Wild Walker: Overview
There was a time, not too long ago when you couldn’t open a magazine or switch on the telly and not see a zombie lurching towards you. The trend has cooled somewhat recently, though the decaying species still pops up occasionally. Developer Pragmatic Play attempts to revive the undead love affair in their slot Wild Walker. The title isn’t just a clever name either, but one that describes the most regular feature in the game. Players also get extra reels during free spins, where the expanded wilds really come into their own.
Pragmatic Play has gone to town on the graphics, particularly the animations. For one, the full reel zombies bob around like dancing Fortnite characters; it’s a shame Pragmatic didn’t sneak the ‘Floss’ in there somewhere. Wild Walker’s 5-reel, 25-payline grid finds itself in the midst of the zombie apocalypse that authors and movie producers warned was just around the corner. It means burnt-out cars, lightning, rain, buzzards, the whole end of the world scene. The soundtrack is an interesting one too, alternating between laid back when not much is happening, revving up to a sort of late 80s/ 90s funk metal piece. The Faith No More-ish track adds just the right dash of weirdness to lighten the theme.
Wild Walker may be played on any device, by choosing bets from 25 p/c to £/€125 per spin. Five lightning bolts on the homepage when the game loads warn players these zombies aren’t here to play. Expect a highly volatile game that can be hard going. You might think a constantly roaming wild would offer some relief, but it often isn’t the case. Overall, a decent default RTP rating of 96.55% evens things out in the long run. Things can get messy (in a good way) during free spins too, with the extra reels, longer combinations, and additional zombie wilds involved.
Reels max out at 5 in the base game, rising to a possible 8 in the bonus, seriously affecting the symbol values. As to symbols, J-A royals make up the lows, while test tubes and needle guns are the two mids. Four character symbols are used for the high pays worth 4.8 to 20 times the stake during the base game. However, open up all 8 reels in free spins for game-changing payouts of 80 to 400x the bet.
Wild Walker: Features
Wild Walker comes with two features – expanded roaming wilds and free spins. The expanded wandering wild is a 1×3 full reel sized symbol that substitutes for anything except the bonus. This wild is present on every spin, switching to a randomly selected reel covering all three positions. Wilds also payout when adjacent – 1.2x for three or 6x for four in a row.
As well as the wandering wild feature there are progressive free spins. The skull in gas mask image is the scatter which appears on all reels. When 3 or 4 are in view players win 8 free spins starting at the first or second level respectively.
Players are treated to a cut scene between base and bonus game where several zombies mince past like a bunch of ‘Thriller’ extras. Free spins are held inside a lab, presumably where the anti-zombie juice is concocted. As well as the change in scenery, locked reels are added, in a 4 level bonus game:
- Level 1: 5 active reels + one expanded roaming wild symbol.
- Level 2: 6 active reels + one expanded wild locked on reel 1 and one expanded roaming wild.
- Level 3: 7 active reels + 2 expanded wilds locked on reels 1-2, and one expanded roaming wild.
- Level 4: 8 active reels + 3 expanded wilds locked on reels 1-3, and one expanded roaming wild.
Every 3 scatters collected in the feature unlocks the next level and awards 2 free spins. When all reels are unlocked, players keep collecting scatters, so every 3 collected adds 2 more free spins, without limit.
Wild Walker: Verdict
Wild Walker is an entertaining zombie slot from Pragmatic Play that has several compelling aspects contributing to the playability. Number one is the fab look. Pragmatic injected a nice video game quality, evidenced in the animations of the roaming wild and the thick atmosphere generated by the background image. There’s plenty of life to it, odd considering the undead subject matter, and the soundtrack helps create an immersive game world to get lost in for a bit. It’s well done, there is a sort of Lost Vegas vibe but a more industrial part of town thing rather than The Strip.
The gameplay shines a lot brighter in some parts than others. The base game, for instance, gets a little tedious once the initial impact wears off. At first, an expanded roaming wild on every single spin feels quite generous. It’s the type of feature you expect to see in a triggered phase of play. The problem is the wild doesn’t seem to contribute much. If it wasn’t there, and reels spun regularly, it’s unlikely the hit rate would be much, if any, different.
Occasionally the wild appears in just the right place for a decent win, yet more often than not it leaps around not accomplishing much. Also, its bulky size scatter-blocks a whole reel, reducing the chance of three landing to activate the bonus.
However, once free spins are triggered, the expanded wilds come into their own. Not so much at the lower levels, though when wilds are locked, and longer combos are possible, things get pretty tense. Maxing Wild Walker out means wins of 4,900 times the bet are possible. Not an immense amount for a Pragmatic Play slot, yet one which feels more realistic, and achievable, than their oft-claimed and questionable astronomical figures.
To sum up, Wild Walker is a nicely playable Pragmatic slot. It’s got a great look, an eccentric soundtrack, and some epic moments on the reels. Well, in the bonus game at least. Does it do enough to knock Lost Vegas off the podium as best zombie slot? Probably not, but a fine effort all the same.