood – and when it comes to Christmas, Microgaming gives the gift of not one, but two titles! The first of which is Holly Jolly Penguins, which we’ll be taking a look at today. It’s a 5-reel slot with 45 paylines, Scatters that can activate a free spins bonus only if they’re adjacent to each other, and, in the reels two and three, Scatters can appear double. This ties into a mechanic which allows you to get more free spins than you normally would, up to a potential maximum of 80 extra turns.
To add a bit more holiday cheer to it all, you also have two different Wilds that can interact with each other, although that lowers the winnings. All of these mechanics sound great on paper, but they are a bit –too- familiar. In fact, if you’ve played Oink Country Love, or Heat Is On by Microgaming, it’ll feel right at home – as Holly Jolly Penguins is just a re-skin of those two titles.
HOW TO PLAY
To be honest, there’s certainly a lot of holiday cheer going on around in this game. The penguins are just about as cutesy as you would expect a Christmas themed slot, and honestly, we can kind of get the appeal. We’re not about to start bawling over them, but there’s something humorous about a penguin trying to carol, or one of them somehow ending up stuck inside a well decorated Christmas tree.
There’s a bit of an annoyance that the rest of the icons are just poker card symbols. It just feels a bit annoying at this point, but we feel a big name like Microgaming could have done a lot better, especially since the gameplay part was already copied and pasted from another title. Which does mean it has relatively the same issues as those other two titles, as well. It certainly avoids the awkwardness of animal romance of Oink Country Love well enough, but the gameplay loop is still revolving around the special features that the slot offers while leaving the actual spinning to feel just that little bit unfulfilling. The fact you have two Wilds helps break this up somewhat, as it does mean you have double the chance of getting a Wild to appear, but it doesn’t solve the issue completely.
WHERE TO PLAY Holly Jolly Penguins
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BETTING OPTIONS AND PAYOUTS
Your minimum bet sits at $0.50 a spin, while at maximum, you’ll be sacrificing $125 for a roll of the dice. Personally, while you can roll high, the rewards don’t quite hit that high note for us to recommend it. This is a game in which you succeed straight off, or you keep trying to claw your way back up after some losses, but it just never quite happens. To get a proper turnover and a huge win, you need outright insane luck, which ties back to the trend of high variance gameplay without the matching rewards that seems to be growing more and more popular across the industry.
SYMBOLS AND EXTRA FEATURES
We already said about all we think is worth mentioning when it comes to the symbols. They did fine by keeping them cutesy without overdoing it, but the effort feels a bit wasted with the fact they didn’t deck it out to be fully unique. It feels a bit worse, knowing the gameplay was ‘borrowed’, as it was just up to the artists to re-skin the title, and they didn’t even commit to that fully. The free spins bonus is nice, if a bit difficult to hit. To compensate for two Wilds, you need three or more Scatters, and they have to be adjacent to each other, which can reward between five to twenty free spins. On top of that, you can get double Scatters on the second and third reel. One double Scatter doubles the amount of free spins, but get two, and it quadruples it – meaning you could, at maximum, end up with 80 free spins.
We get you want to look your best for the holiday rush, but Microgaming was probably better off delivering one polished product rather than a clone of an existing title with a new skin. We expected something a bit better out of a large name developer, so we’re going to have to give this one a pass.
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