Aztec Gems Deluxe: Overview
Back in 2018, developer Pragmatic Play released the original South American themed slot Aztec Gems. It had a lot of multiplying action going on, but not much else; it certainly wasn’t one of their high paying slots. Interestingly, after a little troll online, the game appears to have a struck a chord with Indonesian gamblers for whatever reason. Anyway, fast forward a few years and we now have the follow-up, Aztec Gems Deluxe. A few things have changed, elements removed, features added, so let’s see what makes this game ‘deluxe’.
When the game hits the screen, the first thing you notice is the fourth reel has been removed. If you haven’t played the first, this was a Win Multiplier reel which applied a multiplier of up to x15 to every winning spin. Well, that’s gone to leave a stripped-down 3×3 grid with just 9 paylines set amidst the South American jungle. The graphics are slightly enhanced, reel spin animations smoother, but on the whole, the visuals are basically the same. As is the dramatic soundtrack, which admittedly is quite stirring.
Players start the adventure by selecting bets from 9 p/c to £/€90 per spin, on any device. Only three of a kind combinations are possible using 5 different gemstone symbols to do so. Values for these shiny objects range from 0.89x for the yellow triangle up to 9.78 times the stake for the red diamond thing. Helping create combos is the wild symbol which substitutes for anything except the Money Symbol. Wilds also pay in the own right, 27.78 times the stake for a line of three. Strange values and odd sets of numbers pop up throughout the game.
One figure that isn’t odd is the default RTP of 96.5%, comfortably above average so no dramas there. Volatility has been hiked for the deluxe version which now scores 4/5 on Pragmatic’s handy volatility meter pushing it into medium/high territory. It is possible to meander through severe downtimes when playing, though we hit the Grand Jackpot during testing too, so the game is certainly a volatile one.
Aztec Gems Deluxe: Features
So we established the win multiplier reel has gone, but in its place players get several new features. These are Money Respins, a Wheel of Fortune, and four fixed jackpots to spin for.
The first step in unlocking the jackpots is the blue Money Symbol which displays a cash prize or the Mini or Minor jackpots. When 4 or more hit, they trigger the Money Respin feature. The feature begins after any wins have been paid. Then, the pay symbols fade away, locking the triggering Money Symbols to the reels.
The feature starts with 3 spins where only Money Symbols appear. When one or more hits, they are locked in position and spins are reset to 3. If spins run to zero, the prizes indicated by the Money Symbols are tallied up and paid out.
If all positions are covered in Money symbols, the prizes are paid, and one random feature is triggered – a Multiplier or the Wheel of Fortune. If the Multiplier is unlocked, then a modifier of 2x, 5x, 8x, or 10x is applied to the total win of the respin round.
The prizes on the Wheel of Fortune include multipliers of 18 to 388 times the total bet. It is also where players may win one of the 4 jackpots- the Mini, Minor, Major, or Grand. Each jackpot is worth 100x, 250x, 500x, or 1,000 times the stake respectively.
Aztec Gems Deluxe: Verdict
Well, it seems the ‘deluxe’ moniker isn’t totally misplaced. Aztec Gems Deluxe has more to it than the original thanks to respins and jackpots. The win multiplier reel might be gone, but the low symbol values of the original version pretty much negated any effect that feature had anyway so no major loss. Aztec Gems makes marginally better use of the theme as well since things have moved on graphically in the intervening years. In a nutshell, if you enjoyed the first, you’ll probably enjoy the deluxe version as well.
To be honest, reviewing Aztec Gems Deluxe was a kind of tricky. The game just didn’t elicit a strong response either way. It’s well made, possessing nice visuals and a passionate soundtrack. The game does what it does, and that’s about it. Test runs went okay, providing a few strong moments, yet when it was over, there was little pull to return. At the end of the day, Aztec Gems Deluxe is nothing more than a simple fruit slot disguised as something else.
Players into simple, fast-paced slots that can drop a lesser jackpot at any moment might enjoy Aztec Gems Deluxe. Others who like a bit depth to their gameplay will most probably find it lacking. Perhaps the most pertinent question is whether Aztec Gems Deluxe will take off in Asia like the original appeared to?