Hearts of Venice (WMS): Overview
For those that can’t make it to Venice right now but want a taste of the Italian city, don’t for one second be suckered into believing you’ll get it from playing the Hearts of Venice slot. Why, you might ask. There are plenty of good reasons not to, which we will do our best to convey here.
Even if you have never been to Venice, you will have heard people who have, gushing over the place. To be fair, Venice is one of those destinations that lives up to and even exceeds the hype. It’s a city without cars, so to get around you have two options – walk or boat. Picture the canals, the gondolas, the fine old buildings and alleyways, the way the light plays on the city’s silhouette at sunrise and sunset. It’s all crumbling slowly into the lagoon, like a dignified elder statesman entering the twilight of life. It’s without a doubt a special place and one that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Like some of the other Hearts of Venice reviews that are bound to pop up, we can agree on how special the city is, but from this point on, our opinion may fork down a different canal.
It’s hard not to feel embarrassed on the behalf of WMS when booting up the slot. The first thing you’re likely to notice is that ribbon of flame burning along the bottom of the screen. Is it symbolic of smouldering love, the endless burn of an eternal romance? Or is it your device trying to do you a solid by torching the game off the screen? Look past that and you’ll notice a backdrop so cheesy you’ll start to wonder whether the game was designed for 18+ gamblers or 12 year old girls. We get it, this is meant to be romantic but it feels more like wetting yourself on your first date.
To get the ball rolling, players pick a stake from 40 c/p up to £/€500 per spin which may be a bit pricey for lowerollers, but appealing numbers for the highrollers. If you have that amount of money to burn on a game like this, then we can advise right away to spend it on any other game than this one. Either way, hit play to get the 5×4, 50 payline setup in motion. As you’ll hear, the game plays the familiar wee jingle while the reels spin – a common feature with WMS games and one that shows their physical slot history.
Hearts of Venice comes with medium-high volatility, coupled with an RTP of 96.12%. That is with the Hot Hot Respin activated though. For some reason they left out the overall RTP, which can only mean one thing – it’s probably bad. And just wait till we have covered symbol value and payout potential. The low end includes a hat, poles, a golden seahorse, and a flower. Mid-level symbols are a gondola, bridge, lantern and statue, while at the top end is a gondola pilot and a romantic looking lady who is worth, wait for it, 5 times the stake for five of a kind. Without any sort of tumble/cascade feature on hand to string winners together, that is just unacceptable. So are the extras going to save this low potential slot?
Hearts of Venice (WMS): Features
During the main game, the two most common extras are the wild and the heart feature. The game’s logo is wild and lands on reels 2, 3, 4, and 5 to substitute for any of the pay symbols. The Heart Feature symbol can land anywhere in the game and when the reels stop spinning, it pops to reveal any other symbol except the wild and scatter. WMS is clearly attempting to leap on the mystery symbol band wagon that is hot at the moment.
The next feature is the Hot Hot Super Respin Mode and is the awkward moment when our fiery friend leaps onto the reels to set them alight. He helps the way Clippy the Paperclip used to help before Microsoft killed him off. Now, two respins are triggered if reel 1 is stacked with heart feature symbols. During the respins, reel 1 and any other wilds and heart symbols are locked in place. After the two respins the heart symbols pop revealing the same symbol and pay out any winners.
Land 3 scatters to trigger 10 Free Spins. During this round, extra wilds and heart feature symbols are added to the reels. Also during this round, 3 scatters add 10 more free spins to the remaining total. One nice addition to free spins is the bonus guarantee. If at the end of the round the total win is less than 10x the total bet, the game will payout 10x the total bet regardless.
Hearts of Venice (WMS): Verdict
WMS Gaming is well known for its decades in the industry creating physical slot machines. Hearts of Venice feels like a game that was directly ported from the physical world to the online one. This can work at times, others, not so much. If you were visiting a bricks and mortar casino and Hearts of Venice was the only available slot, you could be forgiven for setting a budget and having a sneaky punt. With the buzz and excitement of the crowd, it could possibly be okay for a few spins. Maybe.
As an online slot, it is a complete waste of time and a complete trainwreck of a slot. With so many superior options mere clicks away, why would anyone bother? It’s hard to think of a single good reason to play Hearts of Venice. If we are being super generous, it’s not without a certain charm – there’s that awkwardly out-of-place Clippy wannabe character for one. But financial reward just isn’t there to justify the dull vibe and slow pace. Symbol values are terrible, and a full screen of the top lady will return just 250 times the stake.
If you are in the market for a romantic themed slot, why not give a game like Immortal Romance a whirl? Even if vampires aren’t your thing, it’s a slot that possesses pace, drama, excitement, not to mention high potential payouts – everything that Hearts of Venice does not.