Ali Baba’s Luck: Overview
Open sesame your way to dusty good times in Ali Baba’s Luck, a fantasy slot from Red Tiger partners Max Win Gaming. After a few spins you might be thinking ‘oh here we go, it’s Book of Ali Baba time’. And you’d be right too, except Max Win Gaming has made a few changes to shake up the common formula. As well as new bits, the core of what makes a good ‘Book of’ style slot remains. The final product is something of a winner for fans of the format.
We might not be in Ancient Egypt this time, but sun worshipers don’t miss out. The action shifts south-east to the scorching sands of the Arabian Peninsula. Yggdrasil’s slot Sahara Nights permeates the theme, while the game plays out over a classic 5 reel, 10 payline reel matrix.
A suitably, if a little downbeat, Arabic soundtrack tinkles away in the background, accompanying the spinning. The overall presentation is rather simple, classic if you like, with a palace balcony location hosting the old school looking reels.
Playable from 20 p/c to £/€20, RTP is dandy enough on 95.89%, if a titch below average, but may come in all kinds of different variations due to the flexible RTP approach used by Red Tiger as well as jackpot variations. Volatility is high, rated at 5/5 while the hit rate is rated as 3/5. Fairly frequent in other words, and since every win triggers a feature, the game is pretty fun going.
One aspect players will appreciate is that Max Win Gaming stuck to the higher end of the spectrum in regards to symbol values. Low pays are 10-A royals designed in a Quasi-Arabic font. This group need at least three of a kind to create a winner, while the high pays dish out a reward when just two land. The high pays are led by Ali who is worth 500x for a line of five, followed by an Arabian princess, a pot of gold, and a gold ring.
One unusual difference is that Ali Baba’s Luck does not possess a wild symbol – not even the scatter has the secondary role of wild. Even stranger, wild symbols aren’t hugely missed since the features provided more than make up for any absence.
Ali Baba’s Luck: Features
No doubt Ali Baba, the hero of the classic 1,001 Arabian Nights tale, possessed a high level of luck. Certainly a lot more than his merchant brother who forgot the password to get out of the cave and ended up butchered by the 40 thieves. However, a lot of Ali’s luck was due to the diligence of his servant Morgiana, who foiled the thieves plans at every step. Hopefully, when playing Ali Baba’s Luck, players happen upon their own Morgiana to help them as they search for glory.
Luck is given a nudge by the features which are frequent and effective. Being a ‘Book of’ type of game, expanding symbols are the order of the day. In Ali Baba’s Luck, expanding symbols actually show up in the base game as well as during free spins.
Whenever you get a win in the base game, the symbol involved becomes a golden symbol and is highlighted above the reels. Then, on the next spin only, if 3 or more golden symbols land on separate reels, they expand to cover the full reel. Expanded reels pay in any position; they do not need to be adjacent. For example, expanded golden symbols on reels 2, 4, and 5 are winners. Golden symbols go back to normal after that as normal.
The open sesame moment occurs when 3 scatters appear anywhere on the reels. These treasure chest symbols which, by the way, might bring your mind to NetEnt’s iconic Jack and the Beanstalk, unlock the Lucky Round which is a wheel displaying different values. Wherever the wheel stops on is the number of Dream Spins awarded.
If 4 or 5 scatters land to trigger the feature, then they add 4 or 8 free spins respectively. The difference between Dreams Spins and regular spins is that golden symbols remain locked for the full duration – they do no reset back to normal. Moreover, landing 3 or more treasure chest scatters will retrigger the feature.
In the base or bonus game, it is possible to have more than one golden symbol active at the same time. Indeed, during free spins, every single symbol could technically be golden symbols. This means that more than one golden symbol type may appear at the same time. If this happens then, each golden symbol takes turns to expands for full reel wins, one after the other.
Ali Baba’s Luck: Verdict
After the initial humph of discovering Ali Baba’s Luck was yet one more in a long line of ‘Book of’ imitators, we were pleasantly surprised. Max Win Gaming has done a good job of cooking up some subtle yet effective changes to breathe life into this style. It didn’t take long for the features to shine either since golden symbols come into play after every win. It adds a new dimension to the base game while waiting for free spins to work their magic.
Another nice touch was letting golden symbols have their turn when there is more than one in view. Max Win Gaming could easily have made a rule where only the highest value symbol expands. But having a bunch to work through one by one can be loads of fun. Again, a minor alteration, but one that can have a positive impact on a session.
Max Win Gaming clearly like expanding symbols. So far they have popped up in most of their games such as Splendour Forest or Yummy Wilds. Ali Baba’s Luck feels like the most refined version of this device so far, not to mention (arguably) their most fun slot to play. Max Win Gaming might have used a proven format, but the new modifications keep it fresh and make for some hearty old school gaming.