Monkey Warrior (Pragmatic Play): Review
Having released several interesting titles in 2018, this year hasn’t been quite as impressive so far. Not only has Pragmatic stagnated, they’ve also retreated into a comfort zone, becoming stuck in a repetitive cycle as a result. Sure enough, Pragmatic’s latest offering is yet another formulaic Chinese themed slot, hinting we might be in for another generic game.
Based on the classic 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West and the legend of Sun Wukong, a monkey warrior possessing immense strength and magical properties, this 5×3, 243 ways slot from Pragmatic Play comes with a Free Spins game played with only premium symbols on the reels. You’ll also have a chance to trigger jackpots through a Respin feature where cash prizes of up to 200 times your stake can be won. You can play it on all devices from between 25 cents and 125€ per spin.
Visually, there’s nothing wrong with Monkey Warrior. The artwork is excellent, the lush backdrop is gorgeous, and the music does what it’s supposed to do in a game like this. Yet, we can’t help to feel that it comes across as linear, predictable and with no surprises. This is something that becomes a bit problematic when not even the structure of the game stands out in any way to set it apart from other Pragmatic slots. Spinning on the reels you will see A, K and Q royals as well as potion bottles, scrolls and three characters from the novel. The most rewarding is the holy monk with 5 across a full payline yielding 20 times your stake. The main character, the Money Warrior, is the wild, substituting for all regular symbols.
Monkey Warrior (Pragmatic Play): Features
Monkey Warrior is a relatively basic game with only two features. The first one is the Money Respin feature which triggers when you land 6 peaches (money symbol) simultaneously (in the legend of Sun Wukong, the peach trees only bear fruit every 3000 years, and eating its flesh will bestow eternal life.) Now, each money symbol is associated with either a cash value or a Mini, Minor or Grand jackpot where you can win 30, 50, 100, or 200 times your stake respectively. Starting with 5 respins on a reel set with only peaches and empty positions, the peaches lock in position whenever they hit, securing the cash value as a result.
Following a spin, three treasure chests can appear randomly, prompting you to pick one and giving you a chance to win more respins. The Money Respin feature comes to an end when you either run out of respins or when all 15 positions have been occupied by a peach symbol, at which point all cash values are added together and paid out as a total reward. In the event you fill all 15 positions, the total reward is multiplied by 2x.
In addition, there’s also a Free Spins feature available which is triggered by landing the bonus symbol on the three middle reels. Starting with 8 spin, and with potential for unlimited retriggers, you’ll benefit from the total removal of all lower value symbols. Unfortunately, the wild symbol is removed as well, which is a bit of a bummer.
Monkey Warrior (Pragmatic Play): Verdict
Playing a free spins game with no low paying symbols on the reels may sound great at first, but with no wild symbol, and with both the money and bonus symbols present on the reels to block your wins, it becomes quite crowded still. Even if the standard symbols appear stacked on the reels, they very rarely seem to hit that way. In theory, you should be able to land a full screen of the top symbol, which would give you an instant win of 4,860 times your stake, but the chances of this happening must be astronomical. Hence, the 6000 times your stake advertised max win does seem like a bit of a stretch, so don’t expect this to happen.
Monkey Warrior is a solid and well crafted medium variance slot that offers decent potential. With that said, we would like to see Pragmatic leave their comfort zone a bit and surprise us for once as it’s getting too predictable and even redundant. Moreover, asking of a slot to convey a meaningful story may not be fair (it’s a virtual gambling machine and not a video game after all), but for a slot that is based on a tale that is a spring of spiritual insight and enlightenment, what you get from Pragmatic Play is a surprising amount of concavity.